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Supercharging economic development through South-South collaboration

29 September 2018

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland today signed a new agreement with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) in the margins of the United General Assembly in New York.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organisations aims to boost collaboration among countries of the Global South – nations classified as developing or least developed.

The Secretary-General said, “Since taking on the role of Commonwealth Secretary-General, I have become more aware than ever of the challenges facing developing and least developed countries. I know just how deeply exercised leaders in the Global South are by the harsh reality of crushing debt, the constant threat of natural disasters, struggling health and education systems, uncertain global markets and tantalising trade opportunities that are just out of reach through lack of capacity.

“I have also seen how prospects and progress can be supercharged when countries of the Global South collaborate and tap into the talent and ingenuity available within their own populations.”

The MOU will help the Commonwealth Secretariat and UNOSSC to work more closely together towards accelerating economic development by promoting partnerships, coordinated activities, South-South knowledge sharing, and scaling up and showcasing development solutions from the Global South. It will cover a range of areas including:

  • supporting intra-regional, regional, and sub-regional integration;
  • addressing challenges related to the mandate of each participant such as education, public health, social welfare, infrastructure, women in development, youth leadership and climate change and related areas;
  • reinforcing peacebuilding and sustainable development;
  • and promoting and supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“We have already been encouraging and facilitating this type of collaboration through initiatives such as our Commonwealth Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform, which is strengthening rule of law and regulatory frameworks by enabling countries to learn from each other as they share their legal instruments and legislation,” said Secretary-General Scotland.

She continued, “Our Climate Finance Access Hub, draws expertise from all over the Commonwealth and is creating regional and pan-Commonwealth networks that have already unlocked millions of US dollars’ worth of funding for countries. This MOU with UNOSSC will help us to multiply such success stories.”

Mr. Jorge Chediek, Director and Envoy of the UN Secretary General on South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), who signed the MOU on behalf of UNOSSC, said the agreement allows the Commonwealth and UNOSSC to build on, and promote, the South-South principles of solidarity, national ownership, and mutual respect among developing countries as they advance towards the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

He added, “The Commonwealth’s expression of support to South-South and Triangular cooperation today is testimony to the fact that this form of cooperation has gained recognition as a viable modality for development, and a credible means for striving towards the accomplishment of Agenda 2030.”