29 May 2003


NEW YORK, 28 May (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action on Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries, delivered by Anwarul Chowdhury, High Representative of the Secretary-General for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States in New York on 28 May:

Twenty-five years ago, the Buenos Aires Conference on Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries gave voice to the need for South-South cooperation to address gross disparities in incomes, lack of equitable access to resources and other challenges facing the developing world. The resulting Buenos Aires Plan of Action, endorsed by the General Assembly in December 1978, remains highly relevant today.

We can see evidence of its enduring relevance in the emphasis placed on South-South cooperation at recent major conferences -- including the South Summit in 2000, the Brussels Conference on Least Developed Countries in 2001, the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development, and the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. The spirit of South-South cooperation has been a major factor in the social and economic progress achieved by the member countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and has been a strong bond, uniting member countries of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), the Andean Group, the Rio Group and other subregional groupings in Latin America and the Caribbean. Most recently, the African Union launched a promising vision of South-South cooperation in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

Amid the challenges and opportunities brought by globalization, South-South cooperation provides a framework in which developing countries who are making progress can share their proven development policies and strategies with others, in particular the least developed countries. It provides a tool for developing countries to help other developing countries reach the Millennium Development Goals. It offers opportunities to focus on new issues such as information and communications technology, where a number of developing countries are beginning to play a leadership role. And it is a crucial mechanism for addressing challenges of particular concern to developing countries, including the fight against of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.

In all these areas, a broad South-South partnership involving governments, the private sector and civil society is critical. Equally crucial is the full engagement of the entire United Nations family. As we mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Buenos Aires Conference, I call on all of us to renew our commitment to South-South cooperation as a tool for building a better world in the twenty-first century.

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