Press Releases

         17 December 2004

    In Message for International Day, Secretary-General Says Role of South-South Cooperation Has Never Been More Critical for Reaching Millennium Goals

    NEW YORK, 16 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, 19 December:

    Cooperation among developing countries runs the gamut -- from investment and infrastructure to the sharing of technological advances and best practices in development. Trade within the South continues to increase rapidly, with more than 40 per cent of developing-country exports now going to other developing countries. Such contacts and commerce have brought considerable benefits, and continue to prove useful in promoting growth and development in some of the world’s poorest countries.

    Yet South-South cooperation is still not as wide-ranging and effective as it could be. Political solidarity within the developing world over the past several decades has helped put development at the heart of the global agenda. Today, we need policies and other steps that will give more practical expression to that solidarity, so that people in all countries can benefit from globalization and improve their standards of living.

    The countries of the South make up the overwhelming majority of the world’s population. They form the majority of the Member States of the United Nations. And it is there that some of the leading challenges of our time -- such as poverty, environmental degradation and the spread of infectious disease -- are most acute.

    The Millennium Development Goals cannot be met without forging a truly global partnership for development between North and South. But deeper South-South cooperation is also vital. Southern countries with successful anti-AIDS strategies, for example, can help others only now coming to grips with the challenge. And as the economies of some large countries of the South are likely to surpass many in the developed world in the decades ahead, they are in a position to provide official development assistance and to offer wider market access to goods from least developed countries.

    As we mark this first United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, and as we look ahead to next September’s Summit at the United Nations, at which world leaders will review progress made in implementing the Millennium Declaration, let us recognize that the role of South-South cooperation has never been more critical. And let us all pledge to do our utmost to harness that great power in our shared battle against poverty and insecurity.

    * *** *