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Esteemed co-facilitators, Excellencies,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 28 Member States.
I would like to start by thanking the co-facilitators her Excellency Ms. Audra Plepyte, Permanent Representative of Lithuania, and her Excellency Mr. Adonia Ayebare, Permanent Representative of Uganda for their work on the draft resolution thus far and for their efforts to include the full membership in the process. The European Union has followed the invitation and submitted written input prior to the zero draft in lieu of a consultation with the group and has then sent consolidated and detailed comments in writing in December. Please allow me to quickly sketch the gist of our submission, focusing on the link to the implementation of Agenda 2030, the reporting and measuring of the contribution of South-South and triangular Cooperation, and the importance of triangular cooperation.
The conference is taking place at an opportune moment, as South-South Cooperation which was first framed in the 1st High Level Conference forty years ago, has developed enormously especially in the past decade – both in volume and substance. At the same time with the adoption of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development in 2015 the international community has given itself a new and dramatically different framework for international cooperation and a set of 17 jointly agreed goals. Agenda 2030 has become our overarching guide for action at the UN, and it should remain our reference for all developmental matters.
The EU and its Member States therefore welcome the theme selected for the Conference: "The role of South-South Cooperation and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable Development, challenges and opportunities" We consider that the Outcome document should uphold and develop that context from start to finish, introducing the theme and the chosen sub-themes in the first paragraph of the preamble and detailing how South-South and triangular Cooperation will contribute to the global goals adopted by 193 Heads of States and Government. In the same vein we would like to recall that the conference title includes "challenges", an aspect that deserves to be reinforced in the document.
It is of crucial importance, that we conclude the BAPA +40 Conference with a political Declaration that brings South-South and triangular Cooperation firmly and unequivocally into the 2030 Agenda.
To that end, the EU suggests that the Outcome documents recalls the principles of Agenda 2030 including those pointed out in the preamble and the five Ps: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. Specific reference should be made to their applicability for South-South and triangular cooperation, inter alia as regards:
In addition we would welcome a reference to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in the preamble given its strong link to Agenda 2030.
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda is an integral part of Agenda 2030. We suggest a reaffirmation in the BAPA+40 Outcome document that "South-South Cooperation is an important element of international cooperation for development" (AAAA Para 56) and that we share common goals and common ambitions to strengthen international development cooperation and maximize its effectiveness, transparency, impact and results. In this regard it would be opportune to recognise continued efforts to improve the quality, impact and effectiveness of development cooperation and other international efforts in public finance, including adherence to agreed development cooperation effectiveness principles.
Moreover, the need to enhance the development effectiveness of South-South cooperation should be acknowledged (e.g. in para 9) by continuing to increase its mutual accountability and transparency as well as coordinating its initiatives with other development projects and programmes on the ground, in accordance with national development plans and priorities. The outcome document should also recognize the need to assess the impact of South-South cooperation with a view to improving, as appropriate, its quality in a results-oriented manner. The principles, commitments and actions agreed in the Busan High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness should be the reference for South-South partners on a voluntary basis.
On reporting, we encourage the co-Facilitators to include the UN Secretary General's conclusions and recommendations in his report on South-South and triangular cooperation, which calls for a harmonised framework for reporting on and evaluating South-South development cooperation (para 64). This is based on the observation that "while the contribution of South-South cooperation to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda has been recognised globally, evidence of its impact is limited since reporting in that respect has not been carried out systematically".
Member States engaged in South-South and triangular cooperation have already made firm commitments with respect to contributing information to the implementation process of Agenda 2030. And indeed without their input, it would be impossible to know the status of implementation of many if not all SDGs. The Global Indicator Framework for sustainable development goals and targets which resulted from the work of the UN Statistical Commission also pertains to South-South Cooperation, both implicitly and explicitly. We expect that the BAPA+40 Outcome document will uphold and reconfirm this commitment, which will underpin and enhance the credibility of the South-South and triangular cooperation.
Concretely the text should invite Member States to monitor, measure and report on their progress in enhancing South-South and triangular cooperation in line with the Global Indicator Framework for the sustainable development goals and targets, and to ensure that receiving countries have a more complete knowledge of the resources available to them for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and can include resources from South-South and triangular cooperation in their national financing strategies.
Triangular cooperation is of particular interest to the EU and is a priority for the G20. We note with appreciation that the co-facilitators have firmly embedded triangular cooperation in the Outcome document. We consider it could nevertheless benefit from further strengthening the narrative as a means to implement the SDGs and Agenda 2030, and include a call upon Members States to increase their engagement in and support for triangular cooperation, in particular in relation to finance, technology and capacity development as called for in SDG 17.3, SDG 17.6 and SDG 17.9, and to report on this in their voluntary reviews by the High Level Committee on South-South Cooperation.
Furthermore we suggest adding a paragraph (e.g. 22 (d) to "welcome the ongoing efforts for providing mappings and documentation on good practices in South-South and triangular cooperation and for an increased effectiveness of both. Triangular cooperation builds on the complementary strengths of different actors to find innovative and cost-effective, flexible, context-specific solutions to development challenges. In triangular cooperation scaling up effective private sector involvement can multiply the potential of development cooperation and mitigate risks when resources are limited. In this context, we welcome voluntary endeavours for increased effectiveness, such as the Global Partnership Initiative on Effective Triangular Cooperation and many others."
I have to inform you that the European Union cannot support the proposal to move from the current 40 year period between the last and the next High Level meeting on South-South Cooperation to a four year cycle, a meeting multiplication factor of 10. More important than the cost associated with the meetings itself - including in terms of carbon footprint – it would duplicate processes and create a schism in the implementation of Agenda 2030: The implementation of the 2030 Agenda by the Member States is evaluated in the HLPF and the implementation by the UN System will be evaluated in the System Wide Strategic Document. We therefore propose a paragraph on mainstreaming South-South Cooperation into the UN Development System, SDG Processes and the HLPF. Let us not split but be united in our commitment and in our efforts for Agenda 2030.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Concerning the challenges linked to South-South Cooperation and implementation of Agenda 2030 we encourage a reference to the particular situation faced by countries affected by fragility and conflict and the encouraging results achieved through fragile-to-fragile (F2F) cooperation as a special case of South-South cooperation.
Moreover, the outcome document cannot ignore the recent strong increase in debt levels in many developing countries and should call on borrowers and creditors to address also in the context of South-South and triangular Cooperation the challenges linked to debt sustainability as a matter of priority in order to prevent negative impact on long-term development and achieving the SDGs.
Esteemed representatives of the Member States of the United Nations,
The European Union and its Member States continue to provide the largest share of official development assistance, we offer the most generous trade preferences to Least Developed Countries with our Every-Thing-But-Arms access and we are the most significant supporter of regional cooperation and integration on all continents around the globe. The basis of European Action – and taking into account the varied history of our 28 member states - is solidarity and sympathy with countries and people that face more difficult situations than we do. The commitment to fight and eventually eradicate poverty is enshrined in the European Treaties, our constitution if you will. Therefore we find distinction of South-South Cooperation from "traditional" development cooperation on the basis of the concepts of solidarity and sympathy inaccurate, and strongly recommend to use BAPA+40 four decades after the first High Level Conference on South-South Cooperation as the opportunity to come to a more operational definition of this increasingly important relationship.
2019 will be an important year for the UN and Agenda 2030 with a series of High-level Reviews and Meetings. Everybody involved in their preparation is looking towards Buenos Aires for a substantive outcome from BAPA+40 to feed into these events.
Let me reiterate the European Union's appreciation for the possibility to provide feedback on the Zero draft shared in December. We look forward to engaging further throughout the process and commencing negotiations on the basis of a revised First draft.
In light with the importance attached to the BAPA+40 Conference, I am pleased to inform you that the EU will be represented in Buenos Aires by the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr Neven Mimica, along-side dignitaries from the EU Member States.
I thank you.