Inter-regional expert meeting on measuring South-South cooperation

Statement by Pedro Manuel Moreno, Deputy Secretary-General of UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Inter-regional expert meeting on measuring South-South cooperation

[Video message]
04 June 2024


Dear colleagues,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to this expert meeting.

Let me start by expressing our gratitude to the government of Qatar for hosting this important gathering of the global South and supporting international and regional organizations.

The nations of the Global South are sources of innovation, creativity, and human potential. South-South cooperation is a recognition of that potential.

It is founded on the premise that no country is ever too poor to teach, nor too rich to learn.

It offers a path forward – one marked by horizontality, and by shared commitment and mutual support and solidarity.

And this is much needed as we are off track to meet the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. As it currently stands, only 15 percent of the Goals are on track.

South-South cooperation can play an instrumental role for rescuing progress towards the 2030 Agenda.

We need data to reflect the contribution of South-South cooperation. Data are crucial for managing and mobilizing development support and guiding policy.

For decades, countries of the North have had established data and standards to reflect their support to developing countries.

Now, for the first time, there is an agreement on an initial, voluntary Framework to measure South-South cooperation—developed by the South for the South.

The framework is an effort chaired by India and has involved Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Ghana, Mexico, South Africa, and Tanzania. Now more countries have joined the effort.

The framework was welcomed by all UN member States in 2022 with the adoption of SDG indicator 17.3.1, which measures “additional financial resources mobilized for developing countries from multiple sources.”

UN Trade and Development is a co-custodian of this indicator alongside the OECD. We are honoured to have the mandate to support developing countries in reporting data for this purpose.

We stand ready to develop guidance, reporting mechanisms, and support for interested countries to ensure that this Framework lives up to its potential, reflects the realities and amplifies the voices of the global South.

Last July, we held the first expert meeting in Brazil with 16 member States.

We carried out a global survey and sixty developing countries requested capacity support.

There is much interest, but also much to do.

This historic effort must be resourced so that it can deliver on its potential.

We should leverage existing mechanisms and establish institutional arrangements for country-led data reporting.

And we need to advocate for the importance of South-South Cooperation data in inter-governmental processes, such as the High-level Committee for South-South Cooperation, the General Assembly Second Committee, or the Financing for Development Forum.

Let me emphasize that this is a collective endeavour within the United Nations. We are joined by the UN Regional Commissions, including ESCWA, which is co-hosting this event with the government of Qatar.

We also greatly appreciate the support and engagement of the UN Office on South-South Cooperation.

And collaboration extends beyond the UN system, with participation from regional partners like the Islamic Development Bank, the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), and the Pan-American Health Organization, and others.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This meeting will contribute to understanding and promoting the importance of data in amplifying the voices of the South and shaping the way forward.

Together, we can achieve the first-ever universal SDG indicator of development support with geographically representative and inclusive data, reflecting the perspective of the South.

I look forward to our close collaboration and wish you a productive meeting.