Hasina calls for effective south-south cooperation

pm south pic okBangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday laid importance on close network to share information, knowledge, experience and technology among countries for achieving the post-2015 development goals through effective south-south cooperation. The prime minister said this while inaugurating a high-level meeting on ‘South-South and Triangular Cooperation in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Financing for Development in the South and Technology Transfer’.
The PM said she feels highly encouraged watching the momentum generated centering the South-South Cooperation which has a huge potential to grow among the countries in the global south.
As the current president of the United Nations General Assembly High Level Committee on South-South Cooperation, she said, Bangladesh is strongly committed to the critical and innovative mode of development cooperation.
Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance in partnership with UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and UNDP organized the two-day meeting at Pan Pacific Sonargoan Hotel in Dhaka.
The event brought together ministers, senior officials and practitioners both from South and the North for discussions on how South-South and triangular cooperation could be better oriented towards the attainment of internationally agreed upon post-2015 development goals.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the Post-2015 development agenda will be adopted this year as the guiding global policy to ensure the sustainable development of all nations of our planet.
South-South Cooperation is ever expanding, and with the passage of time, it encompasses new areas of cooperation, she said hoping that Dhaka Meeting would contribute to shaping the Post-2015 development agenda through which both South and the North would come together for mutual benefit.
With Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith in the chair the meeting was addressed, among others, by Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the UN and President of UNGA High Level Committee on South South Cooperation AK Abdul Momen and Chair of the Group 77 in the UN Kingsley Mamabolo. Co-Facilitator of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in the UN George W Talbot, Envoy of the Ambassador in UN Secretary General on South-South Cooperation Yiping Zhou and Deputy Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Rintaro Tamaki also spoke on the occasion while ERD Secretary Mohammad Mejbahuddin presented welcome address.
Messages of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President of UN General Assembly Sam Kutesa were read out in the meeting.
Referring to her participation in the Asian-African Summit in Indonesia last month, Sheikh Hasina said the Summit was aimed at strengthening the partnerships amongst Asian and African nations and sharing experiences in enhancing economic development of both regions.
This high level meeting is another step towards promotion of South-South and triangular cooperation as an effective mechanism of development cooperation across the world which bridges both the South and the North, she said.
The prime minister said the global south is emerging as an economic power adding new force to the aspirations of the countries in overcoming common perennial challenges like poverty, hunger and obsolete technologies.
The countries are also successfully dealing with the issues of low productivity in agriculture and industry, tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, poor connectivity and ineffective mutual and regional cooperation, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said while the Southern countries are making progress in economic and social development, a set of new challenges like climate change, regional conflict, terrorism, drug and human trafficking and outbreak of some diseases are posing threats to the stability.
To tackle these new threats, she said, we need close network for sharing information and advanced knowledge, improved early warning system, post disaster management system, green-technology, regional connectivity, energy efficiency, digitization, and more importantly increased flow of development cooperation.
Sheikh Hasina said the countries in the North can play a critical role through joining hands with the Southern countries for managing the emerging threats. The very recent high magnitude earthquake in Nepal gives us a wakeup call to set up an effective regional cooperation for rapid mobilization of humanitarian assistance and rescue equipment, she said adding that this possibility can be examined in the context of South-South and Triangular Cooperation.
Highlighting the Bangladesh’s economic progress over the last few years the Prime Minister said the country has sustained an economic growth 6.2 per cent for the last six years. Per-capita income rose to nearly US$ 1,314 with head count poverty decreasing to 24 per cent.
It is expected that poverty will go down by further 10 per cent by 2018. Bangladesh will become a middle income country by 2021, Sheikh Hasina said.
“We have laid emphasis on human resource and socio-economic development. Girls’ education has been made free up to higher secondary level. Free text books are being distributed among the students up to secondary level,” she said.
The PM said about 13.37 million students have been brought under stipend programs while nearly 100 per cent enrolment of school-going children has been ensured. Life-expectancy rose to 70 years. We attained MDG-1, 2,3,4,5 and 6.
The prime minister pointed out her government’s initiative to constitute Climate Change Trust Fund with own resources saying with the fund, various adaptation and mitigation programs like construction of school-cum-cyclone shelters, embankment and cyclone-resistant houses, and afforestation etc were implemented at the coastal areas.
Sheikh Hasina said her government believes in home-grown solution to combat the poverty and it has been already acknowledged that financial inclusion of poor community through mobile banking service has immensely benefited the economy and is being replicated in some of emerging economies of South.
“In Bangladesh, we look forward to a new era of renewed cooperation among the southern countries. Our home grown salinity-resistant variety of rice is a very good example of southern best solution to climate adaptation,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina called for more cooperation among the Southern countries in the areas of trade, food security, higher education, skill development, health care, conservation of natural resources, renewable energy, foreign direct investment, capital market development, creating global public goods and scientific research and development.
“But the South cannot make progress alone while they have significant barriers like resource scarcity, low technical expertise, inadequate infrastructure, institutional incapacity, weak financial management system, non-functional legal and regulatory framework and internal strife,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said cooperation of the North can remove many of these barriers. Centers of excellence established in different southern countries for research and development purposes may play a vital role in qualitative expansion of the South-South Cooperation.
“Development solutions and knowledge being generated by the centers of excellence should be affordable and made available to share and replicate,” she said adding that “Most importantly, development solutions can be customized to country-specific needs and situation”.
She added: the critical advanced knowledge and enhanced capacity which are much needed by the southern institutions or centers of excellence could be provided under Triangular cooperation.
Sheikh Hasina hoped that the meeting would be able to deliver the best outcome to feed the 3rd international conference on financing for development.
South would find ways for financing their development but that should not replace the official development assistance which the North is committed to providing under internationally agreed decision, she said.
She thanked the organizers especially the United Nations Office of South-South Cooperation and UNDP Bangladesh for organizing this meeting in Dhaka. –Our Monitor (Photo: PID)

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