Statement by Mr. Ahmad Naseem Warraich, Minister, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations at the 17th Session of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation (New York, 22 May 2012)

Mr. President,

I congratulate you and other members of the Bureau for your election for the 17th Session of the Committee. Pakistan delegation assures you of our full support and cooperation. I would also take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to the outgoing President and the Bureau for their excellent leadership during the past two years.

Pakistan associates itself with the statement made by Algeria on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. We would make some additional points in our national capacity.

Mr. President,

The World continues to face multiple challenges. The worsening sovereign debt crisis, high unemployment, increasing food and energy insecurity, persistent inequality, poverty and hunger and the deteriorated climate conditions have drastically curtailed the ability of developing countries to realise their development goals, including MDGs. The developing world is rather faced with serious likelihood of the reversal of the development gains made till date.

Although the share of developing countries in global GDP, trade and investment is growing yet unfortunately this growth is limited to a few so called emerging economies. Most of the developing countries, including the Least Developed Countries, the Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States are still facing formidable economic and development challenges.

Mr. President,

This meeting, therefore, is an important opportunity to discuss the role of South-South Cooperation in promoting development. We hope that this meeting will also strengthen the United Nations support to South-South Cooperation.

We take this opportunity to thank the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation for supporting South-South Cooperation within the UN development system and facilitating triangular cooperation between the North and the South. We also note that the UNDP Administrator’s Report indicates that the United Nations organisations and agencies are moving from ad-hoc initiatives to mainstreaming South-South Cooperation in their policies and programmes. We welcome this and hope greater coordination and coherence among agencies would further improve their work in support of the South-South Cooperation. We, however, regret that the regular budget of the South-South Special Unit was reduced in 2011.

Mr. President,

Cognizant of the enormity of their challenges, developing countries have increased mutual cooperation for development. We see impressive developments in Africa. New Partnership for Africa’s Development, Malawi-Zambia-Mozambique growth triangle, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) are some of the outstanding examples of Africa’s common resolve to ensure the well being of its people. We see similar commendable efforts in the Latin America and Caribbean, the birth place of the idea of South-South Cooperation. A number of important partnering initiatives are shaping up in the Latin America. CARICOM is making significant progress in enhancing mutual cooperation for economic growth and development. Similarly, Asia is leading the efforts on South-South Cooperation.

Mr. President,

Pakistan believes that this new dynamism has tremendously increased the scope for cooperation among countries of the South. We shall make use of the potential optimally.

Secondly, South-South cooperation is neither a rival nor a substitute for the North-South cooperation. Our development partners have provided important support to developing countries. The South-South Cooperation, however, cannot mirror the cooperation with the North.

Thirdly, the increase in the South-South trade and investment and the advancements in technology and human development levels achieved by some of the developing countries offer increased opportunities to developing countries to intensify South-South Cooperation in trade, investment, human resource development, technology and financial resource generation.

Lastly, business sector has critical role to enhance economic opportunities. It is, therefore, important to increase interaction between the business communities of the South as well as our peoples to unleash their creative potential and find innovative and high impact solutions.

Mr. President,

Pakistan has always attached great importance to promoting South-South Cooperation. We launched Pakistan Specialised Technical Assistance Programme for Africa in 1986. This is an institutionalised and fully funded programme under which 50 African countries have availed the facility of training at the Foreign Service Academy in Islamabad.

Pakistan also provides training and technical support to developing countries in the fields where Pakistan has expertise. The training programmes offered to developing countries are in the field of banking, engineering, law, health, communications, civil aviation, diplomacy, software technology and public administration. The Government of Pakistan remains committed to continue and expand these two programmes to even more developing countries.

Pakistan is also participating in several regional economic arrangements including South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Economic Cooperation Organisation, Asia Cooperation Dialogue and D-8. We have also offered to some of the LDCs in the region duty free access on products of export interest to them. Pakistan will continue to further strengthen regional economic engagement.

Mr. President,

In a few weeks, we member states will meet at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development. We are confident that in the coming days we will be able to reach a common understanding on the various ideas under discussion including on the notion of green economy. We understand that any movement on green economy will impose additional costs especially on developing countries. In this regard, we will stress the need of making new and additional financial resources available to the countries of the South to enable them meet added costs.

We are convinced that with the increased support of the UN funds, programmes and agencies to South-South Cooperation as well as with the enhanced commitments of our development partners in the North, we can jointly grasp new opportunities and unlock the existing potential of the South to ensure sustained, inclusive and equitable global development.

Before concluding, I would like to assure you Mr. President of our full support and cooperation and reiterate to you once again the commitment of Pakistan to work closely with you with a view to advancing the interests and objectives of South-South Cooperation.

I thank you.