UN conference on South-South cooperation set to open in Kenya

16:05, December 01, 2009      

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By Daniel Ooko and Ben Ochieng

The UN sponsored high-level conference on South-South cooperation is set to kick off in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday.

The three-day conference will discuss common development challenges affecting developing countries under the United Nations.

Under the South-South cooperation theme, the forum will seek to come up with an inclusive partnership to tackle the challenges facing the developing nations.

Speaking to journalists ahead of the conference in Nairobi, UN Director of Special Unit for the Cooperation Yiping Zhou said the meeting will be looking for a commitment to sharing experience and expertise on growth issues.

"The challenges of these nations are in a development agenda that requires enlightened thinking and practical solutions. We are looking for a commitment for an inclusive partnership for development," said Zhou

He said the conference will highlight growing political and economic ties within the developing world, as countries from the South assume leading roles in decisions on hot global issues ranging from economic recovery to food security and climate change.

The conference is being convened on the 30th anniversary of adoption of Buenos Aires Plan of Action for promoting and implementing technical cooperation among developing countries.

The cooperation was born out of a meeting in Argentina in 1978 to tackle technical challenges facing developing nations. This was through promoting self-reliance within the nations as opposed to seeking support from the first world.

Zhou said the Dec. 1-3 meeting will seek to promote and sharpen the benefits of mutual support among developing and transition economies, as well as maintain support for the process from the developed world through "triangular" cooperation.

Participation in the High-level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation is expected at Head of State and ministerial levels.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro and UN Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark are among the senior officials who will attend the meeting.

"The role of developing countries in the global arena is increasingly becoming important and there is an agreement that they face common challenges that need to be addressed conclusively," Kenya's Planning Permanent Secretary Edward Sambili said.

Over the years Kenya has benefited from this cooperation with 69.5 percent of the country's exports being to the COMESA region.

Kenya has also benefited from projects supported by south-south cooperation through the G77 Perez-Guerrero trust fund.

Zhou said that Kenya can even benefit more were it to explore avenues of trade such as the tax exemption by countries such as china and India on certain products.

Zhou however, said that the conference will try and encourage developing countries to sign more multilateral agreements shifting away from the current one on one agreement to enhance trade between themselves.

The conference is the outcome of a UN decision to convene such a conference on the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among developing countries (TCDC).

The UN General Assembly has described South-South cooperation as an important element of international cooperation for development, which offers viable opportunities for developing countries in their individual and collective pursuits of sustained economic growth and sustainable development, and emphasized that South-South cooperation is not a substitute for, but is complementary to, North-South cooperation.

Source: Xinhua
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