India has underlined the need for cooperation between developed and developing countries to achieve the ambitious new 2030 global agenda for sustainable development.
“South-South cooperation, by definition, is among partners sharing similar challenges and traversing broadly similar paths towards development… It defies easy categorisation and temptations to straitjacket it should be resisted,” India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Tanmaya Lal said at a high level committee South-South Cooperation at UN on Tuesday.
South-south cooperation is vastly different from the North-South aid that has a distinct context of historical obligations and where one set of partners is far better placed to assist, he said.
“Excessive emphasis on South-South Cooperation as the principal new component of a redefined Global Partnership is misplaced. In fact, it is the North-South cooperation that
needs scaling up to serve the new Agenda,” Lal said.
Lal stressed that overemphasising the necessity of harmonising standards between South-South and North-South cooperation is equally misplaced, running the risk of diluting the richness and diversity of South-South Cooperation.
He said the 2030 agenda sees the developing countries as active agents of change and not merely as passive recipients of assistance. The agenda applies equally to the North or the developed nations, enjoining them to also take concrete and measurable actions to attain sustainable development.
Lal also termed as “ironical” that while South-South Cooperation is being discussed at the UN, discussions on North-South aid continue to be a monopoly of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, defying the “spirit of universality of the new development Agenda”.
He said that India has long held that UN should provide more substantive support to South-South Cooperation.
“We remain hopeful that through the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, the institutional support of the United Nations will also increase commensurate with the importance
and scale of South-South Cooperation,” Lal said.
Chronic poverty, proliferation of conflicts from geopolitical struggle for power, humanitarian crisis – many of them man-made and leading to large scale movements of people reflect that there has not been enough of cooperation among nations, he said.
Lal referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on the core ideals of South-South Cooperation when the Indian leader had said that south-south cooperation is a partnership
beyond “strategic concerns and economic benefits” but is formed from the “emotional bonds we share and the solidarity we feel for each other”.