Ambassador H. E. Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona

Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations 

Seventeenth Session

High Level Committee on South-South Cooperation

 23rd May 2012, UN Headquarters, New York 

Mr. President, 

I congratulate you, and the other members of the bureau on your election. I would also like to commend the excellent contribution of His Excellency Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya, as chair of the High-level Committee for the past two years.

 I also recognize the valuable work of Mr. Yiping Zhou, Director of the Special Unit for UNDP’s South-South Cooperation.

 Mr. President, 

My delegation associates itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Algeria on behalf of the G-77 and China. 

South - South development cooperation has a long history, over five decades, with the active engagement of the emerging Southern developing economies and Southern institutions. Rapidly expanding South-South trade, investment, and cooperation, including regional economic integration and environmental and sustainable development is a reality. To be effective in the long term, greater competitiveness of Southern economies in global production and their increasing role in global investment flows must continue. The private sector of Southern states are beginning to play an active role beyond the traditional inter-state development partnerships. Many non-OECD multilateral development institutions have also become engaged through different channels, such as direct fund transfers and joint partnerships with state and nonstate stakeholders.

 There is increasing recognition that solutions for many complex development challenges can be found in the South itself through the better sharing of lessons learnt and experience. These include cost and institutional efficiency gains in pursuing development, particularly for the most resource-constrained developing countries and the least developed countries. 

We believe that a multi-pronged approach will cover a range of development challenges, including some of the areas related to the Millennium Development Goals. We must explore effective and long-lasting approaches, including enhanced South-South cooperation, to minimize poverty, rising rates of unemployment and widening socio-economic gaps in our societies, which is also emphasized under the post-2015 development strategies. In this context, we should recognize the supplementary nature of all forms of development cooperation and the need to materialize partnership commitments. However, the current global economic uncertainty, which was induced largely by financial mismanagement in developed economies, has caused delays or reductions of ODA commitments, especially from the Northern development partners. 

These constraints have also been reflected in many international fora, including at the ongoing negotiations on Rio+20. We believe that, strengthening the South-South Trust Fund encourages the Member States to move forward with their planned development agendae. 

Mr. President,

 The crux of Sri Lanka’s development vision is a people focused approach. Sri Lanka is committed to this approach and has set multiple goals of rapid economic growth, employment generation and the reduction of poverty, accompanied by redistributive justice, regionally balanced development and environmental sustainability. All of this, we seek to accomplish, while remaining true to our longstanding framework of democratic governance and cultural values. 

Our recent infrastructure development projects, which are now in progress under the post-conflict reconstruction drive, are strongly supported by our development partners in the South. I take this opportunity to express our gratitude to those partners for helping to improve social cohesion through these infrastructure development projects. Moreover, Sri Lanka’s economy has also been enriched by the foreign remittances of its migrant labor force, mostly employed by Southern states. 

I take this opportunity to thank UNDP for helping Sri Lanka’s efforts in engaging with its southern development partners. 

As a developing nation, Sri Lanka has always expressed its readiness to share its capacities and development experiences with other States. As its economy advances, we hope to play an active role in promoting and supporting South–South cooperation. 

I thank you.

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