Statement by Robbie Marks, Advisor, USUN ECOSOC, at the 17th Session of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation

Robbie Marks, Advisor, USUN ECOSOC
New York, NY
May 23, 2012


Thank you Mr. Chairman,

As the largest providers of official development assistance, disbursing $31 billion in 2011 with a record high of $10 billion going to the Least Developed Countries, we are committed to working with all partners, including emerging donors and recipient countries, to ensure that our development resources continue to make the greatest impact in the rapidly evolving development landscape.

The outcomes of the 2010 High-Level Review of the MDGs, the 2011 Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Istanbul, and November’s Conference on Aid Effectiveness in Busan all underlined the importance of South-South, Triangular, and North-South cooperation in a new aid environment.

As our colleagues from Nepal and Laos stressed earlier, developing countries are key partners in the development efforts of both the LDCs and Landlocked Developing Countries. Emerging economies have become significant contributors to global growth and important development assistance providers and partners.

Trade, investment, remittances, philanthropic and other private sector resources have dwarfed official development assistance. Three of the top five LDC trading partners are developing countries. A full third of foreign direct investment originates in developing countries. The distinction between "donor" and "recipient" is becoming less relevant.

As the international community proclaimed in Busan: “We are all part of a development agenda in which we participate on the basis of common goals and shared principles.”

Recognizing this important shift in development effectiveness, the United States is adapting its thinking and assistance: We strongly support country-ownership based on national priorities, evidence-based analysis, and best practices. We are developing approaches to better measure progress, to be clear about outcomes, and to work with our partners to achieve them.

It is essential for all of us to base our development assistance work on a common set of international standards. Transparency and accountability -- to the countries that we provide assistance to, as well to the larger international community of which we are a member -- are part and parcel of good donorship.

Mr. Chairman,

Over the next few days, we will have much to discuss, including how to improve the UN Development System’s support of South-South cooperation.

We believe that UN agencies can do more to help South-South cooperation to reach its full potential, and in doing so, to help promote participatory and transparent processes at the UN and in countries that would include civil society and the private sector.

In developing their strategies, UN agencies should take into account agency-specific mandates and priorities, as set by their governing boards. And cost-benefit analysis ought to inform their actions.

Concerning JIU recommendations on the work program, personnel, and organizational structure within UNDP, we encourage the UNDP Administrator to consult with the UNDP Executive Board in considering these recommendations in conjunction with the Board's on-going discussions of UNDP's next strategic plan and integrated budget.

Mr. Chairman, The past decade has been marked by higher economic growth in much of the developing world and considerable progress in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, as evidenced by recent encouraging news from the World Bank on our closing in on targets to reduce extreme poverty and child mortality by 2015.

The international community shares common goals and principles that cross the spectrum of development cooperation and will guide us as we continue to promote sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth, sustainable development, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Thank you


PRN: 2012/126