U.S. Statement delivered by Ambassador Elizabeth M. Cousens, U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council at the High-Level Event on North-South, South-South, Triangular Cooperation and ICTs for Development, May 21, 2014.

Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens
U.S. Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council 
New York, NY, United States
May 21, 2014




AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of the United States, I am pleased to address the important topics of North-South, South-South and Triangular Cooperation, as well as information and communications technologies development.

Mr. President, the landscape of development cooperation is changing. We have the potential to set an ambitious development agenda after 2015 that can truly put our economies and societies on a path to shared and growing prosperity, while also husbanding the natural resources on which we depend to assure future generations of more, not fewer, opportunities.

This will require us to be equally ambitious about cooperation and the many forms it takes, to mobilize and effectively utilize a full spectrum of investments, resources, financial flows, and technologies. North-South, South-South, and Triangular cooperation will all be vital, as will our openness to new partnerships to mobilize the actors and resources needed for specific solutions.

In the first instance, we need to be ambitious about financing and harness all relevant flows, public and private, that can be effectively mobilized for development objectives.

Official Development Assistance (ODA) is obviously crucial. We are encouraged to note that ODA reached its highest level ever in 2013 and is further expected to increase in 2014, and we need now to look at how ODA can be deployed more strategically to have maximum development impact. We must also give fresh thought to other official flows and ways to boost trade, foreign investment, and other public and private financing, including reducing the cost of remittances. With many of the world’s fastest growing economies being in the developing world, and with the share of traditional aid diminishing considerably relative to other flows- hovering now at around 20% relative to other sources of investment – taking a holistic approach to development finance will be crucial.

We therefore wholeheartedly agree with calls to identify the most effective ways to support South-South and Triangular Cooperation, and mobilize the full range of skills, knowledge, and resources that need to be mustered in the fight against poverty and the promotion of shared prosperity and sustainable development. South-South and Triangular Cooperation are all the more critical given not only the scale and ambition of the post-2015 development agenda we are in the process of crafting but also the reality of different national circumstances in a rapidly evolving world and the need for context-relevant and tailored development solutions.

The United Nations has an important role in these efforts, as does the wide range of other platforms and instruments that can help spur and support South-South cooperation. Regional development banks, international financial institutions, regional economic and other bodies will all be important players who can together help expand South-South cooperation and improve its reach and impact. Much of South-South cooperation also occurs directly and bilaterally so an important question before us is also how to connect and mutually reinforce the variety of productive flows and platforms.

Turning to ICTs for development, breakthroughs in science and technology have spurred quantum leaps in global development, and the revolution in Information and Communications Technologies is perhaps the most breathtaking. In 2010 and 2011 alone, ICTs generated $192 billion in GDP worldwide and over 6 million new jobs, of which 70 percent and 94 percent respectively were in developing countries. ICTs can underpin a wide range of development solutions and expand collaboration between communities and individuals as well as strengthen dialogue, responsiveness, and accountability between citizens and governments.

Global connectivity promises to fuel the solutions we need. According to the International Telecommunication Union, the world’s 7.1 billion inhabit­ants now hold 6.8 billion cell phone sub­scriptions, 2.7 billion people are connected to the Internet, and fixed broadband costs have dropped over 80 percent since 2008. Our agenda must find ways to harness these advances and this potential.

Our post-2015 development agenda can encourage efforts to accelerate broadband expansion and use of telecommunications and ICT infrastructure, services, and applications.

That means strategic investments in human capital – education at all levels, vocational training, teacher training, entrepreneurship, and research and development infrastructure, as well as collaboration and knowledge diffusion between scientists and engineers from all over the world.

It means ICT solutions, as well as broader scientific and technical knowledge, adapted to local contexts, needs, and problems – aided by enhanced South-South and Triangular cooperation.

It means inclusivity of women in the technology development fields that will help spur their economic advancement and stimulate broader economic growth.

And it means talking about how to support and develop the ‘data revolution’ and dynamic methodologies for measuring and tracking progress that we have heard mentioned so often in this context.

We believe these to be deeply important topics for our post-2015 development agenda, and look forward to deeper dialogue with colleagues in the days ahead.

Thank you.

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PRN: 2014/121