ASEAN Forum Meeting on South-South Cooperation

Jun 10, 2014


Dr ImronBulkin, Deputy Minister for Regional Development and Local Autonomy at BAPPENAS

Ms. Elaine Tan, Executive Director of ASEAN Foundation

H.E MrsEnnaViant Valdes, Ambassador of Cuba to Indonesia

Ambassador Makarim Wibisono from the Center for Strategic and Intl Studies

Honorable Mayors

Representatives of governments of Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia

It is my great pleasure to welcome you on behalf of UNDP Indonesia to the ASEAN Forum Meeting on South-South Cooperation. I want to welcome in particular, the participants who have come from other parts of Indonesia, as well from the other countries in the region. A special welcome to our colleagues from Thailand, we are very happy that you could make it in spite of the challenging situation in your home country.

Ladies and gentlemen, South-South and trilateral cooperation are becoming very important tools for development especially as countries from the south become more powerful economically and politically.

The 2013 edition of UNDP`s flagship Human Development Report was dedicated to the Rise of the South and provided some interesting evidence on the dramatic shift in power that is currently taking place.

Did you know for example that for the first time in 150 years, the combined Gross Domestic Product of three leading economies of the developing world—Brazil, China and India—equaled the combined GDP of the longstanding industrial powers of the North—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and the United States?

In contrast in1950, Brazil, China and India together represented only 10% of the world economy, while the six traditional economic leaders of the North accounted for more than half.

Developing countries especially those in Asia-Pacific have also seen dramatic progress on the human development index in recent decades. The HDI measures how well countries are progressing in improving the income, health and education of their people and Indonesia is in the top 10 list of countries that have seen the fastest improvement.

As an illustration, from 2000-2012, the average annual HDI growth for ASEAN’s middle-income countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia outpaced the top four HDI nations, Norway, Australia, United States and the Netherlands.

What this tells is that in some respects the world is becoming less unequal; although we know of course that we can’t simply look at global averages, we also have to look within countries where we know that there are still huge inequalities between the rich and the poor.

Ladies and Gentlemen: With the growing economic prominence of the South, it’s fair to say that the South can now offer solutions for the South. Over the last few years we have all come to realize that countries do not only have to look to the North to find answers to their development challenges – they can also look to the south; they can look to their neighbours and other countries that have had similar experiences to their own.

And herein lies the opportunity for enhanced South-South Cooperation, the topic of our discussion over the next two days.

UNDP recognizes the enormously important role that developing countries can play in crafting the solutions needed to advance their own development. This is the reason why globally UNDP has signed Strategic Partnership Agreements with a select number of key developing nations to jointly try out models of cooperation that can facilitate South-South knowledge exchanges and learning.  The UNDP Administrator signed such an agreement with Indonesia´s Foreign Minister in Sept 2012. We also have signed similar agreements with countries in the regions such as India and China and outside the region with Brazil and Turkey.

Indonesia, and in particular Bappenas under MinisterArmida´s leadership is playing a key role in helping to establish South-South Cooperation as a key aspect of Indonesia´s development cooperation. Indonesia’s role in co-chairing the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation and in delivering a successful outcome of the First High Level Meeting of the Partnership in Mexico in April was absolutely critical. The High Level Meeting saw South-South Cooperation and Knowledge Sharing established as key pillars to the Partnership.

Indonesia, with UNDP support, has recently undertaken a stock taking exercise and strategic review of its role in providing South-South Cooperation. This review has generated some very useful pointers for our discussions here. Regionally, UNDP has supported similar reviews – for example in Thailand – and the messages are clear. Let me articulate a few for you.

First, as with all development cooperation, absolutely fundamental to the success of south-south cooperation is a process of design and implementation that fosters ownership. We need to look at the needs of the recipient countries in South-South exchanges and ensure that the recipient country is in the driver´s seat. The recipients need to clearly articulate what they need and how they need it. The providers need to shape their exchange around these needs.

South-south cooperation is therefore a two way street where both partners share and receive knowledge and experience.

A second key point emerging from UNDP’s experience in strengthening strategic south-south cooperation is that we need to clearly define the results we want to achieve. SSC is not only about exchanges and study tours and workshops; it must lead to knowledge and ideas that can be used to improve the development condition of a country or a province. And we need to work with this in mind and find ways to monitor the impact from south-south cooperation efforts.

Ladies and gentlemen, the work you are all involved in is critical. This is one of the first times that countries have come together to discuss the role of sub national entities in south-south cooperation. Traditionally the focus is on the national level. You are helping to test and pioneer new approaches and ideas, and I want to congratulate you all for this.

There are a lot of social and cultural similarities between the countries here today – this provides a strong basis for collaboration. In addition, many good practices occur at the sub-national level and can be shared not only with other provinces or districts within one country, but also with other provinces or districts in other countries.

This of course calls for strong commitment and coordination support from the central governments, particularly during the planning and budgeting stages and leads me to a final important point to note. Whilst there can be huge added value from a specific sub-national south-south cooperation relations, that value can be leveraged even further if we consider it as part of a larger well-coordinated package of cooperation between two countries.

Bappenas as well as other central coordinating agencies in Indonesia and other countries have a key role to play in ensuring that south-south cooperation is not just a number of individual relationships and projects but evolves into a strategic partnership between nations, where different project and exchanges add up to a larger, common set of results. We must keep the important issue of coordination and coherence in mind as we take forward our south-south cooperation across provinces.

Before closing let me now turn to the importance of ASEAN as a host and a hub for south-south cooperation initiatives. A number of ASEAN countries have already begun to champion initiatives like Thailand’s Great Mekong Sub-Region Trades. Or the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth AREA (BIMP-EAGA) to name just a few.As such, the ASEAN community offers in many ways an excellent backdrop for south-south cooperation where countries look to establish strategic partnerships and pursue common socio-economic goals.

And in the lead-up to the 2015 ASEAN Community that establishes ASEAN as a single market, it is also acknowledged that the involvement, ownership, and participation of all ASEAN People will be vital. In recognition of this dynamic, Jakarta late last year hosted a gathering of governors and mayors of the capital cities of ASEAN highlighting the importance of ASEAN going local.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Approaching the 2015 deadline, the world is taking stock of how much progress has been made in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and Heads of States are engaging in the formulation of new global development goals for the post 2015 era that will guide the international development agenda for the next 15-20 years. Again, here the ASEAN community has a key role to play in shaping thefuture development framework. South-South Cooperation in this context is a key modality for delivery,a key aspect of the “how” of implementing the Post-2015 agenda.

UNDP as the largest development agency of the UN system is ready to continue serving as a broker in the post 2015 setup to connect countries to knowledge and expertise and to serve as a convener of partners— for governments, civil society and multinational companies—to share experiences. With our world-wide network, we believe we can offer what countries need to facilitate learning and capacity building through South-South cooperation.

We look forward to continue playing this role in the context of ASEAN, in Indonesia and beyond and are indeed honored to be part of this important event as a milestone to expand SSTC within ASEAN.

Finally, let me thank the ASEAN Foundation and Bappenas for coorganising this event with us.We do hope that this two day meeting will meet your expectations and open opportunities for further collaboration and cooperation.

Last but not least, I would like to again extend a warm welcome to all participants to Indonesia. I hope that aside from the workshop proceedings you will find some time to enjoy Jakarta. Your visit comes at an opportune moment with the rainy season having finally ended to allow you to explore and experience the food, culture and the warmth of Indonesian people.

SELAMAT DATANG (Welcome) and TerimaKasih (Thank you) as we say here in Indonesia.

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