Mr Chairman (H.E. Xi Jinping, President, People’s Republic of China),
Mr Secretary General (H.E. Ban Ki-Moon),
Ladies and Gentlemen,
South-South Cooperation has a long history, and has been important in creating innovative approaches to partnership and international development. I am proud to say that Malaysia has played its part from early on, as it has in other groups of developing countries such as the Non-Aligned Movement and the G77.
From 1980 onwards, Malaysia has shown its support and participation in particular through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme. Over those 35 years, we have been assisting less developed countries in areas such as economic planning, finance and trade, agriculture, education, industrial technical training and diplomacy.
To date, we have allocated $200 million to this programme, and it has benefitted 29,000 participants from 141 countries. Malaysia remains ready to continue to share our development experience, even as we ourselves are on track to reach high income status by 2020.
And as ASEAN – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – establishes itself as a Community under Malaysia’s chairmanship by the end of the year, I am confident that that will only strengthen both what Malaysia and ASEAN can do to contribute to South-South Cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In order for us to play a more constructive role in the implementation of the rest of the MDGs, and for the optimum realisation of the Post 2015 Development Agenda, it is crucial for South-South countries to adopt a common position on global sustainable development.
Mr Chairman, I believe there is a famous Chinese saying that goes: “When people work with one mind, they can even move Mount Tai”.
If we can achieve this, South-South Cooperation could be a valuable way for developing countries to be truly heard when dealing with international organisations, including the United Nations and its organs.
Standing united, and with one common voice, South-South countries could be a powerful force at all sorts of multilateral fora, providing an in-depth and more accurate diagnosis of the issues faced by developing countries.
We in Malaysia, for instance, believe that South-South Cooperation could help reinforce the emphasis on building the resilience of the poor and vulnerable, in particular those in the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states.
They especially need help in reducing their exposure to climate-related, natural, and economic shocks. That is why my government set up a Cooperative Trust Fund jointly with UNESCO in order to build capacity in education and science in those countries.
With greater focus and togetherness, South-South Cooperation could make a strong contribution to debates over existing international norms in the areas of economics and finance. We all want fair, inclusive and orderly international institutions and financial systems.
As these change and come to be reformed in the 21st century, it is important that the voice of the South – which was not heard in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, as many countries were not yet independent – is given appropriate weight.
The Sustainable Development Goals look forward to 2030. What the world will be like then, we cannot know for sure. What we do know, however, is that the global south will have continued its rise, and that many of the policy challenges will be of a cross-border, even cross-continental, nature.
Ending poverty and hunger, raising standards in education and health, protecting our oceans, seas and forests, dealing with climate change, and making our lived environments more sustainable – all of these, along with ensuring our growth is inclusive and equitable, and that we empower the women of our societies, disproportionately affect the countries of the South.
It is in our interests therefore to strengthen South-South Cooperation, and to work as one with all our United Nations to make the Sustainable Development Goals a success. We owe nothing less to our peoples and to the generations to come.