High-level UN conference on South-South cooperation
Development cooperation no longer limited to North-South
Nairobi, 2 December 2009 - "The fact that now countries of the South such as Brazil, China, India, or South Africa have also become active in development cooperation, is important and positive from the point of view of the Austrian Development Cooperation (EZA)", said the Head of the Austrian Development Cooperation in the Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Irene Freudenschuss-Reichl, who participated in the high-ranking United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation that took place in Kenya between 1 and 3 December.
"South-South cooperation, however, cannot be a substitute for North-South cooperation; instead, the objective must be to bundle our efforts to support the poorest countries on their path toward sustainable development. The conference was an important step toward improving cooperation between the "new" and the "old" development donors", Freudenschuss-Reichl continued.
South-South cooperation has become increasingly important in recent years. Brazil, for instance, has become an important cooperation partner in Latin America, and the same applies to China in Africa. South-South cooperation can very effectively complement traditional development cooperation in the exchange of concrete development experiences or in the area of education. In this respect, the support of so-called triangular cooperation is also of increasing importance. It involves the cooperation between countries of the North and at least two countries of the South. For several years, the Austrian Development Cooperation has been supporting South-South scholarship programmes, allowing, for instance, Nicaraguan students to study in Mexico or in other South American countries. This has several advantages: The distance from the family is smaller, there is no language barrier, and the solution is more efficient, since a larger number of students can be supported with the same amount of money.
Stronger South-South cooperation, however, also presents us with challenges: The more parties are involved, the more important good coordination becomes. In recent years, the traditional development cooperation donors have undertaken a lot to improve the effectiveness of the aid provided, through more efficient coordination and distribution of work.
"The objective now is to better coordinate ourselves with the new players in development cooperation, since together we can achieve more and contribute more effectively to the reduction of poverty in the least developed countries", said Ambassador Freudenschuss-Reichl.
The high-level symposium of the Development Cooperation Forum jointly organized by the United Nations and Austria on 12 and 13 November 2009 in Vienna was an important contribution to the preparation of this UN Conference in Nairobi.
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