Minister of foreign affairs Sam Kutesa has called on countries that subscribe to the South-South Cooperation to pool resources and invest in research projects that will help fight the Covid-19 pandemic, which has taken a devastating toll on the global economy and claimed millions of lives.
"To deal with the effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic, there is need for global cooperation and collaboration to invest in research and development of its vaccines, improve health facilities and training more health workers among other interventions," Minister Kutesa said, adding that the pandemic underscores the value of international cooperation.
"There is no doubt that COVID 19 is yet another testimony that more than ever before, international cooperation is crucial in all aspects of sustainable development and human survival."
Kutesa's speech was read by Okello Oryem, the minister of state for foreign affairs, during the high-level video conference on 'poverty eradication and South-South Cooperation'.
South-South cooperation refers to the technical cooperation among developing countries in the Global South. It is a tool used by the states, international organizations, academics, civil society and the private sector to collaborate and share knowledge, skills and successful initiatives in specific areas such as agricultural development, human rights, urbanization, health, climate change, etc.
During the 1960s and 1970s, with the global socio-economic climate entangled with Cold War politics, developing countries began seeking ways to chart the course of their own development; alternatives to the existing economic and political order.
Technical cooperation among these Southern States started as a pioneering associative effort to strengthen their diplomatic and international negotiating power through political dialogue.
What is now known as South-South cooperation, derives from the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (BAPA) by 138 UN Member States in Argentina, on September 18, 1978.
The plan established a scheme of collaboration among least developed countries, mostly located in the south of the planet. It also established for the first time a framework for this type of cooperation and incorporated in its practice the basic principles of relations between sovereign States: respect for sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs and equality of rights, among others.
In his speech, Minister Kutesa hailed China for the leadership role and donations it channeled to fighting the pandemic.
"With all these in mind, it should be appreciated that South-South cooperation provides an opportunity for its members to play significant roles in addressing challenges related to sustainable development including collaboration in the fight against Covid-19," he said.
"South-South cooperation should be seen to be an integral part of the international community’s support to the countries in the south, where we can draw on the different expertise and resources existing in our countries for mutual benefit," he went on.
"Some important areas of cooperation may include building human and productive capacity, technical assistance and exchange of best practices, particularly in areas related to health, education, trade, investment, environment, tourism, transit transport and technology transfer among others. South-South Cooperation should also be structured in a manner that encourages North-South cooperation through triangular mechanisms."
The minister also noted that, more than ever before, there is a great need to strengthen South-South Cooperation to address the challenges of our time, including the Corona Virus, and other issues of sustainable development.