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SOUTHNEWS

 
No. 56, 19 June 2014

SOUTHNEWS is a service of the South Centre to provide information and news on topical issues from a South perspective.
 
Visit the South Centre’s website: www.southcentre.int.

G77:  Summit Declaration on national development, S-S cooperation

By Martin Khor in Santa Cruz, 16 June 2014
The Declaration adopted by the G77 Extraordinary Summit on 14-15 June in Santa Cruz has five sections.  Its second section on “development in the national context” deals with poverty eradication, inequality, provision of basic services, access to health (as described in the first article on the Declaration).
 
This second article deals with other aspects of Part II (agriculture and food security, industrialisation and infrastructure, women in development and indigenous people) as well as Part III on South-South Cooperation.
 
The Declaration contains a lengthy section on Agricultural development and food security.  The leaders recalled that food security and nutrition are essential elements for achieving sustainable development and express concern that developing countries are vulnerable to, among others, the adverse impacts of climate change, further threatening food security.
 
They reaffirmed that hunger is a violation of human dignity and call for urgent measures to be taken to eliminate it.  They also reaffirmed the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food in accordance with their right to adequate food and the fundamental right to be free from hunger, in order to develop and maintain their full physical and mental capacities.
 
“We denounce that subsidies and other market distortions driven by developed countries have seriously affected the agricultural sector of developing countries, limiting the ability of this key sector to significantly contribute to the eradication of poverty and to sustained, inclusive economic growth and equitable, sustainable development, food security and rural development.” said the Declaration. “We call for the immediate elimination of all forms of agricultural subsidies and other market-distorting measures taken by developed countries that are not in compliance with WTO rules. We urge developed countries to show flexibility and political will to adequately address these fundamental concerns of developing countries in the Doha Round of trade negotiations.”
 
They reiterated their commitment to conclude multilateral disciplines on fisheries subsidies including through the prohibition of certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiation.
 
Stressing that food security and agriculture development is an integral part of the international development agenda, they demanded sustained funding and increased targeted investment to enhance world food production and called for new and additional financial resources for sustainable agriculture development and food security.
 
Strengthening the agricultural sector should be part of the post-2015 agenda with its means of implementation, to achieve food security.  They also stressed the importance of including the knowledge, practices and technologies of indigenous peoples, rural communities and small- and medium-scale farmers in national, regional and international strategies aimed at achieving food security.
 
They reaffirmed that quinoa’s biodiversity and nutritional value make it central to providing food security and nutrition and to eradicating poverty, as well as to promoting the traditional knowledge of the Andean indigenous peoples.
 
They called for the creation of conditions for the development of economic opportunities for the benefit of small-scale and family farmers, peasant and indigenous peoples and communities, and the creation of options for connecting them with consumers, as part of the national strategies for the realization of the right to food.
 
They recognized the positive role of small-scale and family farmers, including women, cooperatives, indigenous peoples and local communities in developing countries, and their knowledge and practices, in the conservation and sustainable use of seeds, agro-biodiversity and biodiversity associated with food production of present and future generations.
 
They stressed the need to address the root causes of excessive food price volatility, including its structural causes, at all levels, and the need to manage the risks linked to excessively volatile prices in agricultural commodities.
 
“We call for the prioritization of development in the WTO Doha Round of negotiations in accordance with the Doha Development Agenda, including food security. We call for the promotion of the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and rural development in developing countries. In this context, we urge WTO members to adopt a permanent solution to the issue of public stock holding and food security for developing countries, as agreed by the WTO Ministerial Decision adopted in Bali, Indonesia, in 2013, as soon as possible.”
 
On Sustainable family farming, the leaders  declared that family farms and small farms are an important basis for sustainable food production aimed at achieving food security and that support should be given to the economic activities of sustainable family farming, in particular promoting their access to financial services, productive resources and agricultural inputs such as land, seeds, appropriate technology, transport and information.
 
“We will promote comprehensive and complementary national and regional actions for production, access and consumption based on integral, multi-sectoral and participatory planning, reassessing and strengthening sustainable family farming, small-scale farmers, indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants,” said the Declaration.”
 
In a section on Industrialization and infrastructure, the Declaration affirmed that industrial development and value addition, together with science, technology and innovation, are essential elements for developing countries to attain higher development levels in a sustained way, as the industrialization process can generate higher productivity, more jobs and skills and positive spill-over effects on the economy. Therefore, they urged developed countries to assist developing countries in boosting industrialization in their development strategies and policies and in promoting inclusive sustainable industrial development.
 
They noted that many developing countries are still overly dependent on commodities and that they should explore industrial diversification strategies by, enhancing value-adding productive capacities.
 
They called on international organizations and requested international cooperation mechanisms to assist developing countries, including through technology transfer, to develop their capacities to design and implement industrialization strategies and policies.
 
On the issue of policy space and trade rules, the Declaration stated:  “We call for the international trading system to respect and reinforce the policy space of developing countries for the promotion and growth of our industrial development and for the design and implementation of our industrial strategies. In this regard, we call for the revision of all rules within the world trading system that affect the policy space of developing countries.”
 
On infrastructure, the Declaration affirmed that the development of reliable and affordable infrastructure, regional connectivity, including transport, roads, energy and telecommunications, are essential.   
 
They urged developed countries to provide technical assistance, technology transfer and financial resources to enable developing countries to industrialize and develop our infrastructure in ways that are environmentally sustainable, including adopting cleaner, resource-based and energy-efficient sustainable consumption and production patterns, including cleaner fossil fuel technologies.
 
On the Inclusion of women in development, the Declaration reaffirmed the vital role of women and the need for full and equal opportunities for their participation and leadership in all areas of sustainable development.  They decided to accelerate the implementation of their commitments in various relevant Conventions and Declarations pertaining to women.
 
They recognized that the potential of women in sustainable development has not been fully realized, supported prioritizing measures to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in all spheres, and resolved to unlock the potential of women as drivers of sustainable development through many measures and through creating an enabling environment.
 
“We are committed to ensure equal rights and opportunities for women in political and economic decision-making and resource allocation, to give women equal rights with men to economic resources, and to ensure access to education, finance, information and communications technologies, markets, legal assistance and other basic services, including health-care services, including safe, effective, affordable and acceptable modern methods of family planning,” said the Declaration.
 
They recognized that violence against women seriously violates all human rights of women, and agreed to take action to eliminate all forms of violence, including feminicide and discrimination against women and girls, through a more systematic, comprehensive approach, mechanisms and national action plans.  They also reaffirmed the commitment to work towards a post-2015 development agenda with a gender perspective and supported the gender issue as a stand-alone sustainable development goal.
 
On Indigenous peoples, the Declaration urged efforts towards the implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands, natural resources, identity and culture, in accordance with national legislation.  The leaders reaffirmed their commitments to implement their legal obligations, including, as appropriate, Convention No. 169 of the International Labour Organization, as well as to promote the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
 
They reaffirmed the value and the diversity of the cultures and the forms of social organization of indigenous peoples and their holistic traditional scientific knowledge, innovations and practices, which play a significant role in strengthening the livelihoods of the local populations, ensuring food security and addressing climate change.
 
They stressed the importance of indigenous peoples in sustainable development and their critical role in the social, economic and political processes of their countries, while strengthening the local views and values referred to as the holistic views of Mother Earth.
 
They reaffirmed the importance of the role of collective action and the efforts of indigenous and local communities in conserving biodiversity, considering their critical role in the stewardship and sustainable management of natural renewable resources.
 
They considered that mitigation of and adaptation to climate change are contingent upon different sociocultural contexts, taking particular account of indigenous peoples and local communities and their traditional knowledge systems and practices, including their holistic view of community and environment, as a major means of adapting to climate change.
 
They called for strengthening the inter-scientific dialogue between traditional and indigenous knowledge systems with modern sciences in the context of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and of the conceptual framework of “Living well in balance and harmony with Mother Earth”, approved by the Platform.
 
They welcomed the convening of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, to be held in New York on 22 and 23 September 2014 and the outcome document should contribute to the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples and the pursuit of the objectives of the Declaration.
 
They also took note of the Special Declaration on the Coca Leaf of the Heads of State and Government of the Latin American and Caribbean States in Havana on 29 January 2014, which acknowledged the importance of preserving the cultural and traditional practices of indigenous peoples and recognized coca leaf chewing as an ancestral cultural manifestation of the people of the Andean region that must be respected by the international community.
 
In Part III on South-South cooperation, the Declaration reaffirmed their view of South-South cooperation as a manifestation of solidarity among peoples and countries of the South that contributes to their national well-being, their national and collective self-reliance and that South-South cooperation and its agenda have to be set by countries of the South and should continue to be guided by the principles of respect for national sovereignty, national ownership and independence, equality, non-conditionality, non-interference in domestic affairs and mutual benefit.
 
The leaders reaffirmed the importance of strengthening South-South cooperation, especially in the current international economic environment, and reiterated it is a strategy to sustain the development efforts of developing countries and as a means of enhancing their participation in the global economy.
 
The Declaration stated:  “We reiterate the position of the Group that South-South cooperation is a complement to, rather than a substitute for, North-South cooperation and reaffirmed that South-South cooperation is a collective endeavour of developing countries based on the principle of solidarity and premises, conditions and objectives that are specific to the historic and political context of developing countries and to their needs and expectations, and that as such, South-South cooperation deserves its own separate and independent promotion, as reaffirmed in the Nairobi outcome document.
 
“In this context, we stress that South-South cooperation and its agenda must be driven by the countries of the South. As such, South-South cooperation, which is critical for developing countries, requires long-term vision and a global institutional arrangement, as envisioned by the Second South Summit”.
 
The Declaration welcomed the convening of the High-level Panel of Eminent Personalities of the South in Fiji in May 2013, and its conclusions on the future landscape of South-South cooperation and they reiterated the framework and principles of South-South cooperation first endorsed by the G77 Foreign Ministers in New York on 26 September 2008.
 
They welcomed the conclusion of the third round of the Global System of Trade Preferences, and called upon more developing countries to participate in it.
 
They welcomed the increase in South-South regional cooperation initiatives in various areas, such as finance, banking, trade, health care and food production and called for further initiatives as well as concrete ways in which developing countries can share experiences and good practices so as to spread these South-South initiatives. They also encouraged their countries to exchange experiences and best practices with regard to the equal access by all to basic services.
 
They stressed that the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation of the General Assembly is the central multilateral policymaking body in the United Nations system to review and assess global and system-wide progress and support for South-South development cooperation.
 
They supported the system-wide provision of additional resources to the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, and recognize that the Office, currently hosted by the, constitutes a separate entity with a distinct legal nature, entrusted with the coordination on a global and United Nations system-wide basis for promoting and facilitating initiatives related to South-South cooperation for development.  They requested a more formalized and strengthened inter-agency mechanism for the UN Office for South-South Cooperation.
 
They called upon the UN development system to promote transfer of technologies from developed countries for the benefit of developing countries and encouraged technology cooperation among the countries of the South.
 
“We acknowledge the role played by the South Centre in supporting the Group of 77. We call upon the members of the Group to further support the Centre and call upon the Centre to expand its activities for the benefit of developing countries,” said the Declaration. “We encourage organizations of developing countries, including the South Centre, to come up with ideas and suggest action plans to further operationalize South-South cooperation.”
 
(This is the second part of a three-part series on the G77 Summit Declaration.  The third part will be in a future issue of the South News).
 
Author: Martin Khor is the Executive Director of the South Centre. Contact: director@southcentre.int.
To view other articles in SouthNews, please click here.

For more information, please contact Vicente Paolo Yu of the South Centre: Email yu@southcentre.int, or telephone +41 22 791 80 50.
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