UN Day for South-South Cooperation 2023:

● Solidarity, Equity and Partnership: Unlocking South-South Cooperation to Achieve the SDGs

High-level Panel Discussion
Tuesday, 12 September 2023
United Nations Headquarters, ECOSOC Chamber


Unleashing South-South Cooperation to Achieve the SDGs

12 September 2023

On the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, 12 September 2023, the United Nations community came together to highlight needs emerging from various regions; as well as to present transformational initiatives by South-South stakeholders toward addressing the most acute priorities in achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

The theme of the 2023 United Nations Day was “Solidarity, Equity and Partnership: Unlocking South-South Cooperation to Achieve the SDGs”.

“Only together can we build a world of shared prosperity, where cooperation knows no borders, said António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, in his message for the United Nations Day. “Through South-South cooperation, countries of the Global South can share knowledge, skills, expertise and resources, coordinate their efforts, and benefit from economies of scale.”

To highlight the importance of South-South cooperation and to mark the day in 1978 when the United Nations Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries adopted the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (A/C.2/66/L.48), the General Assembly proclaimed 12 September as the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation.

This year, the high-level event took place one week prior to the SDG Summit, and was an opportunity to raise awareness and accelerate practical actions as we arrive at this halfway point to 2030.


Watch the High-level Commemoration:


“South-South and triangular cooperation are not mere options; they are essential and yet underutilized tools to achieve global peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all,” said H.E. Mr. Dennis Francis, President of the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly, in his Keynote Address. “Faced with the myriad of challenges, it is increasingly important that we maximize the potential of such cooperation, which amplifies a strong collaboration between developing countries themselves, in partnership with developed nations, and international organizations.”

H.E. Mr. Peter Mohan Maithri Pieris, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and President of the 21st Session of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, emphasized that developing countries are unleashing the potential of South-South cooperation, through the exchange of knowledge and skills on poverty reduction, health, and climate action, among others.

“Today is an opportunity to reaffirm the ongoing relevance of South-South cooperation in the establishment of a global alliance that is more equitable for development and peace,” said H.E. Ambassador Gerardo Peñalver Portal, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations, on behalf of the Chair of the Group of 77.

“The challenges before us may seem insurmountable but remain within our grasp should we unlock the full potential of South-South cooperation,” said Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, BAPA+40 Secretary-General. The introduction of the UN System-Wide Strategy on South-South and Triangular Cooperation, along with the new set of Guidelines produced by UNOSSC to anchor South South and triangular cooperation in the UN Development planning instruments, is a testament to our shared commitment to leveraging this vital avenue to foster sustainable development at the global, regional and country levels.

At the midpoint of the 2023 Agenda, we need to raise our collective ambitions to rally more support for countries in the Global South, said Ms. Rabab Fatima, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. The world’s 92 most vulnerable countries – LDCs, LLDCs and SIDs – are experiencing the worst impacts of interconnected development crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, global economic slowdown, escalating debt, climate emergency, among others. These countries need a comprehensive rescue plan, and here South-South cooperation can be the answer, complementing North-South and triangular cooperation.

South-South cooperation has been a source of dynamic an innovative solutions, enabling developing nations to tackle both immediate and long term challenges effectively, said Mr. Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. South-South cooperation has amplified the voices of the most vulnerable, including those in LDCs, LLDCs and SIDs. It has played a critical role in sharing experiences and best practices.

“Through synergy, complementarity and partnerships, we can leverage South-South potential and each other’s strengths,” said Ms. Dima Al-Khatib, Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation. “Developing countries have emerged as leading voices in global governance, champions of new institutions and platforms, and of development action for the realization of the 2030 Agenda.”

Over 50 Member States participated in the high-level commemorative event, recognizing the urgent need to leverage South-South cooperation as a means to address the challenges the world is facing in a sustainable and equitable manner.

Member States emphasized that through leveraging South-South and triangular cooperation – as envisioned in the outcome of the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) – there is an opportunity to address both immediate and long-term needs together, supporting countries to get back on track towards achieving the SDGs. This year’s ‘Report of the Secretary-General on Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals’ reminds us that it will take exceptional efforts and commitments to deliver a “rescue plan for people and planet.” The task ahead is daunting, but still possible. Unlocking the potential of South-South cooperation offers hope for concerted action and results.

Only together can we build a world of shared prosperity, where cooperation knows no borders. Through south-south cooperation, countries of the Global South can share knowledge, skills, expertise and resources, coordinate their efforts, and benefit from economies of scale.

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General – 12 September 2023

Commemoration of the 2023 UN Day for South-South Cooperation around the world: