India, Brazil and South Africa have called upon the global North to honour its Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments fully, scale up existing resources and commit additional resources to provide the necessary means to implement Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the grouping IBSA, it was reiterated that the balanced emphasis on the social, economic, and environmental pillars of sustainable development.

“IBSA recognizes, inter-alia, capacity building, skills and technology transfer, food security and industrialisation as key to sustainable development,” a joint statement issued by the foreign ministers of IBSA said. The grouping brings together India, Brazil and South Africa – three large democracies and major developing economies from three continents.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, Lindiwe Sisulu and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Marcos Bezerra Abbott Galvão, agreed that IBSA is bound together by a shared conviction in the universal values of democracy, plurality, diversity, human rights, rule of law and commitment to sustainable development, inclusivity of all communities and gender, and respect for international law.

The Ministers exchanged views on Development Cooperation and South-South Cooperation. On this occasion, they adopted and jointly released the IBSA Declaration on South-South Cooperation, to contribute to greater understanding of development cooperation as a common endeavor of the Global South.

“IBSA recalls all efforts over the decades to bring about greater solidarity among South-South countries, including the Bandung Conference 1955, NAM 1961, UNCTAD, G-77 grouping, BAPA 1978, Nairobi Declaration 2009,” the declaration said.

“IBSA has, over the years, emerged as a grouping supporting welfare and developmental concerns for the Global South, which have been pursued in the spirit of access, equity and inclusion,” it said.

Recalling the commitments and the means of implementation for the development agenda, IBSA statement stressed upon the centrality of the SDGs and the Rio principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) and respective capabilities.

“With a cumulative contribution of $35mn, IBSA Fund has thus far partnered 19 countries from the Global South for implementing 26 projects over the last decade. 62.4 percent of the IBSA Fund has been devoted to Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The IBSA Fund has been recognised for its good work, including through the United Nations South-South Partnership Award 2006; the UN MDG Award 2010 and the South-South and Triangular Cooperation Champions Award 2012,” the statement noted.

Referring to principles and basis for South-South Cooperation, the statement underscored SSC as a common endeavour of peoples and countries of the South. It outlined IBSA partnership based amongst equals which is guided by principles of respect for national sovereignty; national ownership and independence; equality; non-conditionality; non-interference in domestic affairs; and mutual benefit.

The Brasilia Declaration of 2010 states that SSC is not aid and developing countries engaged in SSC are not donors and recipients but developing partners, the declaration noted.

“IBSA notes the shared histories, understanding and beliefs and developmental experiences, and consequently adheres to the principles of SSC which have been incorporated in IBSA funded projects. Solidarity and the spirit of sharing are the primary motivations for SSC. IBSA recognises that SSC is voluntary in nature and not obligatory like ODA is,” the statement said.

Noting that respect for national sovereignty is at the core of SSC. It said that SSC is about interdependences and not ‘new dependencies’. The partner countries themselves initiate, organise and manage SSC activities. IBSA believes that the primary responsibility towards development rests with the States themselves under their ownership and leadership.

“The aim of SSC is to create higher levels of capability and economic opportunity for both the partners. Capacity building and technology transfer continues to drive SSC in the spirit of solidarity among partner countries. South-South Cooperation serves as a complement to and not as a substitute for North-South cooperation, in supporting the acceleration of the development agenda,” the statement said.

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