December 14, 2011. Rome, Italy. FAO Director-General Elect José Graziano da Silva said, at the closing ceremony of the Global South-South Development Expo, hosted by the Organization, that his aim is to arrive “at a situation in which South-South Cooperation becomes regarded as an entirely normal aspect of FAO’s technical cooperation and policy advisory work”.
“Giving emphasis to South-South Cooperation does not mean that we will turn our back on North-South Cooperation. Far from it! Making progress on the fight against hunger demands the fullest possible sharing of knowledge and experience between all nations. We are talking about a fundamental challenge affecting all of humanity and I see it as a collective responsibility of all nations – South and North,” said the Director-General Elect last Friday (9) in Rome.
Graziano da Silva underlined some principles that, in his opinion, should guide South-South Cooperation: each country has something to learn from another; the basis for expanded South-South Cooperation must be a genuine sense of solidarity and sharing between countries and individuals; it must usually be demand-driven; there must be flexibility in the ways in which South-South Cooperation is conducted; and, lastly, it needs to be managed in ways that maximize the use of scarce resources.
Graziano da Silva added that FAO’s comparative advantage in South-South cooperation includes its long experience in technical cooperation, its network of country-level representations throughout the developing world as well as the capacity to serve as an intermediary in negotiating tripartite agreements between its member governments.
The Director-General Elect also proposed two inter-related steps to be discussed with FAO’s South-South Cooperation partners. First, ask FAO’s Technical Cooperation Department to prepare guidelines on a new approach for the management of South-South Cooperation activities in the Organization, in line with the principles that he outlined and learning from the valuable experiences shared at the Expo. Second, arrange for informal and operational meetings between all major current South-South Cooperation donors and their partner countries to explore new ways of strengthening and improving South-South Cooperation activities in FAO, taking into account their views on how each partnership can be made more effective.