UNDP: New South nations to bring change

By Zhou Wa (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-01-11 08:00
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UNDP: New South nations to bring change

BEIJING - The New South countries will play an important role in dealing with global problems, which the old North-South aid model can no longer solve, such as climate change, said a UN official, defining the New South as developing nations.

"The New South is much more what I'd call a handshake - not hand out. It's built on a partnership, rather on a donor-receiver relationship," said Ajay Chhibber, assistant secretary-general of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Noting that the North-South aid development model was built around top-down conditionality while South-South cooperation was built against the background of anti-colonialism, he said the New South focuses far more on the future.

"Those that have developed the fastest - like China - are those able to take ownership of their development challenges and find solutions internally, or borrow ideas from elsewhere but with suitable adaptations to local conditions," Chhibber told China Daily after arriving in Beijing for the 2011 Global Urban Development Forum.

In attaching importance to the New South countries, Chhibber pointed out that it is in the interest of the developed countries, or what he called as the "Old North", to support rather than compete against the emerging countries.

"A dynamic New South will enhance global prosperity and benefit the North as well", said Chhibber, citing the New South countries recovering faster from the global financial crisis as an example.

In the shifting approach from the old North-South aid model to the New South model, Chhibbers sees China as a forerunner with the "position as a model or to lead the transformation".

"China has always seen its foreign aid, trade and investment as something of mutual benefit, rather than of a donor-recipient nature. This was again exemplified in China's active role in the Cancun negotiations."

Chhibbers praised "China's constructive role in brokering the Cancun agreement", and sees the Cancun summit as "a surprising, and mostly unexpected success".

"Cancun has started restoring confidence in the UN-led multilateral process and in the framework convention on climate change," said Chhibber.

But he stopped short of predicting the outcome of the next round of talks on climate change, which will be held in Durban, South Africa, later this year.

"I don't think we can expect whole comprehensive agreement at Durban, but we can make some progress on some issues."

Yu Yang contributed to this story.

China Daily

(China Daily 01/11/2011 page11)