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Message from the Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation

 With its Resolution 58/220 of 23 December 2003, the United Nations General Assembly decided to proclaim December 19 as the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation. This initiative consecrates an orientation whose importance appears to be ever more vital for the fulfillment of the United Nations’ objectives, and especially those of UNESCO.

The contribution of South-South Cooperation in the fields of education, science, culture and communication needs no longer to be proven. Thanks particularly to a sharing of research as well as training, thanks also to the setting up of a network of institutions, South-South cooperation bears immense hopes as well as the possibility to see come to the fore, in countries of the south, an important number of educators, scientists, creators and professionals, all qualified and inventive, able to answer the needs and meet the expectations of the concerned populations.

Besides, South-South cooperation offers, by a multiplication and deepening of exchanges, real opportunities to promote dialogue between peoples, which is a factor of development and peace. Adding to other types of cooperation—North-South and South-North— South-South cooperation increases solidarity and upholds the respect of the equal dignity of partners.

Today promotion and use of South-South cooperation modalities are at the core of all UNESCO programmes, but the theme specifically chosen for the World Day this year, that of diversity and creativity, is particularly dear to UNESCO, which just adopted the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, thus completing a great legislative toolkit in favor of cultural diversity. Recognizing more than ever to creativity as a factor of development and of expression of individual freedom, UNESCO also promotes partnerships associating the private sector, the public sector and civil society, often in a South-South framework, so as to strengthen the capacities of creators and professionals of cultural goods and services.

This type of cooperation is particularly efficient when it also benefits from a mutual collaboration between the different United Nations agencies, instigating precious synergies between complementary competencies. This is why I would like to underline here its necessity.

On this day for South-South cooperation, I would like to invite in the name of UNESCO all those who, throughout the world, work in the fields of education, science, culture and communication, to reaffirm their commitment to build a peaceful and fair world thanks to cooperation in solidarity, and to concretize this commitment by the setting up of activities suitable for sustainable and shared development. I hope that South-South cooperation will help increase awareness of the need to create together a world respectful of its diversity and conscious of its unity.

Koichiro Matsuura

Publication Date 11 Jan 2006