Unity statement on the formation of southern CSO alliance on south-south cooperation – Reality of Aid Network

Delegates of CSO Planning for BAPA+40 in Bali, Indonesia on October 14th officially formed the Southern CSO Alliance on South-South Cooperation.
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Whereas, South-South Cooperation, having arisen from the Global South’s search for alternatives to the paternalistic and unequal traditional North-South development aid and cooperation framework, poses opportunities and has raised high hopes for people from the South;

Whereas, emerging in the 1950s in the context of the common struggle of former colonies for genuine independence and development, 29 countries from Asia and Africa met at the Bandung Conference in 1955 to promote economic and cultural cooperation between and within the two regions on the basis of mutual interest and respect for national sovereignty. The Bandung principles also emphasized respect for human rights, equality, non-interference, and international justice as the guiding principles and binding agreement of cooperation and partnership among third world countries in the South;

Whereas, the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) strengthened the Bandung agreement with additional emphasis on national and collective self-reliance, exchange and sharing of expertise and knowledge transfer, capacity development, economic independence as the foundation for a new economic order;

Whereas, the Nairobi outcome document of the High Level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation in 2009 made a compelling affirmation of the human rights and people-oriented principles including transparency and mutual accountability, environmental sustainability, horizontality, inclusivity and participation, non conditionality, and looking at results and impact;

In fulfillment of our role as development actors in our own right, civil society organizations (CSOs) need to engage and contribute to the discourse and implementation of South-South Cooperation, to ensure that it does not replicate the flaws of traditional North-South aid and development cooperation, especially given that the 2030 Agenda requires reinvigorated cooperation of all development actors, and even more especially given that evidences gathered on practice do not live up to the above-stated principles on which it is anchored;

Pursuing the idea of creating a CSO alliance during a roundtable at the Global South-South Development (GSSD) Expo in Antalya in November 2017, wherein the UN Office on South-South Cooperation expressed its commitment to strengthen the role of CSOs/NGOs in SSC through the establishment of a CSO engagement mechanism;
 
We hereby resolve to form the Southern CSO Alliance on South–South Cooperation as an independent group that brings together CSOs working on SSC and related issues. The aim is to facilitate and strengthen CSO involvement and participation in various SSC arenas and push for the upholding of the principle of horizontal development cooperation – including solidarity, mutuality, human rights, respect for sovereignty, and non-conditionality. In line with this, we unite to call on SSC actors to:
 
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1. Adhere to international laws and standards on environment and human rights as these apply to programs and projects in partner countries consistent with Bandung;
 
2. Strengthen democratic country ownership of SSC and institutionalize support for people-to-people cooperation so that recipient countries’ own needs and priorities drive the development partnership, and that these priorities and policies are rooted in the participation of, and accountability to stakeholders and citizens; and
 
3. Establish formal mechanisms with financial resources for Southern CSO engagement on SSC where sustained dialogues between CSOs, stakeholders and duty-bearers can happen, bringing in issues and concerns of the people/affected communities on SSC.
 
We are affixing the names of our organizations below with our corresponding signatures:
 

1. Reality of Aid Network – Global
2. Reality of Aid Asia Pacific
3. Reality of Aid – Africa
4. CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness
5. IBON International
6. Peoples’ Coalition on Food Sovereignty
7. Nash Vek Foundation – Kyrgyzstan
8. Indigenous Peoples’ Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation
9. Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines
10. VIKALPANI – Sri Lanka
11. Green Movement of Sri Lanka
12. Institute for National and Democracy Studies – Indonesia
13. Instituto Politécnico Tomas Katari – Bolivia
14. Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research – Philippines
15. Center for Research Advocacy – Manipur
16. Resistance and Alternatives to Globalization – Indonesia
17. Forum of Women NGOs of Kyrgyzstan
18. ARCADE – Africa
19. MONLAR – Sri Lanka
20. Voices for Interactive Choice and Empowerment – Bangladesh
21. Borneo Dayak Forum
22. Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants

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