BOGOTA, Colombia, March 31, 2010 – Colombia has become the latest country to pledge funding to a multi-donor trust fund, administered by the World Bank Group, which provides quick, just in time funding for developing countries to share their knowledge and expertise in overcoming poverty.
The move, announced by Colombian President Uribe, came during the High-Level Event on South-South Cooperation and Capacity Development attended by more than 400 leaders and representatives of developing nations, bilateral, multilateral and civil society organizations from 131 countries, held in Bogota, Colombia.
World Bank Group Managing Director, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, welcomed Colombia’s move to contribute to the multi-donor trust fund, the South-South Experience Exchange Facility (SEETF), saying there has been high demand from developing countries for funding so they can learn firsthand from other developing countries.
Colombia joins the group of ‘new’ and traditional donors that support this fund – China, India, Mexico, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom – who have already contributed to the trust fund.
“The reality today is that we are being inundated with requests for this kind of practical assistance – for developing countries to have quick and easy access to funding so they can gain practical knowledge from other developing countries on coping with some of the challenges they’re facing,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
The Managing Director said on a broader level, the World Bank Group also stood ready to assist as a facilitator to promote greater South-South cooperation across a number of fronts.
“South-South cooperation is high on the development agenda said Sanjay Pradhan, Vice President, World Bank Institute, World Bank. The Bogota event underscored that South-South cooperation can enable developing countries to connect and support each other in meeting their development challenges. The World Bank and its partners are providing brokering and financing mechanisms to facilitate these kinds of important exchanges, he added. "
At the high level forum, representatives endorsed a statement—the Bogota Statement – confirming their commitment to promote and implement good practices from South-South Cooperation as a way of helping countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals and tackle emerging global development challenges through exchanges of resources, technology, and knowledge.
"By hosting this High-Level Event on South-South Cooperation and Capacity Development in Bogota, and participating in the South-South Experience Exchange Facility, Colombia has indicated its strong support for and its desire to play a leading role in south-south cooperation, said Carolina Renteria Rodriguez, Executive Director for Colombia, World Bank. We believe that experiences and knowledge from development programs on the ground, such as the ones we visited in Colombia with the Managing Director and her team, have to be systematically shared among developing countries. The South-South Experience Exchange Facility is an important instrument through which the World Bank Group can play this role and one that it should mainstream throughout its lending and knowledge operations in the future."
The Bogota Statement laid out the forum’s commitment to promote South-South Cooperation and make it more effective. The statement said South-South Cooperation should be led and owned by developing countries themselves; should involve all stakeholders in society and should strengthen the capacity of local institutions. The statement also called for identifying ways in which countries and regions can connect with each other and share lessons learned from their South-South experiences. At the same time, it noted that South-South Cooperation is not a substitute for, but a complement to, North-South development cooperation.
On the High Level Forum:
Hosted by the Government of Colombia, the high level forum is seen as a major milestone leading up to the IV High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to be held in Korea in 2011. The forum looked at more than 100 case studies of South-South Cooperation, representing the first-ever collection of south-south experiences of such a scale.
On the South-South Experience Exchange Facility:
Supported by Mexico, China, India, Denmark, Spain, The Netherlands, and the U.K. and now Colombia, the South-South Experience Exchange Facility is a multi donor trust fund that promotes the idea that developing countries can learn from the successes of other developing country in overcoming similar challenges.
In the past 12 months, the trust has given out 35 grants to countries for learning activities ranging from working with at risk youth in the Caribbean to outsourcing IT services in Africa.