SAN JOSE, 12 June 2013 – High-level representatives from some 70 countries gathered in Costa Rica today to discuss what should be at the heart of the development agenda for middle-income countries (MICs) after the current development goals expire in 2015.
The conference, titled “Challenges for sustainable development and international cooperation in middle-income countries: the role of networks for prosperity”, is hosted by the Government of Costa Rica and is co-organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
In her opening speech, Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica, said: “A significant portion of Costa Rica's social capital, which it accumulated over generations and above all during the last six decades, is the result of developing social cooperation networks, where public, private and social initiatives constantly evolve to work through common challenges and open up paths to collective development. The time has come to turn connectivity into a national and international priority and use it as an instrument to bring prosperity to our people.”
Participants at the three–day event are expected to agree on a joint declaration to promote international and national measures and cooperation to advance inclusive and equitable economic growth and prosperity, industrialization in the framework of sustainable development, and finance and investment opportunities in middle-income countries.
While middle-income countries are the fastest growing group of countries, they also host 70 per cent of the world’s poorest people. The great divergences between and within MICs need to be taken into account by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set after 2015, according to conference organizers.
“Two years ago in Busan, we witnessed the genesis of a new conception of international development beyond North-South aid flows,” said Taizo Nishikawa, Deputy to the UNIDO Director General.
“The coming years will be an exciting time for catalyzing the benefits of knowledge and technology transfer between countries of the so-called South. Efforts are well underway to elaborate a set of new global development goals, and it is clear that middle-income countries must be closely involved in their elaboration and implementation. Middle-income countries need to find a sure trajectory towards inclusive and sustainable growth if they are to meet broader development objectives. Jobs, economic growth and green industry are chief among the concerns of many middle-income countries,” said Nishikawa.
He added that UNIDO stood ready to play a lead role in implementing the Declaration of the Costa Rica Conference, and that the Organization’s General Conference, to be hosted by the Government of Peru in December, was expected to adopt a new “Lima Declaration” in order to re-emphasize the importance of industrial development and to adapt and strengthen the mandate of UNIDO for a new era.
During today’s sessions, participants urged UNIDO to increase its efforts to help MICs adopt sustainable industrial development practices through the provision of data, data analysis and the establishment of a special financial facility. Participants are also seeking ways to ensure access to finance, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises and other industrial development actors in the context of industrial development efforts.
Enhancing market access for MICs, and urging the UN to facilitate the accession of middle-income countries that have not yet done so to the World Trade Organization, were also deemed necessary.
Today’s sessions highlighted South-South and triangular cooperation as an innovative mechanism to support the development priorities of MICs. This type of cooperation is bound to represent an important aspect of the countries’ input to the post-2015 development agenda.
Participants also proposed the establishment of a UN system coordination mechanism on cooperation with and among MICs to streamline and improve UN system-wide activities in this area.
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