Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ursula Mueller – Statement at United Nations Second High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40), 22 March 2019

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 22 Mar 2019

Buenos Aires, 22 March 2019

As delivered

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, distinguished delegates,

It is a pleasure to be here as the Assistant Secretary-General of the UN for Humanitarian Affairs at the Second High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation. I want to thank the Government of Argentina for being such a gracious host.

As you all know, this landmark event marks the 40th anniversary of the UN Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries, held here in Buenos Aires.

A lot has changed in 40 years. We have seen walls come down, others built up. The world is more connected than before, but we also see many divisions. To quote the UN Secretary-General: “Our global challenges are more integrated, and our responses are more fragmented.”

In this context, it is more important than ever that we come together to find joint solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems, such as climate change, protracted conflict, mass displacement and rising food insecurity.

Today, 139 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection.

Conflicts are causing hunger levels to rise, undoing years of progress.

Violence, persecution and conflicts have forced 68 million people from their homes, while natural disasters and climate change are displacing a further 20 to 25 million each year.

In short, the humanitarian community – indeed the world – is facing significant challenges. And South-South cooperation can and does play a crucial role in solving them.

Southern partners are increasingly supporting the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, enabling quick and effective action in sudden-onset crises and underfunded emergencies.

Over the past two decades, we have seen regional and national disaster management capacity build in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Experts from across the Global South are leading disaster management, and search and rescue operations as part of the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination system, and the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group, or INSARAG.

And as strong leaders in development cooperation, many Southern governments are spearheading a new way of working, by building bridges between humanitarian, development and peace efforts.

At this conference, we have an exciting opportunity to reflect on just how far we have come in 40 years, and where to put our energies as we chart our course for the future. South-South cooperation will continue to play a crucial role as we move forward. I urge all of us here to make the very most out of it.

Thank you, Mr. President.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit