Towards Effective South-SouthCooperation: The Suriname-Cuba Relations Seminar on 40th Anniversary of Cuba-Caribbean Relations Presentation by Ruben Martoredjo UWI/IIR Sta Universidad de Habana, 5-7 December, Havana, Cuba
Outline• South South Cooperation• Understanding Cuba’s SSC• Cuba-Suriname Cooperation• Lessons Learned
Motivation:• What could be the driving force for small country with scant resources such as Cuba can offer development cooperation of a global magnitude
South South Cooperation• Origine of SSC principles: – the 32nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1977 – 138 countries met and adopted the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) by consensus, 1978• Technical Cooperation: was defined as a “conscious, systematic and politically motivated process” characterized by the following principles: • Non-interference in domestic affairs of other nations by cooperating countries, • Equality between partners, and • Respect for the local level of development
South South Cooperation(cont’d)• Basic Objectives of SSC: contribute to the wider objectives of the development of the developing countries and international development cooperation (are interdependent and mutually supportive)
Objectives of SSC:• to foster national self-reliance of developing countries• to promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among developing countries• to strengthen the capacity of developing countries( to identify and analyze the main issues of their development)• to strengthen existing technological capacities in the developing countries• to create new capacities and capabilities and to improve the capacity of developing countries
Characteristics of SSC• principal value added by South-South Cooperation is its contribution to develop and strengthen capacities between partners in a horizontal relationship where both parties benefit from sharing.• SSC constitutes an ideal vehicle that helps strengthen national ownership and leadership• the exchange of know-how, technologies and experiences is demand-driven
• capacity building and knowledge sharing are flexible and dynamic aspects that are to be adapted to the technological, social, economic and political reality and the ever increasing complexity of issues associated with development that countries face today.
Understanding Cuba’s SSC:• Cuba seems to have undertaken several remarkable cooperative ventures with other developing countries• Medical cooperation is a major issue in Cuban civilian cooperation.
Understanding Cuba’s SSC(cont’d):• Cuba has established local versions of the country’s national healthcare model known as the Comprehensive Healthcare Programme (CHP) in various countries, starting with Central American countries after the hurricane Mitch in 1997• Cuba introduced ‘Operation Miracle’ programme (established in July 2004) to facilitate surgery on people with ophthalmologic problems free of charge
Cuba-Suriname CooperationTypology of Suriname• Location: Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana, Brazil and Guyana• Area and topography :163,820 sq km mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps• Population (total) 524.143 (ABS, mid-year 2009)• Population 0-19 198.028 (ABS, 2009)• Population per sq. km 3.2• Life expectancy 69.9 years (71.9/67.7 f/m)• Climate Tropical; moderated by trade winds; two rainy seasons; and two dry seasons• Main towns Paramaribo (capital), Nieuw-Nickerie, Albina,• Main economic sectors Agriculture: 13% (rice, bananas); industry: 22% (bauxite, alumina production, gold, oil); services: 65% (2001 est.)(2008 EIU)• Major Export Partners Norway 19.5%, EU 21.3%, US 8.5%, Canada 24.5%, (2008 EIU)• Major Import Partners US 23.8%, EU 23.4%, Trinidad & Tobago 20.6%, China 7.9%• Ethnic groups:Hindustani – 27.4% (Hindustani-27.4%, Creole – 17.7%, Maroon – 14.7%, Javanese – 14.6% ,Mixed – 12.5%, Indigenous – 3.7%, Chinese – 1.8%, White – 0.8%, other – 0.5% , unknown – 6.6%)(ABS, Census 2004)• Religions:Christian – 40.7% , Hindu – 19.9%, Islam – 13.5%, Other – 10.2%,Unknown – 15.7%(ABS, Census 2004)• Languages:Dutch (official), Sranan Tongo (Surinamese), Sarnami (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese, Chinese, Portuguese, English and a number of Maroon and indigenous languages• Form of government: Constitutional democracy• Next election : 2015
Historical overview• Suriname and Cuba established diplomatic relations on March 23, 1979• peak around the early 1980s but frozen until the early 1990s. Under the government lead by H.E. President Wijdenbosch, the medical cooperation has been reassumed for a relatively short time. This initiative was not successful resulting in the suicide of the team leader of the Cuban doctor’s brigade.• the cooperation has increased after the establishment of current government and concentrated mainly in the fields of education, health and sports
• On the basis of the agreements signed, one can follow the timeline and may conclude how the relations between Cuba and Suriname have progressed. For instance the First Session of the Suriname- Cuba Joint Commission was only held in 1998, followed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the ministries of foreign Affairs of both countries in January 1999. The Second Session of the Joint Commission took place in 2006, followed by a the signing of the cooperation agreement between the ministries of health in 2007
Characteristics of Cuba-Suriname Coperations1. activities or projects involve the deliberate and voluntary sharing or exchange of resources, skills and capabilities between two developing countries for their individual or mutual development;2. is initiated, organized and managed by the 2 (two) developing countries themselves. In this case the governments of Cuba and Suriname are taking the lead or responsibility. The participation of public institutions, private organizations and individuals are also considered if necessary. For instance the Cuban Health specialists are functioning under the state and private hospitals, while the general practitioners (MDs) are performing their tasks mostly in the remote areas or hinterland under the mandate of the Medical Mission, which is a non-governmental organization who is responsible for health care in the Interior.3. the financing and project inputs such as expertise, consultancy services, research and training facilities, equipment, supplies in a SSC activity or project is provided entirely or to the largest extent possible by countries themselves.
• the cooperation between the 2 countries is based on strict observance of national sovereignty, economic independence, equal rights and non-interference in the domestic affairs of nations, irrespective of their size, level of development and social and economic systems.• to promote solidarity among both countries in their effort to achieve social and economic progress consistent with the basic principles of equality among states• SSC must encourage developing countries to make a conscious effort to break down attitudinal barriers among themselves, which, for so long, have inhibited technological, economic and social exchange of experience and knowledge
• The scope of the South-South Cooperation between Cuba and Suriname is bilateral although through the platform of regional organizations such as ALBA, CELAC and cooperation Cuba-CARICOM has also taken a regional or interregional character. It is being recognized that at the LAC regional level, the cooperation efforts undertaken within integration schemes ( MERCOSUR, UNASUR, ALBA, CAN, CARICOM, SICA, CELAC, etc.) are noteworthy.• One may argue that political considerations have been a factor in the establishment of these regional or interregional development cooperation frameworks. However, the policy adapted is sympathetic to a vision of a region with greater self-reliance and focuses on integration through a ‘socially-oriented’ trade bloc.
Challenges:• The agreement for air traffic cooperation was signed in 1983 but was never operationalized. This was also the case of the agreement for promotion and reciprocity protection of Investment dated from 1999 and which was presented to the State Council in Suriname, without any further details known to what extend it was ratified and operationalized.
Future/opportunitiesOpportunity for cooperation in the areas of:• Agriculture, forestry and fisheries• General economic and social policy and planning• International trade• Natural resources development such as oil and gold• Transport and communication• Combating Effects Climate Change, Emergency Response and Resilience Building
Constraints:• absence of direct transport connection between the two countries(direct sea and airfreight possibilities should be explored)• private companies exporting agriculture products and transporters (freightliners) risking to be blacklisted and endure re- precaution given the blockade
Lessons Learned• Projects have simple but well spelt out objectives and goals that were easy to understand and highly demand driven with a very strong leadership and political support and goodwill from the very beginning i.e. at their inception.• The focus on health and education has a strong humanitarian impact• The health sector cooperation enjoyed massive economies of scale• Both the assisting country and the recipient countries stood to gain• Significant multiplier effects