orth-South cooperation is essential if humankind is to rise to the great challenge of fulfilling the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ensuring everyone a dignified life. But such cooperation must be different from that of past decades and treat developing countries as genuine partners, giving them responsibility and ownership of their own development.
Many donor countries have adopted this approach, adjusting aid programmes to the development strategies of recipients, rather than to their own priorities. Increasingly, well-run recipient countries can get aid as general budget support, enabling them to direct it where they see fit. But in countries that have weak democratic systems and histories of violating human rights, external support is often best channelled into civil society to push for change and minimize corruption. Whichever, optimizing North-South development cooperation requires donor coordination and partnerships to avoid conflicts of interest and minimize the administrative burdens placed on recipient countries. This has already been done across the European Union.
Trade is critical in establishing equitable North-South cooperation. Enabling developing countries to participate fully in global markets strengthens their economies and aids progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. Developed countries - which control many of the world's trade rules and regulations - must create fair trading environments, particularly by reforming the European agricultural support system.
Young people can play an important role in fostering North-South cooperation, since we are able to work together towards common goals independent of economic interests. This offers hope that we can overcome past difficulties in North-South cooperation and strive for a more balanced, sustainable world.
Lars Rosendahl Appelquist is the Tunza Youth Advisor for Denmark.
e young people are ultimately responsible for the environment: it is our job to tackle the problems facing our world. The rapid industrialization recently experienced by many developing countries has led to increased economic prosperity, but has created more environmental problems than ever before. Striking a balance between economic development and environmental protection is a difficult challenge for us. It requires increased understanding and cultural exchanges between developed and developing countries.
As global citizens and future leaders, we need to foster North-South cooperation in resource sharing. The digital divide and the scarcity of information and clean technologies cause many environmental problems in developing countries. We must take into consideration economic indicators like GDP growth (often used to measure the success and effectiveness of governments and their policies), as well as environmental concerns like threats to biodiversity, competition for natural resources and harmful emissions from 'dirty' energy sources like coal and crude oil.
There are many ways to get involved in sustainable development, from participating in projects like the Youth Exchange Programme - where socially minded young people from the North and South form networks to promote social awareness and collaborations - to building online databases to share environmental information efficiently. We can also tap into the resources of non-governmental organizations to establish educational programmes and other initiatives - addressing issues like environmental awareness, sustainable consumption and growth, and the significance of volunteering and information sharing.
We youth will bear the consequences of the present treatment of the environment. So partnerships and our efforts can make a difference and find the way forward to a sustainable future.
Sixuan Li is the Tunza Youth Advisor for China.
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