Over the past decades, South-South cooperation (SSC) has gained increased importance in accelerating sustainable development in Asia-Pacific and has evolved as a key modality for member States to address transboundary issues such as responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, trade and transport connectivity, as well as issues of common concern, including poverty and inequalities, environment and ecosystem management and disaster risk reduction. Countries in the region have achieved significant socioeconomic development and technological progress. With countries in the South increasingly championing home-grown solutions, many are now in a position to provide technical assistance and development finance and share innovative approaches to support other countries to attain inclusive and sustainable development.
At the Second High-Level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40), held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2019, more than 160 member States renewed their commitment to South-South cooperation as a means to achieve sustainable development. The importance of South-South and triangular cooperation (SS&TrC) was most recently reiterated through General Assembly resolution 76/221, which calls upon UNOSSC and the regional commissions to mainstream SS&TrC, including through regional collaborative frameworks. ESCAP and UNOSSC, especially through its regional office for Asia-Pacific, have been collaborating to strengthen the role of SS&TrC for addressing shared challenges. To this end, the Asia-Pacific Directors-General Forum on South-South and Triangular Cooperation (Asia-Pacific DG Forum) was initiated in 2018 with the inaugural event co-convened with the Government of Thailand.
Looking forward, 2022 will mark a milestone in South-South cooperation in Asia-Pacific. The Government of Thailand, ESCAP and UNOSSC will jointly host the eleventh Global South-South Development Expo in Bangkok, Thailand, from 12 to 14 September 2022, in conjunction with the 2022 UN Day for South-South Cooperation and the fourth meeting of the Asia-Pacific DG Forum. These events will provide an opportunity for member States to discuss more concrete measures in the region for leveraging and enhancing the role of South-South cooperation as a key modality for sustainable recovery from the pandemic and for accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
With this background and building on the discussions of the Asia-Pacific DG Forum, two arrangement options are proposed to promote the exchange of experiences and best practices among member States and to foster new ideas, namely, through (a) the establishment of a South-South Network of Technical Cooperation Providers and (b) the creation of working groups on South-South cooperation to strengthen the functions of the Asia-Pacific DG Forum.
A preparatory roundtable meeting for the 4th Asia-Pacific DG Forum will be held on 24 March 2022 as an associated event to the 9th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD), to discuss the two proposed mechanisms and the preparations for this year’s Asia-Pacific DG Forum.