Countries across Asia and the Pacific on Wednesday called for deepening cooperation among developing countries to foster sustainable development in the region.
The call came as part of a commemorative event for South-South Day held each year on 12 September. Jointly organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, today’s high-level gathering marked the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (BAPA) – a blueprint for South-South cooperation.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP highlighted that South-South and triangular cooperation must be a corner stone for collective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific.
"Asia Pacific is now the world’s largest trading region, sitting at the heart of global value chains and international investment, and at the forefront of technological innovation," said Mr. Zahedi. "Countries in the region have valuable expertise to share, with neighbours and the global south. Expertise which, deployed intelligently, could improve competitiveness, reduce inequality and make globalization fairer - more sustainable."
In his address representing the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi, Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand stressed the importance of partnership, which is the spirit of South-South and triangular cooperation.
“As we now look ahead towards the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in March next year, it is important to remind ourselves that in order to achieve sustainable development, we must face the challenges together and work together as one through sustainable partnerships.” said Mr. Isarabhakdi.
In his video message, Mr. Jorge Chediek, Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for South-South Cooperation and Director of UNOSSC highlighted that the BAPA adopted 40 years ago has provided a strong mandate to implement South-South Cooperation as a key instrument to achieve the globally agreed goals.
“The Asia-Pacific region has been a birthplace and model for South-South Cooperation,” said Mr. Chediek. “The world is grateful for the leadership of countries and organisations of the Asia-Pacific. We are confident that this region will continue to make contributions to the new global agenda with renewed commitment to South-South Cooperation.”
Ms. Deirdre Boyd, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Thailand, representing the UNOSSC Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific added that the attributes of South-South Cooperation have been clearly demonstrated by this region.
“Countries and partners acting in solidarity drive forward the idea of leaving no one behind and inspire the vision of a sustainable shared future,” said Ms. Boyd. “The United Nations system as a whole has strengthened its institutional support for South-South cooperation. UNOSSC, as the system-wide coordinator, is committed to further advocating and mainstreaming South-South and triangular cooperation in Asia and the Pacific, with its regional office in Bangkok poised to engage with more Member States and prospective partners across the region.”
In their remarks, Ambassadors and other senior representatives from countries in the region, including Bangladesh, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan and Thailand, took stock of past achievements and shared perspectives on the future, ahead of the BAPA+40 Conference.
The timely celebration follows the Regional Consultation on South-South Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific held in June this year, which called for leveraging cooperation initiatives to achieve the 2030 Agenda, and established the Asia-Pacific Forum of Directors-General for South-South and Triangular Cooperation.
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