The Regional Consultation on South-South Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific opened in Bangkok today with a strong call to scale up South-South and triangular cooperation initiatives to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Senior officials from 32 countries, and representatives of donor agencies, think tanks, civil society organizations and the private sector are gathered at the three-day Consultation 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 Government of Thailand to review South-South cooperation trends, challenges and opportunities.
Delegates will share their experiences in setting up national policy and institutional frameworks for South-South and triangular cooperation, and mainstreaming this cooperation into their national sustainable development plans. They will explore how to better share best practice of South-South and triangular cooperation to accelerate the region’s progress towards the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Opening the session, Mr. Kaveh Zahedi, ESCAP Deputy Executive Secretary, emphasized “South-South and triangular cooperation has long driven ESCAP’s technical assistance, informed our analysis and underpinned our intergovernmental work. South-South collaboration holds great promise for helping the region get back on track with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our challenge is to work with our member States and our partners to turn this promise into reality.”
Mr. Jorge Chediek, Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation and Director, UNOSSC highlighted, “The Asia-Pacific region has been at the forefront of South-South cooperation from the Bandung Conference of 1955. This important consultation reaffirms the region’s centrality as a key mover of South-South cooperation. The exceptional partnership between Thailand, ESCAP and UNOSSC, which takes a multi-stakeholder and system-wide approach, is a timely and forward-looking precedence for the future of the UN Development System.”
“Despite the enormous progress made, South-South and triangular cooperation is admittedly not without its flaws, like any other development frameworks and approaches. And that is precisely the objective of our gathering here – to identify the remaining challenges, to leverage new and existing partnerships, and to enhance the potential of such cooperation through a higher level of coordination, coherence, and complementarity,” shared H.E. Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi, Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand
The Consultation will also identify innovative ways and approaches to foster resource mobilization to further strengthen South-South cooperation in the future.
Recommendations from the Regional Consultation, in the form of a Chair’s Summary, will inform and contribute to member States’ deliberations at the second High-Level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation, known as BAPA+40 Conference, which will be held next March in Buenos Aires, Republic of Argentina.
On 29 June, the inaugural meeting of a regional forum of Director-Generals for South-South and triangular cooperation also takes place on the sidelines of the Consultation. The new ‘DG Forum’ aims to provide a platform to better coordinate channeling of technical assistance to other Southern partners in the region.
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