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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

25 November 2020

Opening remarks

 

Excellency Mr. Chutintorn Gonsakdi, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Royal Thai Government,

Excellency Mr. Teuku Faizasyah, Director-General for Information and Public Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia,

Mr. Adel Abdellatif, Director, a.i. United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC),

Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to welcome all of you to the Third Asia-Pacific Forum on South-South and Triangular Cooperation.  We are delighted to co-organize this Forum jointly with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the Government of Indonesia and the Royal Thai Government.  

Today, we meet as the region continues to cope with the unprecedented socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on people’s lives and livelihoods.  

Despite these uniquely turbulent times, member States have been at the fore front in designing, formulating and implementing a post-COVID-19 recovery strategy by leveraging regional social and economic cooperation.

It is worth noting that over the past seven decades, ESCAP has been providing regional platform in facilitating the South-South and triangular cooperation among its 62 member States and Associate Members to address development challenges and opportunities. The Forum provides an important opportunity to foster development cooperation across member States and all stakeholders. 

Member States in the Asia-Pacific region have always been playing a catalytic role in advancing the spirit of cooperation within and across regions. For example, with first Asia-African conference in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955— to promote economic and cultural cooperation among developing countries—our region championed a new model of development cooperation and partnerships and bolstered untapped opportunities.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

Historically, the South-South and triangular cooperation has helped shape our technical assistance programmes; informed our research and analysis; and underpinned our intergovernmental and consensus building work.

Through our regional platform, member States came together to strengthen regional cooperation, including creation of regional development and financial institutions and other regional public goods such as agreements, norms and standards. 

As we work towards raising our ambitions, we must build on these development successes and good experiences in our region.  The South-South and triangular cooperation should continue to be our vehicle in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

The existence of diverse group of development cooperation participants in our region must be seen a great advantage to foster partnerships and collaboration further.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

As we embark on the Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs, we must accelerate our efforts to bring member States and all stakeholders through our common agenda. 

Importantly, the COVID-19 pandemic provides us with a unique opportunity to focus our attention and energy towards building back better, keeping the South-South Cooperation and triangular cooperation at the centre of our partnership.

Allow me to highlight three policy areas for your further consideration and deliberations:

 

First, let us invest in providing greater access to information on innovations to achieve the SDGs as time has now come to further strengthen documentation of good practices on SDGs policies and approaches at all levels.

There is now a good opportunity to ensure effective use of existing databanks such as UNOSSC Galaxy and the regional SDG Gateway. 

Second, let us to increase exchanges of best practices, knowledge and experiences. By strengthening these exchanges, policymakers can learn from experiences of their peers and explore collaboration.

Technical cooperation programmes and projects are key elements in promoting knowledge.

Third, we must ensure improvements in matching and aligning resources with their needs. There is a growing opportunity to develop regional and subregional mechanisms that strengthen the information-sharing across users of South-South cooperation to match their needs with resources and expertise of providers.

Through this platform, we hope to further enhance the collaborative spirit for exchanging experiences and discussing policies and approaches at all levels. 

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

I am sure that your recommendations and insights will shape the preparation of the Global South-South Development Expo 2021, which will coincide with the Fourth DG Forum on South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

ESCAP, along with the UN system, will continue to strengthen solidarity, and facilitate the regional and subregional processes and partnerships within the broader context of the post-COVID-19 era and sustainable recovery.

Together, let us leverage South-South and triangular cooperation for the implementation of the SDGs in our region.

I wish you fruitful discussions and deliberations. Thank you very much.

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