The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and UNDP, in partnership with Middle East and North Africa Public Administration Research Think Tank Network (MENAPAR TTN) successfully concluded the three-day Virtual Arab Regional Workshop on “Investing in the SDGs through South-South and Triangular Cooperation beyond COVID-19”, held from 30 November – 2 December 2020. The workshop was organized by under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The three-day workshop hosted 33 speakers representing diverse stakeholder groups from close to 18 countries from the Arab region and beyond.
The speakers shared valuable perspectives on the promotion of South-South investment in the Arab region highlighting the critical need to aspire to a broader goal for the region’s long-term economic growth and achieving the SDGs.
“The current effects of the pandemic are apparent; however, the launch of this remote workshop also proves how cooperative efforts and innovations can help us through the challenges in a time when barriers exist” said H.E. Abdulla bin Faisal bin Jabur Al Doseri, Assistant Foreign Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain in the opening session.
Mr. Adel Abdellatif, Director a.i. of UNOSSC highlighted that the workshop aims to identify challenges and good practices in policy and legal areas to facilitate better South-South investment for sustainable development while scoping the impacts of COVID-19. He shared that the discussions and outcome of the event will feed into the formulation of a research agenda that aims to inform better policymaking to promote and strengthen investment policies.
Mr. Khaled Abdel Shafi, Deputy Director a.i, Regional Bureau for Arab States, UNDP, remarked on the largely untapped potential for South-South cooperation in the Arab region, and that it remains one of the world’s least globally and regionally integrated region. South-South and regional cooperation is key for region’s long-term economic development growth and for the achievements of SDGs, especially for the middle income and least developed countries as well as fragile countries.
Day 1: South-South investments for SDGs: Global, Regional and Country level Trends, Experiences and Perspectives, 30 November 2020.
Speakers shared country, regional and global perspectives and insights on the contribution of South-South investment in the implementation of the SDGs and national priorities in the Arab region, in addition to identifying regional integration efforts highlighting various models and regional cooperation mechanisms. The session discussed main obstacles and opportunities for increased flows of investment between developing countries, taking into account the impact of COVID-19 in the areas of trade and investment. Country experiences from Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon on policy and legal issues, management of diverse resource flows, and present future needs and priorities for South-South investment were shared.
Click the video to watch the recording
Day 2: South-South Investment – Public-Private Partnerships & Perspectives
Topics including incentives and challenges of South-South investments along with risk management in the context of conflict and political instability, climate change, and inequality were discussed. Insights, tools and capacities required to contribute to achieving the SDGs and to identify SDG investment opportunities in Low-income and Least Developed Countries were discussed, taking into account the impact of COVID-19 on PPPs.
Day 3: Digital Economy and its Contribution to South-South Investments, 2 December 2020
The discussion looked at opportunities and challenges associated with the digital economy, and the importance of embedding digital development into investment policies and strategies to ensure stronger South-South investments in the region, and provide new avenues for accessing overseas markets. The session also examined the digital divide between countries in the region and provided perspectives on regional initiatives. Good practices and challenges were shared in light of COVID-19.
More details about the event and speakers are available here.
The event discussions will lead to the development of a comprehensive research paper on “SSC Trade, Investment and Regional Integration”. This will compile inputs from previous similar South-South investment workshops held jointly by UNOSSC and UNDP in Africa, Asia, Europe and CIS and Latin America. This paper will be available on the South-South Global Thinkers platform.