14 July 2022, New York – The Co-chairs of the Group of Friends of Voluntary National Reviews (The Kingdom of Morocco and The Republic of the Philippines) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) co-organized a side event titled “South-South and triangular cooperation to support SDGs implementation: from the lens of Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs)” on the sidelines of the 2022 ECOSOC High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) for Sustainable Development. The event aimed to reflect on the importance of leveraging South-South and triangular cooperation to accelerate results across all SDGs, where relevant; to discuss their needs, challenges, and good practices related to integrating South-South and triangular cooperation perspectives in VNRs, and in the implementation and monitoring of SDG 17 on partnerships for the Goals.
The event also intended to further explore a road map to strengthen the integration of South-South and triangular cooperation in VNRs, including UN Development System support to the Member States. The event brought together the Member States, UN entities, development partners, researchers, and policymakers.
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A renewed global solidarity and partnership are needed as the world is accelerating efforts toward achieving the SDGs, said Ms. Xiaojun Grace Wang, Deputy Director of UNOSSC, in her opening remarks as moderator of the session. There has been a strong momentum and recognition of the contribution to SDGs through leveraging South-South and triangular cooperation as an important complement to ODA assistance. Reflecting this in the VNRs will allow us to better share experiences, review progress, reflect on the South-South and triangular contribution and mobilize more of such partnerships to deliver the SDGs together.
”South-South Cooperation is crucial to accelerate the shift from a tilted global power balance, clearly illustrated by the unequal access to COVID-19 vaccines knowledge asymmetry and the participation deficit of southern voices towards more equitable and fair engagement on global issues, said H.E. Ms. Rosemarie G. Edillon.
Her Excellency Ms. Rosemarie G. Edillon, Undersecretary of the National Economic and Development Authority of the Philippines highlighted that South-South and triangular cooperation has demonstrated its relevance for developing countries during COVID-19, where countries obtained medical supplies and vaccines from the Southern partners. It has also played an important role in addressing climate action as developed countries were urged to deliver on their commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement while also providing necessary support to developing countries to deliver as well.
”The integration of South-South and triangular cooperation perspectives in VNRs can help to track progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda, including the SDG targets more comprehensively and inclusively, and generates evidence of South-South and triangular cooperation contribution to achieving SDGs, said H.E. Mr. Omar Hilale.
H.E. Mr. Omar Hilale, Permanent Representative of Morocco to the United Nations, highlighted that within the framework of the Group of Friends, and building on the experience of VNRs presentations of the past years, a very useful reflection took place jointly with UNOSSC, on how to further strengthen the presence and the integration of South-South and triangular cooperation as two key modalities of collaboration for accelerating the SDG implementation.
H.E. Mr. Omar Hilale further reiterated his interest to continue working with UNOSSC on this initiative with the current and future VNRs. He also highlighted that work is in progress to jointly present a draft road map to support the Member States in advancing the integration of South-South and triangular cooperation perspectives in VNRs, which will be implemented in a coordinated manner, working closely with the Member States, UNDESA, UNOSSC, and other relevant stakeholders. In his national capacity, he concluded by highlighting Morocco’s commitment to South-South cooperation as one of the main pillars of its foreign policy.
”Development challenges are interconnected and actions to address them require dialogue and coordination. United Nations is the organization for political and programmatic coordination that will allow us to advance the implementation of the 2030 agenda, said H.E. María del Carmen Squeff.
H.E. Ms. María del Carmen Squeff, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations and President of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, reaffirmed Argentina’s commitment to work with the international community in the implementation of ambitious and concrete action for greater and better international cooperation to lay the pillars of the resilient and equitable recovery.
Country presentations were made by Honduras and Germany, focusing on case studies of South-South and Triangular cooperation in support of SDGs through the lens of VNRs. Ambassador Ramsés Radhamés Lagos, Deputy Permanent Representative of Honduras to the United Nations, reiterated Honduras’ commitment to BAPA+40 Outcome Document. He further highlighted that in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, South-South and triangular cooperation has been able to produce interesting responses, generating ties and bridges between local government and central government of different countries and cultures, with a common purpose of contributing to the construction of a better world, hand-in-hand with cooperation and solidarity. He also highlighted various South-South and triangular cooperation initiatives that the Government of Honduras is working on.
Mr. Ulrich Müller, Senior Adviser, German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), also highlighted how Germany has included triangular cooperation as an essential component of its development work, leveraging engagement from multiple stakeholders towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
Resident Coordinators from India and Uganda presented good practices and lessons learned on how the United Nations Development System is supporting the integration of South-South and triangular cooperation in VNRs at the country level; as well as examples of integrating South-South and triangular cooperation in UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks (UNSDCF) at the country level.
Mr. Shombi Sharp, UN Resident Coordinator in India, highlighted India’s role and contributions in championing South-South cooperation. These, among others, included reaching out to around 150 countries during the COVID-19 pandemic for the supply of medicines, and medical equipment including donations of vaccines through the COVAX Facility. India further provided 50,000 metric tons of wheat to Afghanistan, facilitated through the World Food Program. It has also launched a Technical and Economic Cooperation program supporting SIDS across 160 different countries with more than 300 concessional lines of credit for developing countries.
While sharing experiences from Uganda, Ms. Susan Ngongi Namondo, UNRC in Uganda, emphasized that to fully exploit the potential of South-South cooperation as an endeavor of sustainable development, the modality could be better anchored within a country’s national development policies and institutions. She underscored the need for a more robust and formalized South-South and triangular cooperation mechanism at the national and other levels of government. Capacities need to be built within the overall development coordination structures, within lead ministries, and local government, she said, which often have the responsibility to help make development progress a reality at the decentralized level.
Concluding the session, Mr. Friedrich Soltau, Senior Sustainable Development Officer from UNDESA highlighted possible entry points and a roadmap to support the integration of South-South and triangular cooperation in VNRs toward enhancing review and tracking progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda.
The event was closed with a vote of thanks.
For more information please contact: Mr. Bhushan Shrestha at email@example.com