About 70 people participated in the “Regional Seminar on Development Partnership & South-South Cooperation Towards Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The seminar was convened by the Centre for International Development and Cooperation (Kyung Hee University-Republic of Korea), the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Thailand. Participants were drawn from the United Nations, Thai Universities as well as governments from Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Thailand. The organisers were honoured by the presence of Ms. Sook-Hee Baek, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Vice-President for Africa, Middle East and Latin America Programs as well as Ms. Ji-Hyun Park, Deputy Chief of Mission and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to ESCAP.
In the opening, Prof. Hyuk-Sang Sohn, Vice-President of Kyung-Hee University noted that their Research Centre was established in 2012 and has worked on partnerships, aid effectiveness, South-South and triangular cooperation. In his remarks, Mr Jorge Chediek, Director of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation indicated that the UN Office for South-South Cooperation considers Korea an exemplary and inspirational country whose development experience as a member of the Global South and subsequently as a developed country are essential to bridge the North-South gap. In her keynote presentation, the KOICA Vice-President noted traditional that North-South cooperation is probably inadequate to meet the needs in the Sustainable Development Goals. She added that South-South and triangular cooperation models can offer unique and distinct development approaches, customized assistance and solutions relevant to specific country needs. The KOICA Vice-President also emphasized that historical dynamics, politics and culture are all essential for a dialogue among countries leading to mutually beneficial approaches.
The research work presented covered various subjects including a thorough review of different types of partnerships. These included the guardianship approaches and ownership/participatory approaches. Another research analysed four types of triangular cooperation arrangements based on Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) triangular cooperation case studies. The presenter raised questions on why some models were more popular than others and requested participants to submit more triangular cooperation cases for thorough analysis leading to better conclusions.
From the UN, the FAO representative in the Seminar shared his organisation’s experience on how project-based South-South cooperation can be less effective than expected and proposed a systems or institutional-based approach whereby the motives of participants, the environment and interrelationships between sectors are all taken into account.
During the “Roundtable” discussion, participants indicated that they had learnt a lot and recommended a follow-up Seminar, this time with some issues selected for discussion. “Sometimes we are trapped in our routines and cut and paste approach”, said one participant. Participants suggested UNOSSC should promote this UN systemwide platform for dialogue and suggested several activities during the 2020 Global South-South Development Expo to be held in Bangkok, Thailand in November.