On 24 March 2021, more than 60 participants took part in a virtual SDG 17 Global Partnerships Roundtable on South-South and Triangular Cooperation that was jointly organized by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC)’s Regional office in Asia and the Pacific, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and UN Women, as a part of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development 2021. The participants consisted of representatives from the government, civil society organizations, private sector and academia.
Mr. Denis Nkala, UNOSSC Regional Coordinator for Asia-Pacific, moderated the panel discussion. Ms. Gemma Van Halderen, Director of Statistics Division in ESCAP presented on the progress made towards achieving the indicators of Goal 17, highlighting that if the Asia-Pacific Region continues with “business as usual”, it will not achieve any targets for SDG 17 by 2030.
A panel discussion followed with speakers from the government, civil society organizations, private sector and academia delivered their views on the presentation and shared their perspectives on how to achieve targets for SDG 17. The speakers were (1) Ms. Lilybeth R. Deapera, Chair-Alternate, Technical Cooperation Council of the Philippines (TCCP); (2) Mr. Ali Jilani, Vice Chair of the Karachi Research Chair (KRC); (3) Mr. Darwin Djajawinata, Director for Operations and Finance (CFO), PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (Persero), Indonesia; and (4) Prof. Huadong Guo, Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth.
Participants then discussed the proposed policy recommendations under SDG 17 in four break-out rooms: (1) Partnerships and International Cooperation-facilitated by UNOSSC; (2) Data, Monitoring and Accountability-facilitated by ESCAP Statistics Division; (3) Financing for Development-facilitated by ESCAP Macroeconomic Policy and Financing for Development Division; and (4) Trade and Innovation-facilitated by ESCAP Trade, Investment and Innovation Division.
In the Partnership and International Cooperation breakout room Mr. Nkala highlighted the opportunities for South-South and triangular cooperation to focus on countries and communities that are at risk of being left behind especially offering the alternative path from business as usual given COVID-19 and the growing digitalization gap, He pointed out that South-South cooperation was born from the need to bring up countries left behind; that the Asia-Pacific Region has varying typologies of countries enabling dissemination and adaptation of knowledge between countries, countries that have bridged the middle-income trap and lastly, countries that have utilized South-South knowledge to accelerate their development. Given this knowledge, he recommended that the region redouble its efforts in scaling up South-South and triangular cooperation.
While participants at the event welcomed the recommendation to scale up South-South and triangular cooperation, . they emphasized the importance of North-South Cooperation, and in particular, that the target of developed countries channeling 0.7% of GDP to development assistance is necessary to achieve the SDGs.
Back in plenary, Ms. Gemma Van Halderen, UNESCAP Director for Statistics expressed her appreciation for the event contributors. “The 2030 Agenda is our compass and voices like yours are our inspiration,” she said.