25 June 2021: The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) took part in a virtual meeting of the Council of Graduate Studies Administrations for Public and Autonomous Universities (CGAU) at the invitation of Professor Patcharee Lertrit, Dean of Graduate Studies, Mahidol University, in her capacity as the chair of CGAU.
At the meeting Denis Nkala, UNOSSC Regional Coordinator, delivered a presentation on South-South and triangular cooperation, stressing their central contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He also introduced UNOSSC to participants, its mission, and the role of the Regional Office. He further elaborated on existing cooperation between UNOSSC and academic institutions at national, regional, and global levels, and proposed several forms of possible partnership that UNOSSC can forge with universities in Thailand.
“The idea of South-South cooperation is to reduce the gap between the developed countries and developing countries. It is about leaving no one behind. South-South and triangular cooperation are a big part of the solution towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
CGAU was established in 1996 and is a network of 25 leading public universities in Thailand offering graduate study degrees. The Council aims to enhance academic excellence and to certify the quality of graduate studies, as well as to promote efficient and effective collaboration and coordination among public universities in the country. It has also been a successful platform for establishing academic networks and partnership with non-academic sectors.
Prior to the meeting, the UNOSSC Regional Office for Asia and Pacific has been actively engaging with Mahidol University. Last year the Regional Office staff delivered lectures on South-South and triangular cooperation to the graduate students from the Department of ASEAN Studies for Sustainable Development and organised a student competition to exchange ideas on triangular cooperation. The participation of UNOSSC at the CGAU meeting was an opportunity for the Office to promote South-South and triangular cooperation and explore partnership with other universities in Thailand. At the end of the presentation, participants acknowledged UNOSSC’s outreach for collaboration and cited the constraints paused by the COVID-19 pandemic as a limiting factor for Universities to expand other activities besides the core business of instruction.
Professor Dr. Patcharee Lertrit, Dr. Aung Win Tun, Assistant Dean for International Affairs, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Mahidol University, and Denis Nkala further briefed the participants on the UN Climate Change and Universities Partnership Programme, under which UNOSSC has facilitated discussions between Mahidol University and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The programme is designed to strengthen collaboration between the UN and academic institutions, especially in the Global South, with the aim of addressing the knowledge gaps which remain a critical barrier to countries implementing adaptation measures. Mahidol University and UNOSSC Regional Office encouraged university graduate schools in Thailand to participate in this programme and build meaningful partnerships and advance resilience efforts with UN agencies and other research institutes.
Burapha University, the meeting host, presented the university’s automation park and opportunities for graduate research. Denis Nkala praised the showcased robotic technical exchange and pointed out that other countries and Universities in the Global South would love to be part of the research through South-South cooperation.