Save the date: side event “Shaping the Future of Regional South-South Cooperation: Sharing the ASEAN Experiences and Nurturing Synergies across Regions” at Buenos Aires, Argentina, 19 March 2019




As the international community prepares for the Second High-Level UN Conference on
South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40 Conference) that will take place on  20-22 March 2019 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Member States have called for an enhanced role of  regional and sub-regional organisations in South-South cooperation (SSC). This important element is also reflected in the draft outcome document of the BAPA+40 Conference. The foundations and practice in these regional institutions are based on SSC.

In the lead-up to the BAPA+40 Conference, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), and the Government of Thailand organized a Regional Consultation on South-South Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific, which, among others, reiterated the enhanced role of regional and sub-regional organisations in South-South cooperation.

Among the success stories of regionalisation, ASEAN has played a central role in shaping regional cooperation and integration through the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and ASEAN Economic Community (2015). SSC continues to play a pivotal role in the achievement of this vision, providing regional platforms for cooperation among ASEAN members, and between ASEAN and other governments.

Against this backdrop, the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC-Asia-Pacific), Thailand and the ASEAN Secretariat compiled a joint publication, “Mapping South-South Cooperation in ASEAN”, showcasing SSC initiatives and arrangements in ASEAN Member States designed to attain sustainable development within the context of regional integration, trade and investment, capacity-building, sustainability and resilience. The publication was launched in September 2018. It reaffirmed the commonly held view that South-South and regional cooperation are almost synonymous in cases of developing country cooperation. The elements underpinning the cooperation within ASEAN are based on the South-South cooperation principles of solidarity, equality and flexibility.

Over the years, the ASEAN Member States have accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience through regional integration and community-building processes. The publication thus recommends that these lessons learnt be shared with other regional organisations and the world at the BAPA+40 Conference. Such sharing will leverage ASEAN leadership in regional cooperation which could benefit other regions. There were instances identified in the document where ASEAN could benefit from collaboration with other regions. An example was drought mitigation.

A recently released study by The Asia Foundation entitled, “ASEAN as architect of regional development cooperation,” argues that ASEAN has the scope and mandate to set the terms and standards of international development cooperation. Based on the principles of ASEAN centrality, the regional organisation has become the predominant platform for international engagement in the region, particularly on political-security issues. Furthermore, the Joint Report by ASEAN and ESCAP on the Complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development unlocks the potential of regional groupings in achieving the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and for the SDGs to contribute to regional integration and development.

The event on “Shaping the Future of Regional South-South Cooperation:  Sharing the ASEAN Experiences and Nurturing Synergies across Regions” aims to discuss and debate the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly competitive development cooperation environment and how regional organizations can support development cooperation that maximizes the benefits through public goods. The first Panel will focus on sharing the best lessons from and reflection on ASEAN experience, while the second Panel will discuss development leadership by other regional organisations and analyse synergies that could be built in working together and sharing information on managing and practicing SSC.


Proposed Activity

The BAPA+40 Conference provides a timely opportunity to “bring the world to ASEAN and bring ASEAN to the World”.  The first panel will share ASEAN’s coordination and development experiences in the context of regional South-South cooperation. The second panel will focus on interregional knowledge sharing and dialogue through contributions by other regional organisations and associations.



Provisional Agenda/Structure of the side event (15:00-18:00 hours)

15:00-15.15 hrs High-Level Opening


1.     Remarks by Mr. Jorge Chediek, Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and Envoy of the Secretary General on South-South Cooperation;

2.     Remarks by H.E. Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (TBC);

3.     Remarks by Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP (VDO Message)


15:15-16:05 hrs Session 1 : ASEAN’s Role as the Catalyst of South-South Cooperation in Southeast Asia: Sharing the ASEAN Experience


Moderator: Ms. Anthea Mulakala, Director for International Development Cooperation, The Asia Foundation

1.     H.E. Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi, Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand  (as current Chair of ASEAN);

2.     Mr. Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy Director-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam (as incoming Chair of ASEAN);

3.     Ms. Tiziana Bonapace, Director, Information and Communication Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division, ESCAP;

4.     Mr. Nguyen Ky Anh, Director of Sustainable Development Directorate, ASEAN Secretariat;


16:05-16:15 hrs

 Launch of Regional South-South Cooperation Publications:


1. Mapping South-South Cooperation in ASEAN;
2. South-South and Triangular in Action: the Pacific Islands Development Forum


16:15-17:50 hrs

Session 2 : Regionalisation and South-South Cooperation: Sharing best practices and nurturing synergies across regions


Moderator:  Dr. Carlos Correa, the Executive Director of the South Centre

1.     Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu – United Nations High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States and Undersecretary General of UN-OHRLLS;

2.     H.E. Ambassador Javier Paulinich Velarde, Permanent Secretary, the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA);

3.     Mr. François Martel, Secretary General, Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF);

4.     Mr. Henrique Alberto BANZE, Assistant Secretary-General for Macro-Economics, Development Finance and Intra-ACP Programming (MDFIP), African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP);

5.     Mr. S M Nazmul Hasan, Director of the Secretariat, The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral and Technical Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC);

6.     Mr. Adnene Ben Haj Aissa, Executive Directzor, Partners in Population and Development (PPD);

7.     Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, Economist and Former Vice President of Costa Rica, Former UNDP Associate Administrator, Ibero-American (SEGIB) Secretary-General (TBC).


17:50-18:00 hrs  Concluding Session



  1. Support the strengthening regional cooperation as called for in the draft Outcome document, build on work undertaken by UNESCAP, UNOSSC and the Asia Foundation to share ASEAN’s regional coordination and development experience;
  2. Promote interregional knowledge sharing through contributions by other regional organisations and associations;
  3. Identify opportunities for inter-regional technical exchanges.