On 26 August 2020, the UN Office for South-South Cooperation’s Regional Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Denis Nkala delivered an online lecture on “Sustainable Development and the Role of South-South Cooperation”. Over 25 students from the Master of Arts (M.A.) ASEAN Studies for Sustainable Development Programme at Mahidol University attended the lecture. The lecture started with the story of the Bandung Conference in 1955, where the aspirations of countries from Asia and Africa were formally stated, principles of the non-aligned movement and technical cooperation among these countries were established. The students were taken through the evolution of Technical cooperation among developing countries to economic cooperation and South-South cooperation. Mr Nkala then provided the linkage between South-South cooperation principles and the often-stated mantra of the sustainable development agenda to “leave no one behind”. Lastly, students were provided with a bird’s eye view of countries in Asia’s support for the UN Office for South-South Cooperation and their mutual support to countries affected by COVID-19.
The second part of the lecture was a case study derived from a real case. The purpose of the lecture was to assess if the students could pick out examples of South-South cooperation, its advantages, and disadvantages and mostly to understand the parameters for analysing the efficacy of South-South and triangular cooperation.
After the presentation, the Mahidol University Faculty members observed that the real-life case study was an excellent way to learn. They hoped to collaborate and get more cases. Mr Nkala pointed out that the students could access many case studies on the South-South Galaxy. He mentioned that the office could also create blended case studies to ensure best opportunities for learning. Furthermore, the Mahidol Faculty members inquired if more of the students can be involved in UNOSSC activities. Mr Nkala responded that face to face interaction is still difficult due to COVID-19, however students can participate in the UN Day for South-South Cooperation and the South-South Entrepreneurship Academy.