The Commemoration of the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific, 14 September 2020

United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation 2020


Theme: South-South Cooperation, COVID-19 Impacts on the Progress Towards the Sustainable Development Agenda and the Role of South-South Volunteerism.

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In its resolution A/RES/58/220 of 2004, the United Nations General Assembly designated 12 September of each year as “The United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation”. On this date in 1978, the General Assembly endorsed, through resolution 33/134, the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (BAPA).

The commemoration of the UN Day for South-South Cooperation in 2020 follows the successful convening of the Second United Nations High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) in March 2019. The conference emphasized the importance of South-South and triangular cooperation contributions towards the achievement of the sustainable development agenda. Although this is the second occasion of the commemoration of the UN Day for South-South Cooperation since BAPA + 40,     in 2019 no significant events were put together by UNOSSC in lieu of the resources and efforts expended on the big Conference in Buenos Aires. However, the 2020 commemoration will take place in the shadow of an unprecedented environment and shocks on the health and economic systems in the whole world resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, in his report of March 2020 entitled, “Shared responsibility, global solidarity: Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19” underlined that, “more than ever before, we need solidarity, hope and the political will and cooperation” to fight this crisis together. South-South cooperation principles of solidarity and empathy are needed now more than ever for an effective response and recovery from the pandemic.  Developing countries have taken the lead in showing solidarity in response to COVID-19, providing personal protective equipment (PPEs) and other medical equipment. Furthermore, some have developed sub-regional and regional common strategies for recovery from the pandemic.

Some of the key aspects of enabling South-South cooperation to play a significant role in the pandemic recovery and attainment of sustainable development goals will include knowledge sharing, data gathering to enable informed decision making and targeting, and increased people to people connectivity to accelerate the implementation of best practices.

Asia-Pacific Event

In Asia-Pacific, the Regional Office of United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Programme and Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, have been working on compiling a publication under the UNOSSC series, “South-South in Action” entitled “South-South Volunteering as a driving force for development: Experiences from Asia and the Pacific”. The publication focuses on the efficacy of South-South volunteerism in accelerating people to people connectivity and sharing of knowledge assets for the achievement of the 2030 agenda and other internationally agreed development agenda. In this context, the organisers will launch this publication on the UN Day for South-South Cooperation. Three volunteers from Cambodia, China and Thailand will give testimonials on their work pertaining to the three case studies captured in the publication.

Furthermore, UNOSSC has launched a survey for Asia-Pacific Countries with objectives to better capture the scale of South-South collaboration in the COVID-19 response and recovery and furthermore; to identify some major areas of demand for South-South Cooperation. UNOSSC will also present the findings of this survey.

Tentative Agenda

Session 1: OpeningTime
Address by Mr Jorge Chediek, Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation and Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation (5 mins)10:30-10:35
Remarks by Ms Gita Sabharwal, UN Resident Coordinator, Thailand  (5 mins)10:35-10:40
UN SG Video Message10:40-10:45
Video: Mr Olivier Adam, UNV Executive Coordinator (5 mins)10:45-10:50
Remarks by Mr Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNESCAP (5 mins)10:50-10:55
Remarks by Ms Pattarat Hongtong, Director-General of Thailand International Cooperation Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (5 Mins)10:55-11:00
Session 2: Presentation of Survey Findings 
Presentation of Survey – UNOSSC (7 mins)11:00-11:07
Session 3: Launch of South-South in Action Publication andTestimonials  
Presentation of Key Points from the publication “South-South Volunteering as a driving force for people to people exchanges: Experiences and perspective from Asia-Pacific” Ms Shalina Miah, UNV Regional Manager, Asia and the Pacific (10 mins)11:07-11:17
Launch and Photos (3 mins)11:17
Brief remarks by the three Volunteers from the three case studies (China, Cambodia and Thailand) (9 mins)11:20
Session 4: End 
Vote of thanks (Country Representative) via video conference TBC
(5 mins)