Toronto, Sept. 15 (IPS) – A UN panel underlined the impact of South-South Triangle Cooperation (SSTC) projects as essential tools for enabling sustainable development and peace in developing countries.
Organized by the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (UNDPPA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the joint virtual side event explored how to strengthen cooperation between developing countries and discussed several SSTC projects. The panel was part of the annual Global South-South Development (GSSD) Expo that took place September 12-14 in Bangkok, Thailand.
SSTC refers to a collaboration where traditional donor countries and multilateral organizations help create initiatives between two or more Global South countries. Support is usually given in the form of financing, training and/or management.
Elizabeth Spehar, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, emphasized the importance of these collaborations in her opening speech. She pointed to the role organizations such as the Group of Seven Plus — a collective of 20 conflict-affected countries that promote stability through peer learning and advocacy — can play in helping vulnerable countries tackle their most pressing problems.
Only 18 percent of conflict-affected countries are currently on track to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, she noted.
“The resource and capacity constraints facing many fragile and conflict-affected countries could be enormous. Solidarity and peer-to-peer support through collaboration led by entities such as the group of seven plus today are more important than ever.”
The need to strengthen South-South initiatives became especially apparent during the pandemic, Ruchira Kamboj, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said during the event’s panel.
“As we have seen, the COVID pandemic has tested the resilience of multilateral institutions, and the global south has largely fend for itself. To achieve this, South-South cooperation has become even more important.”
Kamboj gave several examples of contributions India has made in recent years to strengthen the capacity of other developing countries, including the launch of the first UN Development Partnership Fund for One Country (India-UN Fund) and the provision of its open source software for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to interested countries.
She also emphasized the power of knowledge sharing between developing countries.
“Sharing valuable capabilities, experience and knowledge between developing countries can be a catalyst for development as the opportunities to share the fruits of knowledge, technology and growth are enhanced.”
The panel also discussed how cooperation can help countries resolve conflicts.
Alhaji Fanday Turay, Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, noted that SSTCs were crucial to solving the civil war in his country.
“Sierra Leone was ravaged by 11 years of civil war that led not only to the loss of life and property, but also to a collapse of institutions and a slowdown in development in all forms. However, through regional and interregional interventions and cooperation, Sierra Leone was restored as a democratic and peaceful state.”
Turay cited important examples showing how Sierra Leone had benefited from the SSTC’s peace-keeping partnership. This included the deployment of a West African peacekeeping mission to implement the Lomé Peace Agreement and the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee in Sierra Leone – a step taken in the UN oversight peace agreement.
“It is very clear that the civil war in Sierra Leone ended as a result of concerted efforts by the member states of the South and other development partners.”
SSTCs have also been used to increase the capacity of women’s participation in peace negotiations.
Panelist Juanita Millan Hernandez, UN Senior Mediation Adviser from Colombia, shared her experience leading intensive ceasefire training for women in conflict zones, where training one group produced a ripple effect; the newly trained officers shared their expertise with others.
This exchange created important networks in areas where previously very few women were equipped to participate in negotiations. Hernandez noted that establishing these networks was especially important, as the peacekeeping field is dominated by older men, with specific views on security and peace.
By making the training comprehensive, the course also enabled learners to address different types of conflict, greatly enhancing their ability to participate meaningfully.
“The idea is that they are not only part of one attack, one negotiation, but also the face of security arrangements that can go to a very local situation where all these techniques, tools and technical knowledge will be useful to them. to solve and participate in the more technical part of these processes. We try to build the capacity of each course around 25 women, but they will replicate the knowledge to two more women instead.
Closing out the event, Haoliang Xu, Deputy Secretary General and UNDP Director of the Office of Policy and Program Support underlined the need for developing countries to draw on each other’s expertise and work together to tackle tough problems.
“There is no international system in which national governments have to transfer resources to support less developed areas. To ensure that the level of development meets certain standards internationally, solidarity and development cooperation is the best tool we have.” Report of the IPS UN Office
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