HIGH-LEVEL OPENING CEREMONY:
More than 850 participants from 120 countries gathered in Antalya for the opening of the Global South-South Development Expo 2017. “This is an act of solidarity”, said the Master of Ceremony, Ms. Pelin Musabay Baki of the Turkic Council. “We look forward to strengthening existing partnership and building new ones”, she added.
Mr. Jorge Chediek, Director of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, expressed his thanks to the Government of Turkey for organizing this event and noted the leadership role that Turkey has taken on in international development and humanitarian action. “This conference is a collective response of all Member States to support South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation”, he stressed. The goal is to collect collective input. It provides also space to gather inputs for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Buenos Aires Plan for Action (1979). The Expo features three leadership roundtables, eleven thematic solution forums and a total of 17 side and special events. A full day will be dedicated to a high-level forum bringing together directors general for development cooperation. Moreover, 58 booths will showcase concrete work undertaken by national governments, academia, the private sector, civil society, and multilateral organizations.
The Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr. Mevlüt Cavusoglu, noted that “our countries are in transformation processes”. These challenges can only be met by sharing of experiences. He highlighted the situation of least developed countries (LDCs) and the urgent need to increase their capacities through training, education and knowledge transfer. Turkey has become an advocate for LDCs in multilateral forums. In this context, he also noted the establishment of the Technology Bank, which has been launched this year with the support of the Government of Turkey. Turkey started to provide development assistance in 1920, when the main recipient was Afghanistan. In the 1980s and 1990s, Turkey increased its development cooperation efforts. Today, Turkey provides assistance to 120 countries. In 2016, the country contributed close to 6 billion USD in development and humanitarian assistance. Turkey´s approach is based on the needs of the partner country. “This expo is an ideal platform for sharing experiences and foster mutual development”, the Foreign Minister concluded.
The representative of the G77, Amb. Galo Adres of Ecuador, thanked Turkey for its generosity to host the Technology Bank. “South-South cooperation is a manifestation of solidarity between the people of the South,” he noted. It leads to stability of the countries involved and supports them in achieving the 2030 Agenda. With a view to the Second High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation (20-20 March, 2019; Buenos Aires), this expo should be used as a platform to review experiences related to South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation guided by the principles of the Nairobi outcome document. “We need good discussions here because this will help us have better negotiations”, he called upon the participants.
The High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, said that all 91 countries that her office represents are faced with distinct development challenges. South-South cooperation provides an important contribution to these countries. “South-South cooperation is all about a spirit of solidarity and problem-solving”, she said. There is a need to further strengthen and also challenge South-South cooperation. South-South cooperation is not an either or — it complements North-South cooperation (and we should be worried about the decline of ODA since it remains a crucial form of external actors). Innovative methods developed in the South are better contextualized. Costs are an important consideration, this is why the Technology Bank comes at a vital point. South-South cooperation can also complement infrastructure financing, e.g. the One Belt One Road initiative of China. “South-South cooperation has not only has gained great momentum over the last few decades, it has finally become a powerful tool to advance the SDG agenda”. She underlined that “we must engage all actors” and that her office is committed to working with countries both of the North and South.
Mr. Magdy Martinez-Soliman, UNDP, also focused his remarks on the fundamental shifts in the global development landscape. These changes have put South-South cooperation in a prominent place. The global South is influencing discussions at all levels. While development progress is undeniable, progress has been unequal, which is a particular concern to UNDP. South-South cooperation needs to be the kind of alliance that creates jobs and that promotes regional integration. UNDP has been proudly hosting UNOSSC since 1974, leading up to the Buenos Aires Plan of Action of 1979. UNDP is pleased about the establishment of the South-South Global Thinkers Initiative. We also need to think of role of open data for South-South cooperation.
Ms. Ursula Müller, Assistant Secretary General, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, OCHA, highlighted Turkey´s contribution to international development and humanitarian action. In 2016, Turkey was the second-largest donor for humanitarian assistance. In 2017, emerging donors, such as China, Chile, Myanmar, Pakistan, the UAE and Qatar, contributed to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). Countries in the South host the vast majority of global refugees. Turkey – with 3.5 million refugees – is the world´s largest host. The knowledge created in the global South plays a vital role for development. The 2030 Agenda commits us to scale up efforts in post-crisis settings. We need to reduce vulnerability and risk. South-South cooperation already embraces this approach. A concrete example is the support provided by East Timor to the Central African Republic. There is much to learn from such examples, in particular with regards to flexible responses and collective outcomes.
Mr. Ramil Hasanov, Secretary General of the Turkic Council, noted that Turkey had made development cooperation more human-centered. He thanked the UNOSSC for including regional organizations in its work. The Turkic Council has been vocal to promote regional cooperation. It uses South-South cooperation in all of its fourteen areas of cooperation. The Turkic Council is the first regional organization to be featured in the UNOSSC´s new publication series, “South-South Cooperation in Action”. This report provides a snapshot of our activities. He emphasized that “as the Turkic Council, we will always be ready to support South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation in our region in support of the SDG agenda and leaving no one behind”.
Mr. Musa Kulaklikaya, Head of the Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESCRIC), noted that the recent development agenda enhances the role of SSC in international development with the need of a reinforced vision. Within the last decade, the number of member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that provide development aid has increased. Turkey is one of the leading OIC donor countries. Within the framework of SSC, OIC countries have more opportunities than before among themselves by sharing their knowledge in different areas of cooperation. Since its establishment in 1978, SESCRIC acts as the main research and training organization of the OIC. SESRIC is the OICs focal point for SSC. “I am confident that the expo will create opportunities for cooperation”, Mr. Kulaklikaya noted. SESCRIC will be a constructive partner in this vital endeavor.
Mario Pezzini (OECD) stressed that the development landscape continues to change. Today, countries of the South produce 40% of the worlds GDP – this number will increase to 50% by 2025. South-South cooperation is a complement to North-South cooperation. It helps us to embrace complexity faced by developing countries. We also need to address the productive transformation. New industrial strategies are needed; the number of young people entering the labor market in Africa is increasing every year. Also, it is paramount to include more actors in our discussion. “There is no doubt that South-South cooperation is an important building block in charting the future of development cooperation”, he concluded.
As a sign of appreciation, the Director of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation awarded a South-South Leadership Award to the Turkish Foreign Minister. Following the opening ceremony, the Turkish Foreign Minister inaugurated the exhibition and visited all of the booths personally.
THEMATIC SOLUTION FORUM 1:
Leveraging the power of science, technology and innovation for development through South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation
Science will be critical for meeting the 2030 Agenda. It lays the foundation for new approaches, solutions and technologies that enable us to identify, clarify and tackle local and global problems in a holistic manner. Participants also noted the vital importance of addressing the deficit of scientists in Africa. Sabbaticals can promote knowledge exchange. Another suggestion was for developing countries to invest more in primary and secondary education, and only gradually provide more resources to the tertiary sector. Panelists wholeheartedly welcomed the new technology bank focused on LDCs. The importance of intellectual property was highlighted by several panelists as well as the increasing pressure for countries to produce good data. “Any meaningful interaction requires South-South cooperation”, said one panelist.
The Head of UN-OHRLLS noted that the mandate of her office is to support 91 countries with a total of close to 1 billion inhabitants. Most often technological advances pass by developing countries. The Technology Bank is therefore of vital importance and corresponds directly to SDG1. The bank is all about leaving no one behind. The great new divide in our time is access to IT. The Technology Bank will broaden the application of technologies in the developing world. Last week, the governing council of the bank decided on a budget and workplan. The bank will focus on technology assessment and digital technology access. The SG is personally committed. While the Technology Bank has received generous contributions, there is still need for additional voluntary contributions.
Orkun Hasekioglu, Turkish Research Council, introduced his organization which brings together 22 Turkish research institutions in seven research fields. He also posed a more philosophical question on cooperation and linked it to ancient wisdom: “Our heritage says that the best of you are the ones who are beneficial to the others”. Part of his responsibilities is to enhance international cooperation with other partners. “Cooperation brings in friendship and prosperity”, he noted. Examples where Turkey is involved in promoting South-South cooperation in science and technology include the newly established Technology Bank, the OIC Ministerial Standing Committee on Science and Technology and the D8 initiative.
Dr. Woosung Lee, Science and Technology Policy Institute, ROK, said that the development of the Republic of Korea is mostly based on STI. His institute has organized water monitoring workshops in Africa, Asia and Latin America together with UNDP. Development issues are linked inextricably. There is a need for innovative, integrative and holistic approaches. First, we only worked institution to institution, but then we expanded to various levels. There is also an urgent need to bridge the climate technology gap (i.e. the losses per unit in GPD in % are higher in African and Asian countries but the technology level is much lower).
Andrey Vasilyev, UNECE, noted that among their member states are some of the technically most advanced countries of the world. UNECE´s mandate has expanded to the global level. The most important issue to realize is that it is not only about technologies, but about right policies and international cooperation frameworks. For example, if we look at drone vehicles: the problem is not technology but the absence of norms and regulations (normative and regulative frameworks). UNECE supports joint missions and joint studies, resulting in policy recommendations owned by national policy-makers, private sector and academia. In one week from now, UNECE will organize a forum in Dushanbe on innovation among seven participating countries (Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan). Four years ago, UNECE launched an “Ideas for change” contest. UNECE is very open to cooperate with countries beyond our region.
Ms. Chantal Line Carpentier, UNCTAD, noted that her organization was the focal point for technology in the UN System. STI is maybe the most critical component of South-South cooperation. STI transfer faces the same constraint South-South as there are North-South. There is no silver bullet; it needs absorptive capacities as well as a fitting policy framework. The first step of the Technology bank will focus on the assessment of STI policies. We document initiatives coming from the public sector, the private sector and PPP. For example, India and Uganda have developed an interesting partnership. The most recent UNCTAD report on the topic proposes five principles and actions: include STI in SSC; share experiences; forge alliances; make developing countries more STI-oriented; and pool resources of developing countries. All of this requires strong cooperation at the regional level. UNCTAD´s strategy for reaching the SDGs, therefore, puts a premium on South-South cooperation.
Oswaldo Reques, WIPO, stressed that “you cannot talk about innovation, if you don’t talk about intellectual property rights”. Therefore, WPO is working on an intellectual property system to reduce the gaps. WIPO promotes technology transfer, knowledge transfer, capacity building and licensing of IP. The organization is also engaged in South-South cooperation. WIPO has launched an initiative called “Re:Search”. Among others, it facilitates sabbaticals for scientists from developing countries, at Members’ research facilities. These sabbaticals have allowed researchers from developing countries to share their knowledge.
Alexandre Barbosa, Brazil, elaborated on strengthening the child perspective in the context of South-South cooperation through the “The Global Kids Online Project” (UNICEF). This project is aimed to establish a rigorous cross-national evidence base around children´s use of the Internet. The following countries are part of the project: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Uruguay. Pilot countries are Argentina, Serbia, Montenegro, South Africa, Philippines. STI4SDGs calls for economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. It is critical to measure and monitor the actions of stakeholders for evidence-based policy-making. In a next step, data and statistics production is needed for tracking the progress towards the SDGs (digital skills, social media use etc.). Multi-stakeholder engagement is a must (government, academia, private sector and civil society). For such initiatives to succeed, four elements need to be in place: need awareness/raising (data needs, what data you need for policy making), funding (data production), capacity building initiatives (data use), and experience sharing through cross-national studies (data sharing).
Hassan Damluji, Gates Foundation, discussed how the foundation sees South-South cooperation. He noted that the foundation stood in a neutral position, that they were an uninterested party in politics. “Our only mission is to help poorest people in the world to live dignified lives”, he said. The Gates Foundation does not think in terms of South-South cooperation, “everything we do is South-South cooperation”. The North is not the majority of the world, its influence and its people. The SDGs are maybe one of the most important pieces of South-South cooperation. “We live in a world where any meaningful interaction requires South-South cooperation”, the representative said. There are three important angles to consider: resources, voice, expertise. For example, the foundation supports the “Lives and livelihood fund” based in the IsDB, together with Turkey. The donors are South, IsDB is South, the countries where the loans and grants are being implemented are in the South. Second, voices are needed from both sides. For example, polio – the foundation wants to eradicate it. Yet, Southern countries must voice this, “a donor from Seattle would not care”. With regards to expertise, the foundation was frustrated as the majority of our grants went to the North. This is why they started building regional vaccine production sites, for example. Another example is the alliance of scientists from Africa. The foundation is trying to encourage South-South cooperation. For us, it is the way we do business. Turkey is also taking strides also at being at table on discussions regarding STI.
THEMATIC SOLUTION FORUM 2:
Using big data for development as a platform to facilitate South-South and triangular cooperation. Unlocking the potential of big data solutions
Big data is already used in various policy arenas, such as urban planning. It also has a considerable potential for fostering development in the Global South. Participants discussed the opportunities associated with big data (e.g. faster access to information, more timely information for interventions, inclusion of underserved households) but also its risks (e.g. connectivity, privacy concerns). Private sector representatives introduced concrete examples of big data at work, underlining the blurring line between public and private sector interventions. The example of using machine learning to analyze radio content in Uganda showed how latest technological developments can be used with prevailing local social media preferences.
Mr. Enda Gitting, Indonesia, provided an overview of UN Global Pulse and how is data harnessed at Pulse hub in Jakarta. Concrete initiatives include linking traditional data with food prices (Vampire), bringing together multi-sector indicators to prevent stunting and showing the voice around forest fires. All three things are brought together by UN Pulse. This is all made possible through collaboration. In 2015, Indonesia experienced disastrous forest fires. There was chaos and a lot of voice. It became clear that there are two issues that are important in using big data to boost government decision-making: risk of accuracy and risk of resistance (content-resistance, process-resistance). Indonesia also learnt that it needed to establish collaboration across the development panel.
Dr. Eddy Mukooyo Sefuluya, Uganda, discussed the use of live data for health policy. The Government of Uganda cooperates with Pulse Lab Kampala. The lab helps the Ministry of Health to better understand the health challenges in Uganda. The graphs and illustrations have, for example, informed HIV prevention programmes. Global Pulse takes data from public radio discussions, which is a popular social media platform in Uganda. There are call-in sessions, and about 70% in rural areas have mobile phones. People also talk about what is happening in their communities, e.g. incidences and what the government does. Data thus represent the voice of people in rural areas and outside of traditional households. This project was the first time that conversion natural language to automated language was used in Africa. Other areas where we have in the meantime used this technology include the perception to refugees in Uganda and the impact of small disasters on livelihoods. Radio means a rich pool of information, especially in the developing world. Uganda hopes that other countries will be inspired by this example.
Mr. Lilian Galer, National Statistics Office, Moldova, discussed how data collection is changing because of big data. In the future, household surveys may no longer be necessary in the future or, at least, not in the current format. Moldova experiences one of the largest emigration flows in the Europe region (approx. 600,000 people have left in the past decade). Moldova has also the biggest share of remittances in relation to GDP in Europe (25% according to the World Bank, 2016). The Moldovan household survey takes place only every ten years, which is too slow for policy-making and targeted interventions. This is where big data comes in. A project between UNDP and the Moldovan Statistical Office is under way to use electric consumption data as a basis for population estimates. Big data holds a large promise, but some data will still need to be collected through statistical services, such as socio-economic data.
Laetitia Sarra Jebeur, Tunisia, informed participants about the Tunisian Government´s efforts to use big data (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) to measure SDG16 and corruption. In a first step, a classification and key words were established. Social media turned out to be a very useful source for statistical data. The statisticians were very hesitant to use big data from social media at first.
The Manager for Big Data and Reporting of Turkish Airlines provided an insight into how one of the major global airlines uses big data to keep ticket prices low and services effective. Turkish Airlines has become one of the leading airlines of the world. It offers flights to nearly 50 airports in Africa and a total of approx. 300 airports around the world. In 2017, TA was awarded best business lounge award. Turkish Airlines has also established a humanitarian aid programme (“Widen your heart”). The department for big data and reporting consists of around 35 staff members. Big data is free. It is differentiated by three characteristics: speed, variety of data and size. Turkish Airlines uses big data, for example, for no-show cancellations. The Turkish Airlines manager enouraged all parties to examine how they can use big data (e.g. internet of things), “it is limitless, open and free”.
Sun Tao, Ali Financial, shared another private sector perspective on big data. Ali Financial and Ali Baba are two different companies (Ali Pay is part of Ali Financial). Big data is more than data itself. There are four features of big data: volume, velocity, variety, and veracity (uncertainty of data). Big data comes with algorithms, requiring technology. A challenge with big data is connectivity. At Ali Financial, big data is used for payment support, financial inclusion (loans to SMEs, insurance) and the promotion of sustainability (e.g. reducing pollution through steering the behavior of individuals), among others. It is important to think of data security and how the privacy of individuals can be protected. Ali Financial tries to take advantage of big data also with regards to promoting smart cities. In 700 Chinese cities, individuals can use big data to manage their daily lives (e.g. to make an appointment at a hospital using Ali Financial).
Brenda Killen, OECD, also discussed the case study from Uganda where machine learning is used to analyze radio content. She highlighted the opportunities for sustainable development and humanitarian action, basing her remarks on the 2017 Development Cooperation Report. Thanks to the data revolution, we have better tools to get the data we need, she said. Big data helps fill statistical gaps. In Bangladesh and Tanzania, for example, governments use big data to look at stunting. Turkey uses GPS for earthquake monitoring and supports Pakistan to build such a system with the support of TIKA and IsDB. She cautioned, though, that the data revolution will only be part of the answer. Big data needs to be analyzed for policy-making; today, only 1% of big data is analyzed. There is an urgent need for countries to put in place clear legal, ethnic and policy standards to foster trust in big data. There is also a data divide, which we need to address. She concluded with three key messages: First, the laws and standards of big data need to fit the purpose and they need to be updated. Second, we need to bridge the digital divide. Third, Ms. Killen called on OECD member countries to cooperate to reduce duplication; “South-South can show us how to do this in practice”.
THEMATIC SOLUTION FORUM 3:
The role of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation in the promotion of ICT for rural development
This session highlighted the need to use ICT to achieve the 2030 Agenda, while carefully considering the infrastructure of ICT and local development. Concrete examples of how ICT can be used to improve rural livelihoods were showcased, often based on surprisingly simple interventions. IFAD and the African Development Bank provided examples from the multilateral level, while Turkey shared bilateral examples. The role of the private sector was highlighted, not only extending to large companies but also smallholder finance. The need for standardization of South-South cooperation was raised by Turkey.
IFAD organized its first conference on South-South cooperation in Brazil this month. Participants discussed how ICTs can be used to fuel rural development and how to improve rural livelihoods. A concrete example is the collaboration between IFAD, Grameen Intel Social Venture and Cambodia to support farmers with ICT in Cambodia. Participating farmers were able to increase their yield by 30%. Knowledge and literacy are fundamental for SSC. This is why IFAD also needs to work on literacy for smallholder farmers.
IFAD currently has around 50 projects that focus on ICT. In India, IFAD has established a kiosk for farmers where pastoralists can find information on which are the best markets for their products or information about bad weather. IFAD intends to draft a strategy on ICT using a wide consultation process and will soon launch a rural solutions portal. It is vital to include women and youth in ICT to strengthen rural development. (In Africa, 75% of the population are under the age of 30.) The private sector can support skills development, resources and developing markets, infrastructure and value chains. In this work, IFAD is referring to not only to large companies, but also small producers. We need to harness the power of markets for development. At the same time, it is important to look at the drivers for ICT as well as for South-South cooperation. There are no 100% risk-free operations, but through South-South cooperation one gets tested solutions.
Often, successful ICT interventions are surprisingly simple. The moderator noted, “We need to keep it simple to achieve our results”. Text messages were used in Kenya to give farmers capabilities on best practices in terms of soil use, soil viability and weather information. The second example from Kenya is a WhatsApp application on IFAD´s site, which is used to disseminate information and also feedback information on what is working and what not. IFAD reached 12,000 farmers through these applications, of whom many were reporting a doubling or even tripling of their yield.
Last year, the AfDB started a project for a trans-Saharan fiber network which will allow for better connections at more affordable prices. On building skills, a knowledge product was produced through SSC. Another concrete initiative using ICT was AfDB´s support to Tunisia to digitalize its government services. The AfDB has just launched a competition for young people on ICT.
The representative of the Brazil Africa Institute (IBRAF) stressed the role of the private sector and local development. For example, there is a very large melon farm in Brazil, with 6,000 employees and a daily production of 1 million melons every day. Ten ambassadors were invited to visit the farm so that we could show them how this can happen in rural area. It is crucial to also focus on the value chain. For example, Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava but the value chain is underdeveloped. IBRAF invited 30 young people to see the value chain in cassava in Brazil. For its annual conference, IBRAF always picks one topic. In 2017, they decided to discuss technology and innovation for development. He said that “the goal is to share good practices and experiences. We can always learn from others”.
The Turkish Coordination and Cooperation Agency (TIKA) noted the lack of agreement on the scope and measurement of South-South cooperation. This situation creates challenges in terms of standardization. There is a need for a framework for the measurement of South-South cooperation. It should be carried out by the governments of the developing countries, together with NGOs and academia. Developing countries have no organization to facilitate this, like donors have the DAC. In 2013, Turkey organized a core group meeting in Istanbul to work on a single, agreed-on methodology. The biggest denominator of South-South cooperation is the rejection of interference and conditionality and respect for equality. ICT is indispensable for our work. Almost all of TIKA´s projects involve ICT, which helps both to reduce costs and simplify projects. More recently, TIKA implemented a land registration programme in Afghanistan. In Albania, TIKA helped open the first tourism information bureau (in Tirana airport).