GSSD Expo 2017: Summary of the Third Day (29 Nov 2017)

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LEADERSHIP ROUNDTABLE 3:

From delivering aid to ending need: Advancing the 2030 Agenda in crisis contexts

There can be no sustainable development without peace, and no peace without development. Participants agreed that change is needed in the humanitarian system. “We need to transcend the divide between short-term humanitarian action and long-term development efforts”, Ms. Müller urged. A woman in an area struck by disaster said: “Thank you for saving lives, but what about my livelihood?”. South-South cooperation can have great humanitarian and development impact. It can help partners bridge divides, learn from each other´s experiences and access funds. In all crisis situations, actors must be mindful of the humanitarian principles.

Mr. Süreyya Er, Vice President, TIKA, reminded participants that the 2030 Agenda recognizes the need to include humanitarian assistance into all stages of development planning. Turkey´s aid programme in Somalia is a good example. Our engagement started in 2011 when the country experienced a famine. Following the visit of the Turkish President in Somalia, all different sectors of Turkey were mobilized for an integrated strategy. Development assistance was provided while humanitarian action continued. Another example is Myanmar. TIKA was the first foreign aid agency to enter the region following the Rohingya refugee crisis. Turkey has spent almost 11 billion USD on the refugee crisis in Syria since 2011. Mr. Er urged the audience that “we have to reflect on the way we do business. We all seem to agree that change is needed in the humanitarian system”.

Ms. Ursula Müller, Assistant Secretary-General, OCHA, stressed that humanitarian needs continue to increase. The UN´s appeal for humanitarian resistance reached 20 billion USD to help 145 million people in need, with an open finance gap of 11 billion USD. Protracted conflict, unplanned urbanization and climate change are among the issues that contribute to this situation. Peace and development are intrinsically interconnected. The UN Secretary-General is trying to overcome fragmentation of aid. “We need to transcend the divide between short-term humanitarian action and long-term development efforts”, Ms. Müller said. Concrete examples for more concerted efforts are development partners in the Central African Republic sharing analytical dat. In Yemen, human and development practitioners are pulling data across priority areas. South-South cooperation demonstrates leadership in collaboration: some actors respond as donors, hosts or take on another role. Many countries in the South have faced similar challenges. South-South cooperation is crucial because the comparative advantage in fragile and protracted situations has not been fully leveraged.

Dr. Mansur Muhtar, Vice-President Sector Operations, IsDB, highlighted that most of the humanitarian hotspots are among OIC member countries. Our key challenge is how to scale up resources and find innovative ways of using them. A concrete example is the Lives and Livelihood Fund. The IsDB has provided concessional financing to Jordan and Lebanon to cope with the influx of refugees. We must bring in the non-traditional sectors and the private sector, for example, IsDB works together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. At the same time, it is paramount to make internal changes in how we look at humanitarian action and development cooperation (e.g. through country programming). IsDB has established a new division to look at resilience. Moreover, the potential of crowd-funding remains underused. “We see ourselves not as a development bank, but as bank of developers”, Mr. Muhtar noted. He reminded participants of already existing principles for the effectiveness of development, e.g. the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.

Mr. Noel Gonzalez Segura, Director General for Planning and International Development Cooperation Policy, Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID), shared recent experiences from Mexico. The country was hit by two devastating earthquakes this year. Mexico received generous support from countries from the South, among others Chile, Colombia and Panama. This was a sign of solidarity in the spirit of South-South cooperation. It is imperative to ensure appropriate coordination among national actors. Coordination with non-traditional donors, such as foundations and the private sector, must also be ensured. The affected country has to communicate its needs clearly, including a social media strategy. Transparency is needed to make people feel confident and ensure accountability. Mexico established a transparency website detailing the assistance Mexico received both from within Mexico and from the outside. An example of an on-going triangular cooperation in crisis contexts is Mexico´s cooperation with Germany and Save the Children, Mexico on a comprehensive programme to decrease the migration of unaccompanied minors.

Mr. Steve Darville, Director Humanitarian Response and Performance, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia, noted that while his country is considered North it is located in the Southern hemisphere and surrounded by neighbours from the global South. In the “Listening Program”, not a single person affected by disaster made a distinction between humanitarian and development assistance. While there was no reference to crisis in the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, the situation has changed completely 40 years later. We need to advance the 2030 Agenda in crisis settings. We also need to shift our mind-set from delivering aid to ending needs. For development to be sustainable, it must be able to resist shock. Last week, the Government issued a new strategy for cooperation with Pacific Island drawing on Australia´s experience as a disaster-prone country. Australia hopes that development will become “as local as possible and as international as necessary”. It all begins with governance and leadership. There is nothing natural about disaster, the hazards are natural.

Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Bangladesh, stressed that his country is extremely vulnerable to climate change. Bangladesh has one of the most effective disaster risk reduction (DRR) frameworks in place which can be shared with other countries. About 1 million refugees from Myanmar have fled to Bangladesh. Bangladesh strongly believes that South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation are key instruments in addressing humanitarian crises. Together with its co-chairs Germany and Uganda, Bangladesh is working to make aid more effective through the Global Partnership on Effective Development Co-operation. The principles and practices identified in these forums can also inform efforts to adapt the delivery of assistance in crisis contexts.

Mr. Ahmad Al Meraikhi, UN Secretary-General´s Special Humanitarian Envoy, discussed how the UN system can support the localization of aid and leverage South-South cooperation in this respect. There 140 million people in need of humanitarian aid. Active partnerships are needed among humanitarian and development organizations. Famine can affect education and health. Measures also need to build capacities for resilience and the future. We need innovative mechanisms to provide refugees with opportunities. Social media can help us find solutions for young men who are left unemployed and idle. It is time for the world to start a new way to practice a new way to deliver humanitarian assistance. We need to build bridges between the different actors involved. Mr. Al Meraikhi noted in this context that “it is also my role to help bridges between different actors”. In Syria, for example, there is a humanitarian response plan.

 

THEMATIC SOLUTION FORUM 8:

Southern solutions for peacebuilding and sustaining peace

There is fatigue with peacebuilding efforts at the global level. To revive peacebuilding efforts, more advocacy is needed.  Capacities of local communities are fundamental; they need to be nurtured instead of being replaced. South-South cooperation is as relevant to development as it is to peacebuilding. Triangular cooperation has particular relevance for peacebuilding efforts, exemplified by the recently launched programme between Indonesia and Norway to foster economic growth in border regions between Indonesia and Timor-Leste. For the SDGs to be a transformative agenda, civil society needs to be on board. Governments are therefore called up on the safeguard the space created for civil society in peacebuilding and related efforts.

Mr. Jorge Chediek, Director of UNOSSC, Peacebuilding has not traditionally been considered a typical South-South activity. But many countries from the South have a lot to contribute in this field, with a tremendous potential for a peaceful world. At the last Global South-South Development Expo, we launched a joint publication with Colombia documenting case studies on experience-based peacebuilding. Also, there are many experiences to learn from in the Balkans and other regions.

Mr. Helder Da Costa, Secretary-General, g7+ Secretariat, noted that the g7+ countries [1] were among the strongest advocates for SDG16. Together with DAC donors and civil society, the g7+  concluded a new deal for engagement in fragile states. The deal was launched in Busan in 2011 and is already endorsed by 45 countries. Over the last four years, the g7+ intensified its work on the promotion of PFM, the sharing of experiences in natural resource management and transition management after conflict. Today, the  g7+  will launch South-South in Action Report on fragile-to-fragile cooperation together with UNOSSC. The spirit of South-South cooperation is illustrated by the relationship between Indonesia and Timor-Leste. The keys to transforming the relationship between these two countries were leadership, commitment to reconciliation, a forward-looking attitude and good will on both side. A concrete example of the results of triangular cooperation is that Portugal has offered to host the European g7+ office in Lisbon.

Amb. Basat Öztürk, Deputy Undersecretary, Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Turkey, emphasized that peacebuilding requires continuous involvement at all levels. This means the United Nations, governments and people. Today, there is no longer much talk about peacebuilding because it is costly and it requires dedication. Amb. Öztürk described Turkey´s engagement with Afghanistan. It started in the 1920s at a time when Turkey itself was still in need of help. Recognizing that security is the basis for development, Turkey supported Afghanistan to build its army. Today, Turkey is back in Afghanistan with the same attitude. Turkey provides support in areas such as security, policy, capacity-building, and education. Turkish Airlines is flying to Kabul every day, connecting Afghanistan to the world. Contributions to peacebuilding are only possible as a trusted – not as a neo-colonialist – partner. When Turkey partners with other countries, “we feel like it is our country”, the ambassador concluded. Solidarity means that we touch hearts and have empathy.

Mr. Habib Ur Rehman Mayar, Deputy Secretary General, g7+, emphasized that the first and most important principle of fragile-to-fragile cooperation is empathy, the human connection. The second principle is that it does not geared towards a specific ideology but rather encourages the country to take charge of their own development. The objective of fragile-to-fragile cooperation is not merely sharing of experiences, but to change the narrative. The Deputy Secretary went on to describe the cooperation between Timor-Leste and Guinea-Bissau. While international donors were not willing to invest in the elections in 2014, Timor-Leste provided 6 million USD to Guinea-Bissau to allow the country to have elections (this amount then leveraged another 1 million USD from international donors). Being rich in resources has been a curse for g7+ member countries. This is why the g7+ Secretariat has also stepped up its work on this fundamental issue. To encourage the exchange of experiences, the Secretariat facilitates mission from countries to countries.

Mr. Iwan Nur Hidayat, Deputy Director of South-South cooperation and international NGOs, Indonesia, stressed the direct correlation between violence and poverty: the more violence there is, the higher the incidence of poverty. The UN peacebuilding architecture from 2005 (Peacebuilding Commission, Peacebuilding Fund, and Peacebuilding Support Office) has a limited role, and there is a lack of funding. South-South cooperation can contribute to peacebuilding by providing inclusive partnerships, alternative funding sources and listen to countries. Indonesia and Norway have taken financing of peacebuilding efforts through South-South cooperation and peace-building to a new level. This September, they launched a two-year initiative to foster peacebuilding between Indonesia and Timor-Leste. The objective is to intensify economic opportunities between communities living in border regions through cross-border exchanges. It is hoped that this will increase economic interdependence so that conflicts will be reduced and peace be maintained. The private sector can support this initiative.

Mr. Kota Katsumata, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Turkey Office, provided details on a triangular training initiative for female police officers of Afghanistan. The training was conducted in Turkey together with TIKA (the two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2012). In 2010, Turkey established the “Sivas Police Training Center” to provide training for the Afghan National Police. The project encompasses several geographical and thematic aspects: Afghanistan, trilateral cooperation, gender, peacebuilding, and police security. Particular focus was given to the issue of violence against women, which is a major concern in Afghanistan. The project also resulted in a strengthened network among female Afghan police officers. Several factors made this triangular cooperation possible, including clear demand from stakeholders, trust established through long-standing relationships (Japan started providing assistance to Turkey in 1959) and Japan´s role as a facilitator.

Ms. Anita Mathur, Secretary, Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinina People, Division for Palestinian Rights, Department of Political Affairs, UN, emphasized that South-South cooperation is as relevant to development as it is to peacebuilding – “we have crossed this barrier”. Her office provides support on an ad-hoc, demand-based basis. This support has not been documented and not labelled as South-South cooperation (with the exception of the Department´s work with Palestine). Also, it has not been included into the South-South cooperation frameworks. The Department of Political Affairs has acted as knowledge broker and provider of capacity-building, e.g. an on-line mediation platform such as the “UN Peacemaker”. The Department also has a roster of stand-by mediation experts, many of whom come from the Global South. These experts are dispatched upon the request of Member States. The Department of Political Affairs has entered into a partnership with UNOSSC to undertake a mapping exercise on South-South cooperation in peace-building. The long-term goal is to use the results in an overall South-South cooperation framework at the UN.

Mr. Peter van Slujs, Cordaid Senior Strategist, Secretary of the Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS), explained that his organization provides support to civil society organizations at the local level. Often, civil society is the first actor to act in the event of crises. CSPSS has actively promoted the exchange of lessons learnt and knowledge-sharing. The collaboration between the g7+, donors and civil society is an interesting new way of triangular cooperation. A concrete example is the facilitation of civil society in the negotiations of the new Deal on Engagement in Fragile States. Cordaid has also supported civil society in Afghanistan and the Central African Republic to have their voices heard in international donor conferences. “For the SDGs to be a transformative agenda, civil society needs to be on board”, Mr. van Slujs emphasized. Governments need to safeguard the space that has been granted to civil society. Finally, CSPPS invited the UNOSSC to partner with them on a new volume in the South-South in Action Series.

 

THEMATIC SOLUTION FORUM 9:

Climate change partnerships

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. The panel collected experiences on effective climate action supported by South-South cooperation mechanisms and discussed ways to unleash the potential of South-South cooperation in climate action. Panelists agreed that the potential for South-South actions in climate change is still largely untapped. This is in many ways surprising as there are ample examples to learn from in the South. Climate action is not purely an environmental issue; an integrated approach to climate change action is urgently needed. Public financing will not be sufficient for climate action, and the engagement of the private sector will be critical. Finally, gender needs to be a key consideration in climate action.

Mr. Zitouni Ould-Dada, Head of Technology Unit, Economic Division, UNEP, provided the framework for the panel discussion by recalling the 22rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that was held in Bonn earlier this month.

Mr. Jorge Chediek, Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation, Director UNOSSC, reminded participants that climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. “There is no planet B”, he said. South-South cooperation is a key element to confront this key global challenge. Some of the most radical changes we have seen in the energy arena are taking place in the South. “After this panel, we will feel more confident”, he added.

Mr. Vicente Paolo B. Yu, Deputy Executive Director, South Centre, discussed the three main challenges related to climate change and South-South cooperation. First, institutional capacities can undermine a holistic approach to climate change, e.g. climate change planning and implementation are still often treated as a purely environmental issue. The second challenge is policy integration. Thirdly, there are resource constraints, not only in LDCs but also in other countries. An integrated approach to climate change responses is therefore urgently needed. The G77 put climate finance upfront at the COP23. Public financing will not be sufficient, additional resources will be required from other sources. Finally, Mr. Yu introduced a joint publication by the South Center. The report “Climate Partnerships for a Sustainable Future” provides an overview of climate change in the context of sustainable development.

Mr. Bernd Hackmann, Programme Officer, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat, noted that many developing countries face similar challenges with regards to climate change. This presents a huge opportunity for South-South cooperation. On the other hand, there is a vast amount of knowledge already available which this often not yet been shared with peers. The key issue is how to integrate climate action into long-term development. With regards to climate finance, it is important to note that the Paris Agreement also obliges countries from the North to support developing countries in addressing climate change. South-South cooperation does not water down this commitment, it is a complement. “There is no monopoly on effective climate action”, Mr. Hackmann summarized his remarks.

Mr. Ayman Cherkaoui, Advisor to the Government of Morocco, described what the Moroccan COP22 Presidency had done with regards to South-South cooperation from the aspect of solidarity in action. “We have to use all modalities that we have at our disposal”, Mr. Cherkaoui remarked. Referring to the name of the venue, “Titanic”, he said that if the historic ship would pass its route in a couple of decades from now, there would be no icebergs left. In a couple of decades, there will be no icebergs left. The South is much more impacted by climate change than the North. This year, Morocco launched a sustainable development policy. Climate change action is one of the seven pillars. An issue with climate finance is that too often, the right people are not in the room when these discussions happen (e.g. ministries of finance). It is equally important to leverage climate finance and not have it sit idle in bank accounts.

Ms. Carmen Isabel Claramunt Garro, Deputy Director of International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Costa Rica, described operational modes that are in place in Costa Rice with regards to climate change and South-South cooperation. “We must recognize that development in the 21st century is different, it goes beyond economic development (e.g. also social development)”, she reminded participants. Costa Rica is ready to share its best practices with other countries on climate change action. Multi-sector approaches are vital, so are multi-stakeholder partnerships (e.g. civil society, academia, private sector). Ms. Claramunt Garro also stressed the role of women in climate action and sustainable development, in particular at the local level. In order to fill the evident resource gap, triangular cooperation provides additional options to countries.

Mr. Nuri Ozbagdatli, Climate Change and Environment Portfolio Manager, UNDP, Turkey, stressed that the key challenge lies in the integration of climate change into development planning. South-South cooperation can bring specific and country-self-defined needs to discussions. UNDP has found that partnerships are critical in successful interventions towards climate action and sustainable development.

Mr. Ugur Zeydanli, General Director, Nature Conservation Center, noted that all layers of society need to be included in discussions on climate change. We need mechanisms for this. Adaptation must be included in all relevant discussions because social and ecological systems will need to be adapted. Effective climate action hinges on local knowledge in combination with strong partnerships. With regards to data collection, Mr. Zeydanli remarked that emissions are only one aspect of data collection. There can never be enough data, and new technologies provide policy-makers with greater opportunities for data collection.

Mr. Rysbek Apasov, Chief, Department of External Relations and Investment, Ministry of Agriculture, Food Industry and Melioration, Kyrgyzstan, provided concrete examples how his country is already being impacted by climate change. For example, the temperature differences in Kyrgyzstan are increasing. This has a direct impact on both human beings and animals. The country has also experienced decreases of its water supply, requiring the country to buy water from other countries. “South-South cooperation can help us meet these challenges”, Mr. Apasov said. He mentioned that terrace agriculture may have a potential in the mountainous country. Kyrgyzstan is also facing financial constraints and needs to attract funds; South-South cooperation may help the country tap into more funding sources.

Mr. Hans Friederich, Director-General, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), reminded the audience that greenhouse emissions from agriculture account for almost 25% of total emissions. Bamboo provides a promising alternative to high carbon-foot print resources. Bamboos are grasses but look like trees. They can be used as a substitute for charcoal or fuel. Bamboo is integral to many ecosystems around the world. It therefore also makes countries more resilient to climate change. The following steps are needed to make South-South cooperation more successful: policy guidance (global and local), provision of information, growing network of experts around the world, and access to funding. “We need multi-sectoral approaches are needed to think out of the box, e.g. we should also think of renewable energy, construction and design”, Mr. Friederich suggested. In his experience, South-South cooperation is more effective when it is carried out in a triangular framework.

 

THEMATIC SOLUTION FORUM 10:

Engagement in the private sector and enterprises in development

The private sector is a vital partner in achieving the 2030 Agenda. In Turkey, for example, 90% of all new jobs are created by the private sector. But the 2030 Agenda is also good business: the private sector has the opportunity to unlock 12 trillion USD in market opportunities. When companies see a potential, they will be willing to go into sustainable development. This will require a radical adaptation of their business model to the needs of its new customers. Innovations such as refrigerators that work on solar energy create benefits for the customers, the environment and the producer. Panelists emphasized that the government should not take on so much the role of a partner but rather as an enabler. International organizations play an important role in building trust between the private sector and the government.

Mr. Marco Athias Neto, Director, Istanbul International Center on Private Sector Development, Istanbul, emphasized that it was impossible to achieve the 2030 Agenda without a substantive engagement of the private sector. There is no lack of financial resources in the world; in fact, they are growing by 7% each year. “South-South cooperation is good business”, he said. The report “Better business, better world” published by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission found that the private sector can unlock 12 trillion USD in market opportunities until 2030 by engaging in the SDG agenda.

Mr. Anuj Mehra, Managing Director of Mahindra Rural Housing Finance Limited, said that the private sector would be more than willing go into sustainable development if there is a potential. His company has identified such a business opportunity and provides home loans to people on the base of the pyramid (family income of approx. 2,000 USD per year). This implied a radical adaptation of the company´s business model to address the needs of customers (e.g. no monthly fixed repayments). Mahindra Rural Housing has had positive impact on a variety of development issues such as gender equality, health and socio-economic empowerment. For example, it requires that the wife of the house co-signs on the loan or it ensures that the official record shows the change in ownership of a property. “If a business approaches something as corporate social responsibility (CSR), it will not work; you need it to approach it as a business”, Mr. Mehra stressed. The government needs to play the role of an enabler, e.g. digitalization leads to decreased transaction costs for businesses. In his opinion, it is not about subsidies. The role of UN agencies is key to help build trust between government and the private sector.

Mr. Mustafa Osman Turan, Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Director General for Multilateral Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey, underlined the importance of the private sector in development. Turkey itself has progressed from being a recipient of development to a provider of development cooperation with the help of the private sector. This is why Turkey has supported the establishment of the Istanbul International Center on Private Sector Development (IICPSD). During its presidency of the G20 in 2015, Turkey introduced inclusive growth into the group´s agenda. Inclusive growth has since then become a multi-year agenda item for the G20. Turkey and the IICPSD have proposed to establish an SDG Business Incubator. 90% of all jobs created every year in Turkey are generated by the private sector. Turkey puts a particular emphasis on supporting SMEs. The government can, for example, open doors for the private sector at the international level.

Mr. Nihat Bayız, Innovation Manager, Arçelik Group, introduced his company to the audience. Arçelik Group was established in 1955 and produces durable consumer goods. Today, the company has 30,000 employees with production bases in seven countries. Its products are available in 140 countries globally. The company is constantly adapting products to local needs and preferences; the key is to understand the customer. Being profitable and being linked to the SDGs is mutually re-enforcing. A concrete example of an innovation that engineers are currently working on are refrigerators that can run on solar energy. Such refrigerators will not only be great help to many customers in the Southern hemisphere, but they will also increase the use of renewable energy. Mr. Bayız emphasized that the main priority of companies should be the creation of value for people and nature – “profits will follow”, he said.

Ms. Linda Yang, Executive Chairperson of Yingke Global Board of Directors, Global Partner, described how governments can support entrepreneurs from her perspective as a lawyer and as a representative of the private sector. The Belt Road Initiative (BRI; formerly known as the “One Belt One Road Initiative”) by the Chinese Government is actively promoting international cooperation and creating a new platform for cooperation across borders. The Chinese Government constantly encourages Chinese companies to invest abroad. Despite huge potentials, investments abroad are not always easy. Lawyers can help businesses to assess risks and be prepared for them, but support is needed also from other stakeholders.

Mr. Xavier Michon, Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), described the mission of his organization – financial inclusion and local development finance.  What sets UNCDF apart is that it operates exclusively in least-developed countries (LDCs). UNCDF provides finance to the private sector, mostly SMEs. Financial products need to be adapted to the needs and circumstances of the customers (e.g. the timing of their cash flows). UNCDF´s capital is flexible, making it possible to establish a tailor-made financial architecture for the customer together with other players. 30% of UNCDF´s resources come from the private sector. “There is an appetite to learn in financial markets”, Mr. Michon noted. Since UNCDF operates under international law, the organization needed to clarify the overall legal situation when cooperating with private sector organizations.

 

THEMATIC SOLUTION FORUM 11:

Cooperation among countries for health development

There is an abundance of best practices in the health sector from the global South. This session highlighted noteworthy examples and assessed how South-South cooperation can be used to achieve health objectives. The panelists also discussed what options international organizations have to help countries maximize the benefits of South-South cooperation in the field of health. There was broad agreement that there is a great opportunity for international organizations in playing the brokering and match-making role. The UN can also offer a platform on innovative solutions in the health sector. Health solutions are sometimes surprisingly simple, and they work particularly well when they are designed by or with support of the users. With regards to innovation, it would be useful to discuss innovation work in more detail in the future.

Amb. Galo Yepez, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador, stressed that the global development agenda must be aligned with national needs and be based on national ownership. In Ecuador, a new constitution was approved in 2008 giving more rights to nature and people. Dialogue must be carried out first among national authorities and then with international bodies. “We need to speak the same language”, he emphasized. It would be useful to create a cooperation fund. Best practices that Ecuador can share with other countries include support to the disabled (establishing baselines, their location in the country and the provision of support), food labelling (to inform the population on health benefits of foods), and the provision of health services at border stations regardless of citizenship.

Mr. Dumitru Deac, Director General, RoAid, stressed the multifaceted nature of health. In 1974, Romania hosted the first World Population Conference. What the conference brought to the surface was the close relationship between reproductive well-being and socio-economic indicators. Romania has created several health institutes. One of them is the Eastern European Institute for Reproductive Health. Romania has also experience in drafting clinical guidelines on healthcare in reproductive health, resulting in a critical mass of knowledgeable physicians. These experiences have been shared through a training package with Moldova, for example. Mr. Deac noted that Romania was a member of the G77 for many years and therefore understands the South very well. At the same time, it has the recent experience of accession to the European Union (EU). These experiences are a great advantage of Romania; they can be pulled together and shared with others through South-South and triangular cooperation.

Mr. Paisan Rupanichkij, Deputy Director-General, Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), expressed his satisfaction with the long relationship with UNFPA. For the past six years, TICA has worked in Bhutan on a project on maternal health together UNFPA. Currently, TICA works with UNFPA on midwifery in Myanmar. “Capacity-building is the only way to ensure the sustainability of a project”, he stressed. TICA´s partnership with UNFAP has been a learning process. Some Thai agencies have not worked with international partners before; the collaboration with UNFPA has made them more confident with regards to international cooperation. Mr. Rupanichkij said that “each country has something to share”. In the case of Thailand, this means above all experiences related food, agriculture, tourism and tropical health.

Ms. Silvia Lopez Cabana, South-South Cooperation Specialist of the Social Cohesion and South-South Cooperation Area, Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), informed that SEGIB has been publishing reports on South-South cooperation in Ibero America since 2007. In the beginning, agriculture and health were the main thematic areas. The upcoming report analyzes 1,206 South-South cooperation initiatives, of which 242 were related to the health sector. This is a slight decrease in comparison to previous year. There has also been a change in thematic areas.  This is related mainly to the decrease in transmissible diseases and the advent of new technologies. There is an abundance of best practices in the region. Concrete examples are the scholarship programme offered by Cuba, the fight against cancer in Mexico and Ecuador´s work on intercultural health issues. “Let´s take advantage of the synergies of organizations working on South-South cooperation”, she concluded.

Mr. Ian McFarlane, Deputy Regional Director of UNFPA´s Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, identified three challenges related to South-South cooperation in health. First, there is “new business” (e.g. Thailand has become an aging society). Second, we there is unfinished business that must be addressed (e.g. every day 800 women still die in childbirth). Third, we must see how to achieve the SDGs. He noted that the UN had dramatically increased its intersectional and inter-agency work. “Innovation must work for all”, Mr. McFarlane said quoting the UN Secretary-General. This is an area in terms of going forward in South-South cooperation where the UN can offer a platform on innovative solutions in the health sector. In Tanzania and Ethiopia, for example, UNFPA developed a very effective mobile learning tool for midwives that can be used even in the most remote areas. In Kyrgyzstan and Moldova, young people themselves have designed an app to understand sexual and reproductive health. At the next event, it would be useful to discuss more about innovations and how we can learn better (and how we can “fail forward”).

Mr. Carlos Andres Emanuele, Country and Subregional Coordination Office, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization, said South-South cooperation has the potential to become a vital tool to achieve health actions. PAHO has restructured its financing mechanisms for South-South cooperation so that it can become a catalyst and serve as seed funding to raise additional funds. All of PAHO´s interventions are country-led to harness political will. PANHO believes there is a great opportunity for international organizations in playing the brokering and match-making role. “This is where we can add the most value to our member states”, he said. International organizations can also help their member countries reflect on whether a challenge is better solved collectively or not. There is a great opportunity in consolidating monitoring frameworks for monitoring and evaluation. Lastly, Mr. Emanuel mentioned one of the most prominent initiatives in relation to SDG 3 in the spirit of South-South cooperation, the “More Doctors” programme between Cuba and Brazil. So far, it has improved the lives of 40 million people.

 

[1] Afghanistan, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cote d´Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Yemen.