Placing child rights on the South-South Cooperation agenda

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On November 27-30, the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) organized its ninth Global South-South Development Expo in Antalya Turkey. UNICEF participated in two high-level panels and was represented at global and country levels, with participants from headquarters and the Brazil and Croatia country offices. UNICEF invited a representative from the Regional Centre for studies on the Development of the Information a key implementing partner and founder of the UNICEF-supported Global Kids Online initiative, to participate in the high-level solution forum “Leveraging the Power of Science, Technology And Innovation (STI) for Development through South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation”. The presentation highlighted emerging research being carried out on children the internet and child protection online and how this is being supported through South-South cooperation and multi-stakeholder engagement (government, civil society and academia). This generated several inquiries on how additional countries could participate in the research and policy-level follow up.

As part of the partnership with the Government of Brazil on Trilateral South-South Cooperation for equity and child rights, UNICEF was invited by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) to a high-level side-event, organized by the Government of Brazil, to share how Brazil and the UN work together to further South-South cooperation, with a focus on the added value that UNICEF brings to Brazil as well as to the strategic value that Brazil brings for UNICEF. Representatives from the WFP and FAO also participated in the panel whose overall objectives were to:
1)   Promote a critical reflection on Trilateral South-South Cooperation methodologies involving developing countries and UN Agencies;
2)   Share insights and lessons learned from the implementation of innovative Trilateral South-South Cooperation approach in Brazil;
3)   Promote a debate on the benefits and challenges that Trilateral South-South Cooperation methodologies bring to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with focus on cross-border capacity development and innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships.

The side event was an opportunity to showcase how UNICEF supports SSC in practice, using a structured approach based around child rights and results-based planning and management. It was also an important moment of recognition from the Brazilian Government of the strategic value it sees in the partnership with UNICEF and the  formal interest of ABC to explore means to scale-up the Brazil-UNICEF partnership. In his opening words, the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for South-South Cooperation and Head of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), Mr Jorge Chediek, commended UNICEF on the work that is being done to incorporate SSC into the DNA of the organization and thus embrace SSC as one of the organization’s core strategies globally.

UNICEF also participated in the UN multi-stakeholder meeting to discuss UN coordination on South-South cooperation as well as preparations for the BAPA+40 conference taking place in Buenos Aires in early 2019. Among the issues discussed were how to ground South-South cooperation in the SDG agenda, ensuring that no-one is left behind, as well as how to bring in new partners in SSC beyond governments including private sector organizations, civil society and youth. Another challenge discussed throughout the conference was how to better measure and report on the results achieved through SSC. Not only did the Expo serve as a strategic opportunity to share, learn from and identify innovative SSC initiatives and partners from multiple sectors, but it also provided an opportunity for UNICEF to engage as a key  stakeholder in SSC and to raise the issues of child rights, equity and results-based management in the discussions around the BAPA+40 agenda, which seeks to revisit and set out the key guiding principles for SSC, within the overall framework of the 2030 development agenda.