9 July, Tashkent – The UNOSSC Cities Project, together with China Institute for South-South Cooperation in Agriculture (CISSCA), World Food Programme (WFP) China Centre of Excellence, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Uzbekistan, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) organized a special breakout session on South-South cooperation for agriculture development, at the 2019 Europe and CIS Region Ministerial Conference on Green Economy. Various good practices in SSC for agriculture development and poverty eradication supported by UNOSSC’s multi-stakeholder initiatives were introduced, as well as a new partnership initiative supporting green agriculture development was launched.
The session was entitled “UNOSSC’s Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Approach in supporting South-South Cooperation in Agriculture Development and Poverty Eradication: Case Studies and Experience-Sharing”, and featured the Cities Project recent needs assessment mission to Khajura, a growing rural municipality in the western region of Nepal with an estimated population of 50,000. The session also showcased UNOSSC and IFAD’s joint initiative in facilitating SSC for capacity development and knowledge sharing in green economy and agriculture development
Mr. Jorge Chediek, UNOSSC Director and Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation, and H.E. Mr. Jamshid Khodjaev, Minister of Agriculture Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan attended the event and addressed at the opening segment.
Mr. Chediek, underscored the significance of agriculture activities as it is an essential element for the survival of human civilization. He also recalled the trajectory of South-South cooperation in the agriculture sector: developing countries used to emulate the strategies of the North; but in recent years, countries from the global South themselves have created innovative ways to increase agriculture output and generate value chains. He highlighted that this observation has been enshrined in several high-level policy documents, including the outcome document of the Second United Nations High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) which emphasized, the importance of leveraging South-South and triangular cooperation as an instrument to promote and support industrial and semi-industrial ventures and ensure food security and nutrition.
H.E. Mr. Jamshid Khodjaev shared that SSTC is an effective instrument to establish partnerships with other developing countries, the private sector, and the civil society. Additionally, he highlighted two facts about the agriculture sector in Uzbekistan with the audience. First, fundamental institutional reforms have taken place in the agriculture sector and comprehensive activities, such as introduction of market regulation, development of processing infrastructures, and export policy, have been conducted in Uzbekistan. Second, Uzbekistan has been actively promoting the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) models in the agriculture sector.
UNOSSC Cities Project was highlighted in the first segment. Initiated in 2017, the Cities Project aims to promote SSTC at the city level leveraging the strategic opportunities and resources offered by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Cities Project aligns its support with engagement and ownership of local authorities and stakeholders. It is designed to provide streamlined services including demand-driven needs assessment, capacity development, advisory and advocacy, knowledge and technology transfer, as well as project implementation and co-financing for demonstration purposes. The goal is to support and incubate thematic and sectoral pilot projects. One recent pilot project example was introduced at the session which was initiated through a demand-driven joint needs assessment that was conducted in Khajura in Nepal, that exemplified the multi-stakeholder partnership approach of the Cities Project. The panel at the session also included partners of this particular initiative like Government of Khajura Rural Municipality, CISSCA, and WFP China. Each partner brought to the session their observations and expertise on agriculture development through South-South cooperation and all of them committed their support to this pilot project under the framework of the Cities Project.
The second segment introduced another UNOSSC’s multi-stakeholder initiative, the South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Agricultural Development and Enhanced Food Security project (SSTC-ADFS). Mr. Naoufel Telahigue, Head of the Regional Hub and Country Director for Morocco and Armenia of IFAD and Mr. Alisher Shukurov, Assistant FAO Representative for Uzbekistan made insightful remarks at the session. They informed the participants that the next phase of the partnership would be supported through the IFAD-China South-South Cooperation facility and intends to promote exchange in innovative green agricultural technologies from China to the participating countries.
In the third segment, perspectives were shared by multiple stakeholders, including international organizations/UN agencies, the private sector, think tanks, and research institutes. Mr. Hurshid Rustamov, Head of the Sustainable Development Cluster of UNDP Uzbekistan Country Office, gave a presentation on UNDP’s experience in community based rural development in the Aral Sea region, Mr. Victor Tseng, Vice President of Pinduoduo Inc. (a partner of CISSCA) showed the company’s online networks and E-commerce platforms to support poverty alleviation and rural development; Prof. Fengying Nie, Deputy Director-General, Center for International Agricultural Research, Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences (CAAS) elaborated on the role of E-commerce in poverty reduction in rural China.
The session concluded with the signing of partnership between CISSCA and Khajura Rural Municipality of Nepal. Under the framework of this partnership, Khajura Municipality and CISSCA agreed to cooperate to support green agriculture development in Khajura and facilitate mutual learning and exchange of good practices in rural-urban development between Khajura and cities from China and the region.