UNOSSC Asia-Pacific Competition Engages Students in Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development

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Young people are particularly well-endowed to find new solutions to accelerate action toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – Jorge Chediek, UNOSSC Director and the Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation

The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) seeks to build partnerships with multi-stakeholders in South-South and triangular cooperation. To this end, its regional office for Asia-Pacific is engaging with multiple higher education institutions to promote entrepreneurship development and building a community of young people concerned with sustainable development and global citizenry toward building awareness on how South-South and triangular can play a role in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

On 25 February 2020, UNOSSC, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) and the Siam Cement Group (SCG) brought together seven teams of students from six universities in Thailand.  Two teams, constituted graduate level students from Mahidol and Thammasat Universities, were selected winners of the first speaking contest centered on the role of triangular cooperation in achieving sustainable development.  Five undergraduate teams, from King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Khon Kaen University, Maejo University, Suranaree University of Technology and a Thammasat University undergraduate team competed for the top spot in delivering their ideas on triangular cooperation. 

UNOSSC Asia-Pacific Competition Opening Remarks

The UNOSSC Director and the Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation, Mr. Jorge Chediek, explained the objectives of the competition, emphasizing the need to engage young people in the sustainable development agenda. He underlined the potential of young people to contribute ideas to solving development challenges due to their mastery of technology.

UNOSSC has put together an initiative called the Youth for South (Y4S): Advanced Youth Leadership Programme to mobilize youth engagement at the global level – Jorge Chediek

Mr. Adnan Aliani, the Director of the ESCAP Strategy and Programme Management Division noted that ESCAP works with youth under many initiatives and that working with the youth is the norm rather than the exception for UNESCAP.

The graduate teams presented strong arguments on the following guiding topic: “Triangular cooperation has been praised by some and at the same time criticized by other people as a development modality. Take one side on the pro or con of the argument.” 

Undergraduate teams supported their positions on the topic: “Given that concepts of South-South and North-South cooperation exist, what is the necessity of triangular cooperation as a modality of development cooperation and sustainable development?”

Although Thammasat and Maejo University were ranked as the top graduate and undergraduate teams respectively by the panel of judges, all the students demonstrated that they had researched the subject of triangular cooperation thoroughly.  They analysed its perceived strengths and challenges as well as its bridging role between South-South and North-South cooperation.  Some even suggested new triangular cooperation projects with influence from their respective study disciplines as well as the then emerging impact of the coronavirus outbreak in the Asia-Pacific region.

For more information, the student competition website can be accessed here: https://unossc.wixsite.com/mysite-1