The entire world is continuing to deal with the global COVID-19 pandemic and the number of people affected by the coronavirus is continuing to rise on a daily basis. The high rate of contagion is putting immense stress on healthcare systems across the world. Many governments have instituted measures to slow the rate of contagion, ranging from localized lockdowns, wearing of masks and observing social distancing to restricting access to collective spaces such as offices, shopping malls and entertainment spaces. Despite these measures, many countries have struggled to contain the pandemic, with the number of cases rising again in countries which had previously reported declining new cases.
It is important to note that, in addition to the impact on the healthcare system, the pandemic is also causing unprecedented damage to the global economy, raising concerns on longer-term effects on the progress many countries had made towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is now apparent that a lot of this progress in terms of reducing poverty, alleviating hunger and strengthening health systems has been reversed, which will lead to a readjustment of priorities in the “Decade of Action”.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic at the national level, majority of the countries of both the global South and the North, also pulled together to address the fallout from this crisis, though it fell short of expectations. International cooperation agencies, under the direction of their governments, airlifted planes full of supplies to many countries while also making available their emergency response teams, as well as their private sector players, to address immediate needs of countries in critical need.
Needless to say, since the start of the pandemic, many challenges emerged, responses were crafted, and lessons have been learnt with respect to various aspects of SSTrC in particular and development cooperation in general. These early lessons, experiences and insights, if studied and analyzed well, can provide a vital source of knowledge to enhance SSTrC approaches and mechanisms, particularly in the context of responding to emergencies, such as the ongoing pandemic, as well as in building resilience in the medium to long-term, and to reduce the negative impacts of emergency situations.
With this overall purpose in mind, the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the South Centre will be co-organizing a webinar entitled “South-South and Triangular Cooperation in the Context of COVID-19 — Lessons, Experiences and Insights for the Future of Development Cooperation”. The event will provide an opportunity to discuss early lessons learned and share experiences from the development cooperation scene in the context of the ongoing pandemic, while looking into specific insights about how South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTrC) has been used so far, and how it can further be strengthened to benefit development cooperation in times of severe and sudden external shocks in the future.
1- Opening Remarks and Setting the Context
2- Session 1: Challenges, Experiences and Lessons Learned from National and Regional Cooperation Agencies/Institutions in the Context of COVID- 19 Pandemic
3- Session 2: How Should SSTrC and Development Cooperation Evolve and Enhance in Light of the Current Pandemic and the Decade of Action?
4- Discussion with participants
5- Closing Remarks