The UN Framework for the Immediate Socio-Economic Response to the COVID 19 Crisis warns that “The COVID-19 pandemic is far more than a health crisis: it is affecting societies and economies at their core.” Globally, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is more than 22 million; with 777,439 deaths as of 18th August 2020. The economic impact of COVID-19 could increase global poverty for the first time in three decades, pushing more than half a billion people into poverty. Civil society organisations and NGOs throughout the global South have stepped up by playing a key role in supporting vulnerable communities during this time through food pack distributions, supplying Personal protective equipment, giving trauma and mental health support, supporting bereaved families with burial arrangements etc. Developing countries have responded to support each other, particularly LDCs, SIDS and LLDCs with agility and solidarity, to address the COVID-19 pandemic and related challenges within the framework of South-South cooperation.
From 20-22 March 2019, the Second United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It commemorated the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (BAPA) at the UN Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries which had been held also in Buenos Ares in 1978. With the outcome document of BAPA+40 it is clear that inclusivity and partnerships, gender equality and climate change are all recognized as key focus areas for South-South cooperation. An integral part of SSC modalities will be to develop multi stakeholder partnerships and capacity building of civil society. BAPA +40 outcome document also recognizes the important link between the contribution of the global South and the achievement of the UN SDGs by 2030.
The BAPA+40 Outcome document also recognizes the importance of involving multiple stakeholders in achievement of SDGs through South-South and triangular cooperation. It recognizes the value of inclusive multi-stakeholder approaches to South-South and triangular cooperation led by Member States whereby governments create enabling environments that mobilize collective action by a growing number of diverse actors in South-South and triangular cooperation. It invites all relevant stakeholders to share their knowledge and experience in poverty reduction policies and strategies to intensify efforts towards the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions through South-South and triangular cooperation. It also calls on all relevant stakeholders to strengthen the efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by – promoting the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainability, including in all South-South and triangular cooperation policies and activities to ensure a more holistic and coherent approach to sustainable development.
The Alliance of NGOs and CSOs for South-South Cooperation (ANCSSC) is an international network of NGOs and CSOs with more than 250 members globally.
NGOs and CSOs do vital work in building community resilience, which is changing the world on both big and small scales. In todays ‘normal ‘ the role of NGOs and CSOs is even more critical in seeing us through this pandemic. The ANCSSC and the UNOSSC will collaborate on a webinar to explore possible solutions and practical ways that NGOs and CSOs can tackle the COVID-19 situation and how we can move forward from a health and socio-economic perspective.
Moderator: Mr. Tarik Iziraren, UNOSSC
1- Opening Remarks: