Dubai, UAE - A new study by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation and UNDP suggests that the rise of emerging economies in the Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (ECIS) region has created an upward trend in South-South cooperation.
First of its kind, the report on South-South cooperation (SSC) explores how mutual support has intensified over the last twenty years, following the region’s fundamental changes in economic, political, and social structures. The report covers 31 countries and territories*, highlighting the wealth of SSC cooperation in the region, citing many interesting examples of its application, and providing concrete suggestions to national policy-makers and other relevant stakeholders on how to catalayze SSC to achieve their development objectives and the SDGs.
The draft study titled “South-South Cooperation: Towards Sustainable Human Development in ECIS” was presented to delegates this week in a global Expo in Dubai, as part of an open consultation process.
Various UN publications show that in 2013, SSC was estimated to have reached USD 20 billion up from between USD 9.5 billion and USD 12 billion in 2006. A similar trend exists for triangular cooperation.
Introducing the report, Olivier Adam, Deputy Director of UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS, highlighted that the remarkable amount of mutual learning and support among developing and transition countries in ECIS often goes unnoticed. “Several countries in the region have shown leadership in sharing knowledge and expertise, acquired during their own recent transformation process,” he said. “The Astana Regional Civil Service Hub, for instance, is a flagship initiative of the government of Kazakhstan, supported by UNDP, and is helping share knowledge and expertise on public administration issues with some 35 countries around the world.”
The report presents several examples of centres of excellence or similar mechanisms hosted and funded by new EU member states. Several countries in the region have established centers of excellence, often building on their comparative advantages built up during their transition experience. In this way, they make an important contribution to SSC through sharing their knowledge and expertise in a systematic manner, underpinned by mutual learning. Examples include the Public Finance for Development Programme of the Slovak Republic, the Czech-UNDP Trust Fund, the Romania Mobility Fund and a Center of Excellence on EU integration in Croatia.
Mr. Adam also highlighted the important dimension of working with the regional organizations and development banks to support SSC, including UNDP”s growing partnership with the Islamic Development Bank and the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States.
South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation have received recognition in key international documents adopted recently, including in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (2015) and the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 (2015).
The report also maps the key regional groupings and organizations with members among ECIS countries. According to the authors, South-South cooperation in the region is mainly delivered through peer-to-peer networks, knowledge platforms, centres of excellence and demand-based facilities.
Along with a mapping of South-South cooperation in the region country by country, by themes and corresponding SDGs, examples of funding opportunities are also listed in the study. A checklist that comes with the study provides the reader with an opportunity to assess country’s capacity assets and challenges with regards to South-South cooperation.
The report highlights that UN can be a vital partner in South-South cooperation and provide tailored support with regards to capacity development, knowledge brokering and facilitation.
* The report covers Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo (UN Security Resolution 1244), Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, the Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
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