New York – The first volume of the South-South In Action series, jointly published by the Royal Thai Government and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), was launched during a panel discussion at United Nations headquarters in New York. Over 150 government delegates, UN officials, and other partners were in attendance.
“South-South In Action is an important component of our new vision at the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, where we are working toward becoming a robust knowledge hub providing advisory and programmatic services to Member States, UN entities, IGOs, NGOs and other stakeholders on South-South and triangular cooperation,” said Mr. Jorge Chediek, Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation and Director of UNOSSC, during his opening remarks.
The new volume, entitled “Sustainability in Thailand: Experience for Developing Countries”, provides a picture of Thailand’s engagement in South-South and triangular cooperation based upon His Majesty the late King Bhumibol of Thailand’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy.
“The King’s notion of Sufficiency Economy is more a practice – a model for sustainable development that focuses on transforming the economics of exploitation into the economics of moderation and resilience,” Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Don Pramudwinai explained during a speech at UN headquarters in January 2016. Sufficiency Economy Philosophy seeks to “harmonise the economic, social and environmental aspects of development.”
“This philosophy inspires and fits the vision agreed by the global community in 2015, centred around the concept of sustainable development,” said Mr. Chediek, emphasizing that “Sufficiency Economy is sustainable development.”
Speaking to delegates at the launch, H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai said, “It is Thailand’s honour to be chosen by the UNOSSC as the first country to be featured in its publication series; and to be given the opportunity to recount our journey from aid recipient to emerging donor status.”
A major principle of South-South cooperation is that all countries, even developing countries big and small, have something to offer. To highlight this, UNOSSC’s South-South In Action series has set out to tap the vast reservoir of experiences among Southern countries.
Each publication aims to describe a country’s unique knowledge and experiences, its positive impact and its reception and efficacy in resolving developmental challenges.
Mr. Chediek invited all partners present to avail themselves of the opportunity to engage with UNOSSC on future editions of South-South In Action. “We would like to deepen the scope of thinking and facilitate broader knowledge exchanges of your development successes and lessons learned,” he said.
The launch was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Ms. Inyang Ebong-Harstrup, Deputy Director of UNOSSC, on the theme Thailand had chosen as Chair of the Group of 77 for 2016: “From Vision to Action: Inclusive Partnership for Sustainable Development”.
H.E. Mr. Martín Garcia Moritán, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations, noted that the General Assembly has called for a United Nations conference on South-South cooperation – and accepted Argentina’s generous offer to host this conference – in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action.
H.E. Mr. Amrith Rohan Perera, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, described how Sri Lanka has benefited from its South-South collaboration with Thailand, specifically in the agricultural area.
Mrs. Suphatra Srimaitreephithak, Director-General of Thailand’s International Cooperation Agency (TICA), explained how Sufficiency Economy Philosophy become a pillar of Thailand’s South-South cooperation work, and how Thailand has over the past years been able to contribute to the development of other developing countries through SEP.
Concluding his remarks, Mr. Chediek quoted His Majesty the late King Bhumibol, saying, “Sufficiency is moderate action within our means and thorough consideration which will lead to fruitful results.”
Following the launch in New York, the publication was launched in Cotonou, Benin, and Geneva, Switzerland.