The GSSD Expo, as a platform for systematic showcasing of development solutions at the global and regional levels, was endorsed by the UN General Assembly Member States through the Nairobi Outcome Document in the last High-level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation, held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2009. It is designed to showcase successful evidence-based initiatives created by developing countries in the Global South to address development challenges. It provides a powerful platform for development actors to showcase their development solutions, celebrate successes, share knowledge and lessons learned, explore new avenues for collaboration and initiate new partnership efforts.
The GSSD Expo is a direct response to the expressed needs of stakeholders from the global South to further scale up proven development solutions and best practices that contribute to sustainable development. It amplifies and celebrates the collective effort and impact of showcasing development solutions and best practices that puts together all development actors – policy decision-makers, solution providers, solution seekers, and funders/donors – into one single event. It is a place for discussing concrete Solutions that worked rather than discussing problems or offering textbook scenarios. It will bring together principals and representatives of United Nations organizations, developing countries, donor agencies, business and private-sector groups and civil society organizations to systematically showcase evidence-based development solutions and identify concrete ways to scale up and adapt these solutions through South-South and triangular Cooperation in people-centered investment promotion.
Building on past successes and driven by the strong desire of the international community to continue to share and exchange South-South development solutions, the GSSD Expo 2016 will be hosted by the Government of the United Arab Emirates, through its Zayed International Foundation. This year’s Expo will resonate the collective demand of the peoples of the global South to systematically present various models, approaches and tools in South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation that will help the global South realize its shared aspirations for achieving sustainable and equitable development through the sharing and transfer of Southern home-grown development solutions. The solutions presented within the framework of the overarching theme of the Expo “Enhancing Innovation towards Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, will touch upon a variety of thematic areas such as environment, development, youth employment, health, trade, investment, labour and agriculture as well as the fiscal and economic policies that are shaping them and that will determine inclusive sustainable development in the 2030 Agenda.
The most recent GSSD Expo was held in 2014 in Washington D.C, hosted by the Organization of American States. Prior GSSD Expos were hosted by, the United Nations Development Programme in New York (2008), the World Bank in Washington, D.C. (2009), the International Labour Organization in Geneva (2010), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome (2011), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Vienna (2012) and the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya (2013). The GSSD Expo has become an annual event featuring the sponsorship and active participation of more than 25 United Nations organizations, over 100 United Nations Member States, and a large number of private-sector and civil society organizations.
South-South Cooperation and the Sustainable Development Agenda
The dynamism and increasing influence of Southern economies in the areas of industrial growth, trade, investment and technology have fostered new political and economic alliances. The Human Development Report 2014 noted that the global South produces half of the world’s economic output, holds $5 trillion in reserves and accounts for 47 percent of global trade, of which about half is South-South trade. Additionally, several countries of the global South have become economic powerhouses wielding significant regional influence. These countries act as both beneficiaries and benefactors of South-South cooperation, and their specializations in manufacturing, trading and investment are reshaping global and Southern dynamics in trade, investment and development assistance.
Despite the strong performance of many developing countries, poverty eradication remains the greatest challenge facing Southern countries, even the fast-growing emerging economies. South-South cooperation has the potential to facilitate sustainable development while balancing growth with equity, as outlined in the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. New models of development cooperation, based on mutual benefit and solidarity, are being developed by Southern countries, bolstered by improved information technology throughout the South.
South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation are crucial to ensure the success of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), whose focus areas cover issues ranging from poverty eradication, education and equality to climate change, agriculture and infrastructure. South-South cooperation represents a key mechanism for addressing these challenges through coordinated multi-stakeholder initiatives tailored specifically to address the particular challenges faced by countries in the Global South.
Growing Demand for South-South and Triangular Development Solutions
In keeping with the General Assembly’s call to action, developing countries are in agreement that South-South cooperation, when complemented by North-South and triangular cooperation, produces exponential results that impact development beyond development assistance. New areas of cooperation, such as infrastructure development and disaster management, could also potentially produce large dividends. Traditional donors, thus are increasing their support for South-South cooperation through triangular arrangements, complementing and strengthening those partnerships.