Momentum grows for strengthened South-South Cooperation
Momentum grows for strengthened South-South Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific to fight hunger and improve food security and nutrition
2 July 2015, Bangkok, Thailand – Government Ministers and senior officials from 24 countries, along with international development partners and UN specialized agencies, have gathered in Bangkok to discuss ways to strengthen South-South Cooperation.
The Asia-Pacific Regional Consultation on South-South Cooperation is convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
“The purpose of this consultation is to provide a platform for representatives of national governments, regional and international institutions and other stakeholders to share their experiences and identify opportunities to bridge the technological gap in the food and agriculture sectors,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.
Konuma stressed the importance of South-South Cooperation (SSC), as a cost-effective and increasingly popular mechanism for sharing knowledge, resources and developing capacities among developing countries.
“Through South-South Cooperation, we can promote and exchange experiences and learn from each other,” Konuma said. “Many countries pass through all levels of experiences and challenges on their way to greater development so we can all learn from their experiences.”
Konuma congratulated FAO member countries for helping the Asia-Pacific region achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG-1c) on reducing the proportion of hunger by half by 2015, but he noted the region still has 12 percent of its people undernourished and so more work is needed. “Moving toward zero hunger, South-South Cooperation can help us achieve that zero goal as we learn from countries that have met the MDG hunger target,” Konuma said.
Indeed, Konuma pointed out that countries of the global South have been assisting each other for many years, recalling how a few decades ago ten thousand farmers in Indonesia had organized to gather funds that were donated to farmers in Africa.
“The Asia-Pacific region has recognized the importance of collaboration between countries of the Global South even as far back as the 1950’s,” Konuma said. “The Bandung Afro-Asia Conference, held in Indonesia in 1955, recognized the urgency of promoting economic cooperation among the global south and signalled the beginning of a trend, which was to have a profound influence on future international cooperation.”
Other speakers, including H.E. Hon. Le Mamea Ropati Mualia, Samoa’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and Vichit Chitvimarn, Deputy Director-General of Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), called for greater cooperation and promotion of SSC, and business models of resource partners made more flexible and cost effective with SSC mainstreamed into the work of multilateral institutions.
It is anticipated that the main stakeholders in this regional consultation will identify priority areas of work, appropriate modalities for cooperation and exchange of effective experiences, and share development solutions that are sustainable while benefiting those that need it most in the common goal to reach Zero Hunger across the region.