(Photos by Zhao Yipu)
Bangkok (People’s Daily) - Over 120 representatives from Asia-Pacific countries, other members of the diplomatic corps in Thailand including ambassadors from China, India and Indonesia, and members of the United Nations family jointly celebrated the UN Day for South-South Cooperation on September 12. The high-level regional commemoration in Bangkok celebrated South-South Cooperation and its role in fostering sustainable development.
Jointly organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), and the Government of Thailand (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the commemoration marked the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (BAPA).
In his opening remarks, Kaveh Zahedi, deputy executive secretary of ESCAP, highlighted the fundamental role South-South cooperation has played in the Asia-Pacific region. “South-South cooperation has been at the heart of ESCAP’s work since its inception,” said Zahedi.
In the beginning of his speech, Lyu Jian, ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Thailand, praised the Buenos Aires Plan of Action and South-South cooperation. “Lyu said that it is specially inspiring that South-South cooperation has not only helped the collective rising of emerging economies, but also ensued new development patterns and doctrines.
“China has actively advocated and participated in international development cooperation in the past 60 years. In recent years, China has been even more active in advocating global or regional initiatives and institutions including the Belt and Road Initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China-UN Peace and Development Trust-Fund, China South-South Cooperation Fund, China-ASEAN Fund, Lancang-Mekong Special Fund and so on,” Lyu said.
He also mentioned that last week in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared another $60 billion worth of assistance to Africa countries at the China-Africa Cooperation Forum. In addition, a new debt exemption scheme for least developed and heavily indebted countries in Africa was announced.
“All above mentioned public products and goodwill gestures have demonstrated the strong commitment of China to international development. They also injected new impetus to South-South cooperation,” Lyu said.
In his address representing the Thailand minister of foreign affairs, Vijavat Isarabhakdi, advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, stressed the importance of partnership which is the spirit of South-South and triangular cooperation. It is with this same spirit that the United Nations was created.
“As we now look ahead toward the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in March next year, it is important to remind ourselves that in order to achieve sustainable development, we must face the challenges together and work together as one through sustainable partnerships,” said Isarabhakdi.
”We are confident that the Asia-Pacific region will continue to make contributions to the new global agenda with renewed commitment to South-South cooperation,” said Jorge Chediek, envoy of the UN Secretary General for South-South Cooperation and director of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) in a video message.
“The attributes of South-South cooperation have been clearly demonstrated by this region. Countries and partners acting in solidarity drive forward the idea of ‘leaving no one behind’ and inspire the vision of a ‘sustainable shared future’,” added Deirdre Boyd, UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative in Thailand.
The event also saw the recognition of some significant contributions to South-South cooperation in the region by the Regional Office of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation. Ambassadors and other senior representatives from Bangladesh, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Thailand and the Asia Foundation related their achievements and shared perspectives on the future of South-South cooperation, ahead of the second UN High-Level Conference on South-South Cooperation.