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Friday, January 15, 2021
Jorge Chediek is Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 10 2019 (IPS) - Climate change is the defining challenge of our time, and developing countries are recognized as hotspots for climatic risks. Through solidarity, peer-to-peer learning and collective self-reliance, developing countries are collaborating among themselves to address the threat.
Good practices in South-South cooperation are viable pathways to accelerate progress on the SDGs. Developing countries can benefit significantly from Southern solutions that can address both climate change as well as multiple other crosscutting development challenges through South-South collaboration.
At stake, if we don’t act together, are recent gains in the fights against poverty, hunger and disease, and the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the global South.
Despite international commitment to climate action, there is much work to do. Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and related frameworks such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change will require engagement from all stakeholders, at all levels and in all countries, leveraging their diverse and unique advantages.
“We need more concrete plans, more ambition from more countries and more businesses,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said during the 2019 Climate Action Summit in September. “We need all financial institutions, public and private, to choose, once and for all, the green economy.”
The Secretary-General took the opportunity of the Buenos Aires High-Level Conference on South-South Cooperation to emphasize that crosscutting South-South collaboration is central to implementing the Paris Agreement.
Southern populations, including those in the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing States, have been those most intensely affected by a changing climate. As such, adaptation and mitigation are not new practices in the South.
The International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation – working together with China and the Netherlands – is fostering the industrial use of low-emission climate-resilient bamboo in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. India has been leading the world in its pursuit of enhanced solar energy capacity through the International Solar Alliance.
BioInnovate Africa is developing a gel fuel from local organic fruit waste as an affordable and low-carbon emission alternative to firewood and charcoal. In Latin America, cities are working closely together – Santiago´s resilience office is working with its Mexico City counterpart to prepare risk maps for their respective communities.
Scaling up of South-South and triangular cooperation, as a complement to North-South cooperation, is vital for impactful climate action.
Increasingly the countries of the South are looking to the United Nations system for support to expand and capitalize upon the potential of their successes. Over 20 UN entities, including UNOSSC, are collaborating with China to ensure the sustainability, the ‘greening’, of the Belt and Road Initiative.
The India-UN Development Partnership Fund, among 40+ projects, is supporting 7 Pacific island countries to develop climate early warning systems, together with relevant UN counterparts.
UNOSSC is leading and coordinating the implementation of the South-South Cooperation Action Plan of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Change Engagement Strategy.
In this context, UNOSSC has created the South-South Galaxy global knowledge sharing and partnership-brokering platform, enabling sharing of home grown, contextually appropriate solutions in the spirit of mutual respect and understanding.
I look forward to co-hosting the annual High-Level Forum on South-South Cooperation on Climate Change during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid on 11 December and call on all development partners to join forces for advancing this important agenda together.
At the Forum we will showcase how bioeconomy and successful South-South and triangular cooperation contribute to the achievement of Nationally Determined Contribution targets in developing countries; we will discuss bamboo as substitute for plastics; and we will scale-up city-to-city partnerships to share evidence-based demand-driven good practices.
It is now time for the global community to move from ambition to action. The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation stands ready to engage with all partners to ensure that South-South and triangular partnerships are supported towards building an equitable and sustainable future.
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