The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has been providing a regional platform to facilitate South-South and triangular cooperation among its 62 member States and associate members and address development challenges and opportunities. Historically, ESCAP’s South-South and triangular cooperation activities helped shape its technical assistance programmes, informed its research and analysis, and underpinned its intergovernmental and consensus building work.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has had devastating impact on economies and people across the region, has provided ESCAP with a unique opportunity to focus its energy towards supporting member States to build back better and accelerate its progress towards the 2030 Agenda, keeping South-South and triangular cooperation at the centre of its mission.
One of the center pieces of ESCAP’s South-South and triangular cooperation work is its Asia-Pacific Directors General (DG) Forum for South-South and Triangular Cooperation. Leading-up to the Second High-Level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40), ESCAP jointly established the DG Forum with the Government of Thailand and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) in June 2018. Every year, it brings together the heads of development cooperation and South-South cooperation agencies and units of ESCAP member States to share experiences, good practices, and provide a venue for facilitating collaboration on issues related to South-South and triangular cooperation.
The third and most recent Asia-Pacific DG Forum, held virtually in November 2020, brought together Directors General and other stakeholders from 23 countries in Asia and the Pacific to share experiences concerning their responses to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and exchange national and regional actions to build back better.
In preparation for the fourth Asia-Pacific DG Forum, ESCAP and UNOSSC proposed to promote the exchange of experiences and best practices among member States and to foster new ideas, namely, through (a) the establishment of a South-South Network of Technical Cooperation Providers and (b) the creation of working groups on South-South cooperation to strengthen the functions of the Asia-Pacific DG Forum. These proposals were discussed in bilateral discussions as well as during a Roundtable on Network for South-South Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific, convened as an associated event of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (9th session) in March 2022. The outcome of the Roundtable was taken into account in the present concept note and proposed programme for the fourth Asia-Pacific DG Forum.
The fourth regional DG Forum will be held in conjunction with the Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) in September 2022.