Image credit: UNOSSC - Photo: 2017

UN and Thailand Launch ‘South-South In Action’ Series

By J Nastranis

NEW YORK (IDN) – The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) has launched a publication series – ‘South-South In Action’ – purported to highlight the vast reservoir of developing country experiences and how these are enhancing South-South cooperation.

The first volume of the series, jointly published by the Royal Thai Government and the UNOSSC was presented at the UN headquarters in New York on January 12, one day before the Southeast Asian country handed the annual Chair of the Group of 77 (G77) and China over to Ecuador.

“South-South In Action is an important component of our new vision at the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, where we are working toward becoming a robust knowledge hub providing advisory and programmatic services to Member States, UN entities, IGOs, NGOs and other stakeholders on South-South and triangular cooperation,” said Jorge Chediek, Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation and Director of UNOSSC, in his opening remarks.

The new volume, entitled Sustainability in Thailand: Experience for Developing Countries, focuses on Thailand’s engagement in South-South and triangular cooperation based upon the late King Bhumibol of Thailand’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP).

“The King’s notion of Sufficiency Economy is more a practice – a model for sustainable development that focuses on transforming the economics of exploitation into the economics of moderation and resilience,” explained Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai in an address at UN headquarters. Sufficiency Economy Philosophy seeks to “harmonise the economic, social and environmental aspects of development,” he said.

“This philosophy inspires and fits the vision agreed by the global community in 2015, centred around the concept of sustainable development,” said Chediek, emphasizing that “Sufficiency Economy is sustainable development”.

Don Pramudwinai said at the launch: “It is Thailand’s honour to be chosen by the UNOSSC as the first country to be featured in its publication series; and to be given the opportunity to recount our journey from aid recipient to emerging donor status.”

A major principle of South-South cooperation is that all countries, even developing countries big and small, have something to offer. To highlight this, UNOSSC’s South-South In Action series has set out to tap the vast reservoir of experiences among Southern countries.

Each publication would describe a country’s unique knowledge and experiences, its positive impact and its reception and efficacy in resolving developmental challenges.

Chediek invited all partners present to avail themselves of the opportunity to engage with UNOSSC on future editions of South-South In Action. “We would like to deepen the scope of thinking and facilitate broader knowledge exchanges of your development successes and lessons learned,” he said.

The launch was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Inyang Ebong-Harstrup, Deputy Director of UNOSSC, on the theme Thailand had chosen as Chair of the Group of 77 for 2016: “From Vision to Action: Inclusive Partnership for Sustainable Development”.

Martín Garcia Moritán, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Argentina to the UN, noted that the General Assembly had called for a United Nations conference on South-South cooperation – and accepted Argentina’s generous offer to host this conference – in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (TCDC) in September 2018.

Amrith Rohan Perera, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, described how his country had benefited from its South-South collaboration with Thailand, specifically in the agricultural sector.

Suphatra Srimaitreephithak, Director-General of Thailand’s International Cooperation Agency (TICA), explained how Sufficiency Economy Philosophy became a pillar of Thailand’s South-South cooperation work, and how Thailand had over the past years been able to contribute to the development of other developing countries through SEP.

“Sufficiency is moderate action within our means and thorough consideration which will lead to fruitful results,” said Chediek quoting the late King Bhumibol. [IDN-InDepthNews – 29 January 2017]

Image credit: UNOSSC

This article is part of IDN’s media project jointly with Global Cooperation Council and DEVNET Japan.

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