Roundtable discussion: The critical role of South-South Cooperation in delivering the SDGs for children and young people

On 27 November 2018, UNICEF and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), in collaboration with the Governments of Argentina, Thailand and Uganda and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), co-organized a roundtable on maximizing the role of South-South Cooperation (SSC) in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for children. This was a side event of the annual South-South Development Expo which took place in New York on 28-30 November 2018.

Jorge Chediek, Director and Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation, encouraged all participants to validate SSC as a tool and key instrument to support the 2030 agenda, and conveyed the message that more financial and institutional resources are required to overcome the obstacles, and to ensure engagement of additional partners to showcase the usefulness of SSC in achieving the SDGs.

During the roundtable discussions, Laurence Chandy, Director of UNICEF Division of Data, Research and Policy, outlined the challenges to achieve the SDGs for children and the untapped potential of SSC to address these. He made a case for the critical role of SSC in delivering results for children and that children should be a strong focus of SSC, in addition to the more traditional focus areas of SSC.

Representatives of Health Ministries of Cuba and Thailand showcased their experiences in successfully eliminating the mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT) of HIV and syphilis. UNICEF shared WASH approaches and experience in leveraging SSC to deliver SDG 6 and UNICEF’s plan to end open defecation by 2030.The International Organization for Migration (IOM) shared the key issues related to South-to-South migration and its impact on youth.

UNICEF also presented on experiences in Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD), introducing the mobile health monitoring tool RapidPro that supports collection of real-time information on health, education and child protection. RapidPro was developed in the South, expanded by countries in in the South and is now also being adopted in the North. 

The IsDB shared its experience as a connector and catalyst in providing support and building capacity in priority areas using the Reverse Linkage conceptual framework, and presented some ideas for using Reverse Linkage for children and young people.

All in all more than 70 participants attended the discussion, including high level government officials, international organizations, academic and media representatives as well as colleagues from UNICEF and UNOSSC.

Find UNOSSC’s summary of the side event and other pre-Expo discussions here

The presentations made at the roundtable are available through the links below in the Community of Practice on SSC for Children:

Presentation 1. UNICEF SSC and Children
Presentation 2. Cuba EMTCT
Presentation 3. Thailand EMTCT
Presentation 4.  IOM South-South Migration
Presentation 5. SSC RapidPro
Presentation 6. IsDB Reverse Linkage Mechanism