South-South and triangular cooperation is one of the important drivers of the regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific and has resulted in increased volumes of South-South trade, foreign direct investment flows and technology transfer. The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other internationally agreed development goals have set new milestones for international community, including the United Nations. The UN General Assembly resolution 71/244 urges the United Nations development system, in consultation with all members States, to increasingly leverage, as appropriate, South-South cooperation to bolster its impact in the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In doing so, the United Nations is requested to enhance its support in the areas where South-South cooperation has proved effective, namely, capacity-building, policy coordination, regional integration, interregional linkages, infrastructure interconnectivity and the development of national productive capacities through exchanges of knowledge and technological innovations.
South-South and triangular cooperation has been a core modality of ESCAP’s work since its inception. Some concrete examples of this collaboration include harnessing space technology services to provide early warning systems for natural disasters through the ESCAP Multi-donor Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disasters and Climate Preparedness; broadening regional trade and investment research and knowledge base through the Asia Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT); and other platforms for the transfer of ideas and knowledge.
Bringing together the governments and other stakeholders from the region, ESCAP, United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation and the Thailand International Cooperation Agency convened the Regional Consultation on South-South Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific (27-29 June 2018, Bangkok). The meeting established the Asia-Pacific Forum of Directors- General of Technical Cooperation for South-South and Triangular Cooperation, or the “DG Forum.” The Forum is expected to play a vital role in shaping the region’s perspectives and promoting innovative partnerships and approaches to make South-South cooperation more effective and demand-driven in the lead-up and after the Second United Nations High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40), in March 2019 in Buenos Aires.