The eleventh edition of the United Nations Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo), an event highlighting Southern innovations in tackling crosscutting challenges, opened in Bangkok with a resounding call for leveraging South-South and triangular cooperation for sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing other challenges toward achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Taking place from 12 to 14 September, the GSSD Expo 2022 is co-organised by the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).
“The world is at a critical time. The pandemic, the climate crisis, the longstanding and new conflicts, economic inequalities and rising inflation are jeopardizing many of the development gains we have struggled for decades to achieve,” said H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the General Assembly in his opening message to the GSSD Expo. “Without the Global South’s comprehensive recovery, we cannot get back on track to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We will need their energy, ingenuity, and cooperative spirit.”
“South-South and cooperation are critical for developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate disruption, address the global health crisis, including COVID-19 recovery, and achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” said Mr. António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General. “South-South and triangular cooperation must play an ever-increasing role in resolving our common challenges.”
H.E. Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, opened the conference by pointing out that “We, as global community, must pull together if we aspire to a more livable and prosperous world thus fulfilling our promise of leaving no one behind… The GSSD Expo 2022 provides a valuable forum for us to exchange new ideas, share adaptable solutions, reinforce existing networks and explore new partnerships for development cooperation.”
In her opening speech, Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP underscored that, “South-South cooperation has gained increased importance in accelerating sustainable development. Countries in Asia and the Pacific have achieved remarkable socio-economic development and technological progress. Many are now providing technical assistance and development finance; and sharing innovative approaches to assist other countries of the South to advance sustainable development.”
“This is a moment to highlight how South-South and triangular cooperation continue to power solutions to some of the world’s most persistent development challenges,” said Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. “At the United Nations Development Programme, South-South and triangular cooperation are embedded in our development support across the globe.”
Since its inception in 2008, the GSSD Expo has actively showcased and promoted best practices from hundreds of partner countries, United Nations agencies, private sector enterprises and civil society organizations. Past Expos have taken place in New York, Washington DC, Geneva, Rome, Vienna, Nairobi, Dubai, and Antalya.
More than 50 booths make up the Expo exhibition, which is being shared in a virtual format as well. One of the most significant exhibitions over several Expos showcases the work of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Facility for poverty and hunger alleviation (IBSA Fund). This year, senior officials from the three countries participated in the launch of the IBSA exhibition.
“We are happy to leverage digital technology to organize this expo in a hybrid mode with expansive participation and connect partners globally and across the UN system through South-South and triangular cooperation,” said Ms. Xiaojun Grace Wang, UNOSSC Head of Delegation.