UN Day 2020: Let Knowledge Transcend Differences and Build Connection

October 23, 2020

 Xiaojun Grace Wang, Deputy Director, UNOSSC, highlights the critical role of knowledge sharing in South-South and triangular cooperation to tackle common development challenges.

The United Nations Day this year is different than most. 2020 not only marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and its founding Charter but a year that the world has come together to tackle the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is an important time to reflect on the vital role of international solidarity and the future of inclusive multilateralism in supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Leveraging South-South and triangular cooperation through the mutual sharing of knowledge, skills, learnings and experiences to find solutions to common challenges and tackle development issues is even more needed and critical in today’s context.

Knowledge sharing has become one of the most important and dynamic pillars of South-South and triangular cooperation.  Developing countries are increasingly recognizing scaling-up and adapting Southern solutions through South-South and triangular cooperation as viable pathways to address common transnational challenges and to accelerate progress in the achievement of the SDGs. From countries scaling up sustainable use of agricultural machinery through private sector engagement in Asia to African countries coming together to organize coding camps to equip girls with information technology skills to a Latin American project on rice intensification for sustainable low-carbon agriculture contributing to food security and resilience – the examples of successful collaborations are many!

Launched in September 2019, South-South Galaxy, a global digital knowledge sharing and partnership brokering platform, supported by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), promotes these exceptional South-South and triangular efforts and achievements towards the SDGs, led by Member States, UN organizations and Southern development partners, providing a window to recognize opportunities for collaboration that exist in the Global South. Development partners are able to share solutions that can be replicated and showcase concerted efforts that are bringing about progress through South-South and triangular cooperation.

South-South Galaxy represents UNOSSC’s recognition of the exceptional potential presented by new digital technologies and offers transformational opportunities for enhanced knowledge sharing and collaboration across borders.   By eliminating a significant barrier to entry through digital technology, it is also contributing to the democratization of access to information and to making South-South exchange more horizontal.

And what has been the response to South-South Galaxy? In the past year since its launch, this multi-stakeholder digital platform has over 270 organizations registered, navigating and searching for Southern development solutions, and close to 500 good practices shared for partners to scale up. The knowledge community and partnership base are growing fast, inspiring how concrete solutions can be adapted and replicated in a wider geography.

We have continued to receive positive feedback from partners around the world about the importance of a platform like South-South Galaxy that creates a much-needed space for knowledge sharing, key conversations and connections, but most importantly, a space where Southern partners can come together and collaborate

In September 2020, UNOSSC launched the Good Practices in South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development  Volume 3 publication, featuring 195 good practices, presented by 77 partners including Member States, intergovernmental organizations, UN organizations and development partners – a publication that demonstrates the spirit of solidarity, peer-to-peer learning and collective efforts among countries and partners to address development challenges. All these good practices are also available on South-South Galaxy.

As we mark UN Day this year, let’s celebrate the power of knowledge to transcend differences and transform conflicts into collaboration.  It is only by building bridges and connections that we can collectively contribute to improving the quality of people’s lives across the Global South and beyond.