UNDP: The Importance of the Global South in COVID-19 Recovery

Sep 14, 2021 | 2021 UN Day for SSC, News

As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its third year, it is clear the world faces an uncertain future shaped by economic and social crises. Effective global partnerships at all levels will be vital to surmounting the difficulties thrown up by the pandemic, as well as the climate crisis.

In this context South-South cooperation — partnerships that draw upon the solidarity among peoples and countries of the ‘Global South’ — is more important than ever to breaking the cycle of poverty and instability and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

South-South cooperation is at the heart of UNDP’s support to help countries achieve their development goals. UNDP uses its expertise to foster experience and expertise.

The 2021 commemoration of the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation will focus on how the developing world can promote effective ownership of national development strategies and achievement of the SDGs.

The day marks the anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries.

In 1974, the UN General Assembly created a dedicated unit within UNDP charged with promoting cooperation among developing countries with the aim of building local capacity and boosting self-reliance. Nearly 50 years later, South-South cooperation remains an essential component of UNDP’s work.

The conference marks the 40th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries.

“South-South cooperation represents a shared vision among the peoples and countries of the South that is shaped by close historical realities, similar development pathways, as well as shared challenges. Every country has something to bring to the table in a common attempt to find and share solutions that are both cost-effective and easier to adapt to each country’s unique situation,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.

UNDP’s global network of offices, policy centres and experts support a wide range of partnerships in financing, technology, experience, and expertise all over the world.

Spreading the successful YouthConnekt model across Africa

YouthConnekt was developed in Rwanda in 2012 with the aim of connecting young people to their role models, peers, resources, technologies, skills and economic opportunities. YouthConnekt helps reinforce growth, strengthen and expand leadership and entrepreneurship skills, as well as productive youth employment opportunities. UNDP Africa has developed YouthConnekt in eight countries — Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Liberia, Zambia, Cape Verde, Gambia, and Uganda. It continues to expand the programme across the continent, creating jobs for young Africans and giving the skills to become business leaders.

UNDP’s partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation, focuses on youth entrepreneurship and empowerment in Africa and plans to support 100,000 African entrepreneurs over 10 years.

Youth try out virtual reality headphones at the 2017 YouthConnekt Africa Summit In Kigali, Rwanda. © UNDP / Aude Rossignol

Community members in Cuba help government employees distribute aluminum roofing from UNDP to repair houses after Hurricane Sandy. © UNDP Cuba

Connecting Caribbean islands with Disaster Risk Reduction

Hurricanes are a fact of life in Cuba, and because of climate change they are becoming stronger and more frequent. UNDP is work with governments and communities in Cuba to ensure their Disaster Risk Reduction plans match this new reality. This includes early warning systems, management of natural resources, developing stormproof housing, and supporting the local production of sturdy construction materials.

UNDP programmes are supported by partners such as the European Union, Russia, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Five Caribbean countries, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Dominican Republic and the British Virgin Islands, as well as Talcahuano in Chile are also benefiting from the lessons learned at Cuba’s Risk Reduction Management Centre in vulnerable communities.

Promoting youth leadership in Arab states

The Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) offers one of the region’s most dynamic networks, targeting the intersection of youth, innovation and sustainable development. With a diverse set of partners at the national and regional levels in 14 countries, YLP offers an opportunity to reach people from marginalized backgrounds. The programme has used behavioural insights, Artificial Intelligence and blockchain technology to educate and inspire more than 5,000 young people, especially women. It encourages them to become social innovators, leaders and a powerful force for changein their communities, equipping them to create social enterprises and non-profits.

Mariam Al Kaabi, from the UAE is a member of the Youth Leadership programme (YLP3), a groundbreaking initiative that supports youth to become engaged citizens, innovative problem-solvers, effective leaders and successful agents of change. © UNDP / Freya Morales