The Non-Aligned Movement has stressed that South-South Cooperation is a collective endeavour of developing countries based on the principles of solidarity and on the premises, conditions and objectives that are specific to the historical and political context of developing countries and to their needs and expectations and as such South-South cooperation deserves its own separate and independent promotion.

One such significant initiative is the India-UN Development Partnership Fund. Launched in June 2017, the Fund is supported and led by the Government of India, managed by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, and implemented in collaboration with the United Nations system.

The India-UN Development Partnership Fund supports Southern-owned and led demand-driven, and transformational sustainable development projects across the developing world, with a focus on least developed countries and Small Island Developing States. United Nations agencies implement the Fund projects in close collaboration with partnering governments.

The India-UN Fund works with developing countries in the spirit of South-South cooperation, providing assistance in support of achieving national development priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals. Funding support is focused on least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The India-UN Development Partnership Fund is playing a pivotal role in helping the developing nations to cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their economic, health as well as social sectors. The India-UN Development Partnership Fund is working rapidly to support projects responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Projects are supplying medical equipment, and will be building healthcare capacities, mitigating socio-economic impact and catalysing transformative recovery. Thus, the Fund is leveraging the strengths of the UN system to fast-track and implement transformative projects upon the request of developing nations.

In Palau, the Fund will strengthen national health capacities to address the COVID-19 crisis. The purchase of medical supplies, equipment and testing capacity has been approved with a budget of USD 153,000 for UNOPS implementation.

A $1.5 million grant from the India-UN Development Partnership Fund – managed by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation – will support the rehabilitation of six community health centres. Under the collaboration, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) will assist Palau’s Ministry of Health to provide adequate facilities to deliver patient-focused care, and improved and safe working conditions for medical staff – both of which are key to efficient and sustainable healthcare systems that support a healthier population.

In Antigua and Barbuda, the India-UN Partnership Fund has pledged a US$1 million project to strengthen national health capacities and reduce the negative socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is implementing the project in close consultation and collaboration with relevant national authorities, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Immigration, and the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment.

The India-UN fund project will also provide support to assess the socio-economic and human development impacts of the crisis, in particular on women, using short-term measures designed to mitigate the immediate impact of the crisis and improve the ability of women to recover in the medium to long term. This support is deemed crucial as the global pandemic threatens to profoundly deepen inequalities and undo progress on sustainable development and humanitarian response, more broadly.

The India-UN Development Partnership Fund is also playing a key role in strengthening clinical management of COVID- 19 patients and reducing of risk of COVID- 19 transmission among healthcare workers in Guyana.
The Fund will work towards providing key intensive care medical equipment for improved COVID-19 patient care in Guyana, reducing the risk of infection among health workers by securing the provision of adequate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and provide information, education and communication (IEC) materials.

By Dr. Ankit Srivastava

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