Non-Aligned Movement has stressed the significance of South-South cooperation. NAM 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.
According to the United Nations, South-South cooperation refers to the technical cooperation among developing countries in the Global South. It is a tool used by the states, international organizations, academics, civil society and the private sector to collaborate and share knowledge, skills and successful initiatives in specific areas such as agricultural development, human rights, urbanization, health and climate change.
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 Funds projects in close collaboration with partnering governments.
A sum of US$100 million over the next decade has been committed by the Government of India for this fund to support demands from developing countries. An additional sum of US$50 million over the next five years has been committed by the Government of India for partnerships with developing country members of the Commonwealth.
The $150-million Fund has 33 active projects implemented by seven UN agencies. In the last 18 months, it has made significant strides in advancing the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in small-island developing states, least developed countries and land-locked developing countries. The Fund supports development projects and partnerships in Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America, ranging across varied thematic areas like climate resilience, environmental sustainability, gender equality, renewable energy, improving women’s and maternal health, water and sanitation, education, employment and livelihoods, disaster recovery and risk management agricultural development, and infrastructure.
The India-UN Development Partnership Fund has been actively engaged in South-South cooperation since its inception. A few recent initiatives may be mentioned here. In Ghana, Government of India-funded project “Reinforce the Resilience of the Vulnerable Populations in the Regions of the Kanem and Lake Chad”, implemented by UNDP in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy, Water and Fishing, is focused on restoring degraded lands and improving water and sanitation facilities in the region. The total budget for this project under the India-UN Development Partnership Fund is US$600,000, after the Government of India approved an additional US$300,000 to contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of the vulnerable populations through the sanitation of their environment.
In March 2019, during a meet in Buenos Aires to provide an impetus for South-South cooperation and shape its complementary role within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the India-UN Fund launched new projects with the governments of The Gambia and Togo. The initiative Using Drones and Early Warning Systems for Pre- and Post-Floods Disaster Management in the Gambia Drones establishes an end-to-end flood warning system by introducing state of the art technology and building national networks and capacities to rapidly identify risks and damages.
The project “Sustainable Development through Biodiversity-friendly Livelihoods – Supporting Rural Communities in the Vicinity of Fazao-Malfakassa National Park” in Togo, stimulates and diversifies the local economy by supporting youth and women entrepreneurship in biodiversity related livelihoods, such as beekeeping, snail rearing, mushroom farming or eco-tourism. These are the first two projects under the India-UN Fund to begin implementation through UNESCO. They were formulated by the government of Gambia and Togo in line with their national priorities and benefitting from UNESCO’s technical and administrative support and funding by the Government of India.