Rome/Beijing – Effective cooperation between countries in the Global South and other development partners is critical in reversing the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic which is pushing more people into poverty and hunger.
This was one of the main messages that resonated today from an international high-level event on South-South and Triangular Cooperation co-organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.
Titled “Strengthening South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Global Agricultural Development”, the hybrid high-level event was held in the context of the recent launch of Phase III of the FAO-China South-South Cooperation Programme, which supports countries’ national development goals, including by helping to solve constraints that farmers face. It achieves this by providing technical cooperation among countries in the Global South, including the sharing of knowledge, skills and successful initiatives in specific areas, such as agricultural development and addressing the impacts of the climate crisis, that contribute to food security, poverty reduction and the sustainable management of natural resources.
“South-South and Triangular Cooperation is one of the key channels to address the challenges posed by global hunger, malnutrition, poverty and inequality,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu in his opening remarks. “Global solidarity is vital,” he added, noting that around 811 million people go hungry every day, and about 3 billion do not have access to healthy diets.
“Walking alone may not be fast, but walking together will definitely take us far,” said China’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, TANG Renjian. He noted that China believes in a shared future for mankind and looks forward to working with FAO and other partners to strengthen exchanges and deepen cooperation, contributing to the mission of fighting hunger and poverty alleviation.
The FAO Director-General pledged that FAO will continue to strengthen its partnerships to harness the full potential of South-South and Triangular Cooperation to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs by focusing its efforts on the following five key areas: (i) science, technology and innovation; (ii) agriculture and emergencies; (iii) financial investment; (iv) diversified support; and (v) collaboration and partnerships.
In particular, Qu thanked China for its “generous and consistent contributions” to the Programme and pledged that FAO will continue working to engage more closely with the private sector on responsible investment and marketing for agrifood systems, including through the Hand-in-Hand Initiative.
In her remarks, The Gambia’s Minister for Agriculture, Amie Fabureh, stressed the connection between agriculture and development, and that South-South Cooperation contributed significantly to hunger elimination and the advancement of agriculture.
Mongolia’s Minister for Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, Mendsaikhan Zagdjav; Sri Lanka’s Minister for Agriculture, Mahindananda Aluthgamage; and Uganda’s Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Frank K. Tumwebaze, in messages sent to the event underscored the vital importance of sustainable development and how South-South Cooperation can help countries through the sharing of experiences and technologies.
Other participants in the event included representatives from the International Fund for Agricultural Development the World Food Programme and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, Senior Agricultural Officers from Oman, as well as Ambassadors to China and Permanent Representatives to the UN Rome-based agencies from Argentina, the Netherlands and Samoa.
FAO-China South-South Cooperation (SSC) Programme
As one of FAO’s main South-South partners in food and agriculture, China has contributed a significant amount of knowledge, experiences and good practices, policies, technology, and resources to assist developing countries facing a variety of challenges.
The FAO-China SSC Programme began in 2009 when a $30 million FAO-China Trust Fund was established. In 2015, China contributed a new $50 million for Phase II. Following the recent signature of the General Agreement of the Trust Fund (Phase III) between the Government of China and FAO in 2021, an additional $50 million fund was injected to support Phase III.
FAO-China SSC projects currently operate in 20 countries, including Uganda and The Gambia, and have seen the deployment of over 1000 experts to countries in the Global South. The Programme has reached more than 100,000 direct beneficiaries and several hundred thousand indirect beneficiaries at grassroots level in rural areas.
FAO’s role in South-South and Triangular Cooperation
FAO has been at the forefront of South-South and Triangular Cooperation for over 40 years, with extensive experience, a wide network, and a large portfolio of cooperation initiatives. Through this form of cooperation, FAO brings together countries, facilitates dialogue and provides a framework for cooperation, in addition to providing extensive technical capacity and resources.
FAO’s Guidelines for Action 2022-25 provide a framework for scaling-up technical and financial partnerships like South-South and Triangular Cooperation. With its Strategic Framework 2022-31, FAO is leading global efforts towards the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agrifood systems, for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all – leaving no one behind.