Hurt disproportionately by the COVID-19 pandemic, developing countries have come together to deepen their efforts to eradicate poverty and boost cooperation. Spearheading the drive for new South-South partnerships is an agreement to set up a globe-spanning think-tank network focused on these priorities.
Abdulla Shahid, president of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, highlighted the significance of South-South cooperation, especially when the world faces extreme poverty and chronic hunger exacerbated by the impacts of climate change and COVID-19.
“We should recognize that threats posed by the pandemic, climate change and others are without borders and we must lend a helping hand to our neighboring countries and communities,” he said.
“We are in the same boat,” Shahid stressed in calling for improved cooperation.
He made the remarks at a seminar titled South-South Cooperation on Leveraging Knowledge and Good Practice Sharing for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development. The event was held online and in-person in Beijing on Friday.
Co-hosted by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, or UNOSSC, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, or CASS, the event was attended by more than 120 international experts and scholars representing think tanks from developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Data shows that for many developing countries, poverty is still a stumbling block on their road to a future in which they can thrive.
According to the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2021, issued by the United Nations Development Programme and the Oxford Poverty& Human Development Initiative this month, 1.3 billion people in 109 developing countries are poor in ways that are deemed multidimensional.
COVID-19 has only made things worse. The World Bank predicts that the pandemic and the associated economic crisis could push between 71 million and 100 million people into extreme poverty.
Poverty does not only refer to people with low incomes, said Carlos Correa, executive director of The South Centre. It is also about people getting a good education and having access to technological gadgets, in order to live a decent life.
CASS President Xie Fuzhan told the seminar that China”s practice of pulling people out of absolute poverty has directly aided the cause of global poverty reduction, making major contributions to the goal of sustainable development in the world and promoting a community with a shared future for mankind.
At the forum, UNOSSC and CASS signed a memorandum of understanding to formalize a partnership and establish the Global Coalition of Think Tank Networks for South-South Cooperation.
Xie said the Chinese academy will work with other parties to deepen exchanges and cooperation in eliminating poverty and realize the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Peter Kagwanja, chief executive of the Africa Policy Institute, which is joining the network, praised China’s support for low-income countries.
“China has lent a helping hand to many developing countries,” said Kagwanja.
Adel Abdellatif, director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, said that by establishing the think-tank network, developing countries can share knowledge and expertise to boost cooperation in eliminating poverty and achieve sustainable development.
Wang Linggui, vice-president of CASS, said every country is on its own path to industrialization, so moves to strengthen exchanges among developing countries are of significance to alleviate poverty, foster a global economic recovery and deepen South-South cooperation.
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