The first South-South Cooperation Fair, Knowledge from the South: Regional Exchange of Solutions gathered representatives of 33 experiences, from 24 countries of the region, directors of cooperation agencies, ministers and government representatives from all over the region, representatives from the United Nations System, from bilateral, multilateral and international cooperation organizations in the City of Knowledge in Panama.
With the purpose of:
1. Providing an opportunity for the countries present to showcase and share experiences, solutions and mechanisms for South-South Cooperation. A space for dialogue regarding our achievements and our challenges.
2. Providing an opportunity for dialogue concerning a Regional Agenda for Sustainable and Human Development from the South-South Cooperation in the Region.
3. Providing an opportunity for new exchanges and South-South Cooperation agreements.
It is worth noting that these conclusions which we will be sharing below are preliminary conclusions. In the following days, we will be sharing with you a more complete compilation of what was discussed during the fair.
The first objective of the Knowledge from the South Fair was achieved through spaces of interaction and exchange where the participants met and discussed the different experiences of sustainable human development.
These exchanges were organized around an exhibition of 33 experiences and 17 round tables of exchange and debate which included: 6 round tables related to agenda building, 4 round tables focused on dialogue about SSC mechanisms and 7 round tables to promote exchange and future agreements for solutions in Sustainable Human Development.
Six master presentations were featured, which discussed topics such as the role of the Academia and SSC, Education and Technology, the South-South Cooperation Platforms and the contributions for strengthening SSC by multilateral, bilateral organizations and the United Nations System.
Regarding the advance of a Sustainable Human Development Agenda through SSC, the participants of the Fair noted the following:
First, that the SSC solutions and mechanisms should be based on approaches that combine social inclusion, social participation and empowerment, as well as developing and strengthening individual, collective and institutional capacities for the sustainability of cooperation actions.
The main challenge in LAC continues to be the fight against inequalities. The levels of inequality in the region lead to the need for SSC strategies to promote inclusive development and the improvement of the conditions for integration and participation of various sectors of the population in economic, political, social, education and environmental terms.
The sustainability of the SSC experiences and strategies in the framework of advancing a sustainable human development agenda are based on the political will, institutionalism, allocation of public resources for its financing and the formulation of legal and regulatory frameworks. They also start from and are based on local realities (SSC with local approach) and the needs of the communities. Sustainability is also understood as the influence to promote the formulation of long term Government policies both at the local, national and regional level, and the creation of partnerships between institutions and various social actors; civil society, private sector and academia.
The Knowledge from the South Fair emphasized the importance of having mechanisms to facilitate collective, social and institutional learning on South-South Cooperation.
Two cross-cutting issues that were present in the discussions on mechanisms and the recommendations to the actors who participate in and facilitate SSC processes were first, to promote and strengthen the SSC networks and alliances and second, to establish means of coordination and facilitation of these SSC exchange and knowledge networks.
The need to promote the construction of databases for SSC information and knowledge, as well as the need to foster the processes of systematization and transfer of effective SSC practices, while recognizing the diversity of experiences, solutions and mechanisms that the region has were highlighted, but at the same time the importance that the transfer and adaptation processes and the replication of experiences must start from the local contexts and local realities was pointed out. In this regard, the relevance Communities of Practice and learning in South-South Cooperation that, being organized by subject, allow the members to find solutions to common problems was also stressed. Furthermore, the acknowledgement that existing SSC platforms should improve and facilitate access, organize their contents and develop strategies to improve dissemination among networks and national, regional and global actors was also highlighted.
The strengthening of the mechanisms for the implementation of current and future SSC projects was also discussed. The participants indicated that SSC projects must stem from an assessment of local needs and include mechanisms for monitoring and impact measurement for greater program effectiveness and achievement of results.
Likewise, the need to communicate and disseminate SSC initiatives that are developed in the region virtually and in person was discussed. Reaching a broad audience is still a central challenge of the SSC. We must disseminate and communicate the wealth of experiences and strategies for adaptation, scalability and transfer.
16 agreements were made at the Knowledge from the South Fair:
In the area of environment, experiences related to production issues saw a potential agreement to exchange knowledge in the management of production systems between representatives of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.
In the area of citizen participation, inclusion and public policies, potential agreements were identified between representatives of Ecuador and Paraguay.
In the area of Social Programs and Social Protection Systems, the area in which the most agreements were documented, agreements were identified among the representatives of Brazil, Peru, Chile and Cuba in the issues of literacy and the self-employment initiatives for the youth. Likewise, representatives of Panama, Argentina and Ecuador made agreements in the issue concerning health for older adults. Finally, the representatives from Colombia, Peru, Guatemala and Barbados agreed to advance the dialogue in respect to issues concerning self-employment and youth entrepreneurship and banks of opportunities.
Drawing from the dialogue that we had with the participants, we believe that these agreements are only a fraction of the exchange occurred during these two days.
The wealth of SSC initiatives that the LAC region displayed in this Fair, which has brought together ideas and actions, countries, agents, different topics and a variety of knowledge, will not be enough if commitment and passion for the advance of sustainable human development that the SSC represents is not included in the work of all the persons present.
Thank you for your participation!