On 14 July 2023, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York Ambassador Mohan Peiris, chaired the session titled "Integrating South-South and Triangular Cooperation in Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) to Support Acceleration of the SDGs Implementation" which was co-organized by the Co-chairs of the Group of Friends of Voluntary National Reviews (the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Morocco to the UN and the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UN) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).
Delivering remarks, Ambassador Peiris expressed gratitude and noted that the alignment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with national policies is recognized as a core requirement for implementation. He further underscored the challenge of incorporating the 2030 Agenda into national, subnational, and local plans and policies and emphasized the need to consider the capacities and development levels of different countries and contextual realities. Integrating existing policy actions into medium to long-term frameworks for policy continuity and expressing optimism through a different approach can lead to achieving the goals.
Ambassador further highlighted the concept of South-South and triangular cooperation, likening it to a race between two distinct countries and its importance of this cooperation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, emphasizing the value of leveraging each other's experiences, addressing persistent impediments, and facilitating the exchange of resources and knowledge.
While noting the importance of partnerships and collaborations at the core of achieving goals and targets, Ambassador Peiris acknowledged the limitations of any single entity and highlighted the role of the handbook in facilitating inclusive decision-making and priority setting. Drawing from their experiences in Sri Lanka's voluntary national reviews, he emphasized the need for collective efforts, sharing of experiences, and mobilization of multi-stakeholder support and encouraged member states to integrate South-South cooperation perspectives, highlighting the ongoing efforts to meet the 2030 Agenda despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and international security issues. Ambassador Peiris concluded expressing gratitude to those involved in the development of the handbook and emphasized the importance of collective action and revitalizing the SDGs and the noted the relevance and impact of the handbook in harmonizing the approach to South-South cooperation at national and global levels.
The event served as a platform for diverse stakeholders to exchange ideas, best practices, and experiences related to South-South and triangular cooperation. Participants explored innovative approaches to advance the SDGs, highlighting the importance of collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and inclusive decision-making.
In line with the commitments made in the 2022 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Ministerial Declaration and relevant intergovernmental resolutions on South-South cooperation, the Co-Chairs of the Group of Friends of VNRs and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) are dedicated to supporting developing countries in incorporating South-South and triangular cooperation perspectives in their VNRs.
To fulfill this commitment, the Co-Chairs of the Group of Friends of VNRs and UNOSSC jointly released a handbook during this session. This comprehensive resource offers step-by-step guidance, drawing from good practices and examples, on how to integrate South-South and triangular cooperation in the preparation and presentation of VNRs. The handbook is a result of close collaboration with Member States, UN entities, and relevant stakeholders. The new handbook serves as a valuable complement to the existing proposal of the Secretary-General for voluntary common reporting guidelines for VNRs at the High-Level Political Forum, the UN DESA Handbook for the Preparation of VNRs, and other VNR resource packages. It provides practical insights and tools for governments to effectively leverage South-South and triangular cooperation in their national reviews. By harnessing the potential of South-South and triangular cooperation, countries can enhance their capacity to achieve sustainable development goals while fostering collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and mutually beneficial partnerships.
South-South and triangular cooperation have emerged as vital catalysts in mobilizing political will and fostering expertise to implement essential economic and social reforms for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recognizing the significance of this approach, countries are increasingly incorporating South-South and triangular cooperation perspectives in their voluntary national reviews (VNRs). The integration of South-South and triangular cooperation perspectives in VNRs serves as a comprehensive and inclusive mechanism to monitor progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Moreover, it generates valuable evidence of the contributions made by South-South and triangular cooperation toward achieving the SDGs.
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
18 July 2023