Forum explores collaboration to advance youth leadership among countries of the Global South

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26 November 2017, Antalya, Turkey. High-level decision-makers and professionals in development cooperation from across the Arab States, Europe and the CIS regions, as well as from other regions, gathered at the Third Regional Networking Forum to discuss their role in scaling up Southern development solutions through advanced youth leadership. The forum was jointly supported by United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) , as a pre-event to the Global South-South Development (GSSD) 2017 Expo hosted in Antalya.

Youth innovators, with their new ways of thinking, can change the lives of people in their own home countries by creating solutions tailored to the realities of local environments. Essentially, the Forum presented examples of development cooperation and partnership initiatives that would enable South-South knowledge exchanges between various youth leaders and youth-led organizations in the two regions.

Mr. Jorge Chediek, Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation and Director, UNOSSC, emphasized the role of youth in attaining SGDs at global, regional and country levels and called for more consolidated actions among countries, international and regional institutions to support youth engagement into development processes. He also mentioned on the efforts beeing made by UNOSSC in supporting collection and promotion of best practices in development, including youth empowerment, stating as an example the product of UNOSSC’s collaborative efforts with IsDB – a new report on “Mapping South-South Cooperation (SSC) Solutions in the Arab States”, which demonstrates examples of youth-generated solutions in education, gender equality, ICT and youth employment.

The regional report on South-South and Triangular Cooperation: Towards Sustainable Human Development in the Arab States, has been launched during the event by Mr. Khaled Abdelshafi, Director, UNDP Regional Hub in Amman. The report is a product of collaboration between UNOSSC and UNDP and a result of extensive consultations with the countries; it analyzes examples of relevant efforts in SSC undertaken at the national level in the Arab region with prospects to define practical models applicable at a regional and global level.

During the forum, the report on the Union for the Mediterranean, an Action-driven Organization for Regional Cooperation and Developement was launched by H.E. Amb. Sudqi Al Omoush, Deputy Secretary General, Union for the Mediterranean. The report highlights the important role of South-South and triangular cooperation in addressing the needs of youth in developing countries and the importance of strong multilateral framework serving as umbrella and leveraging resources for the development initiatives. The report was produced within the South-South in Action Publication Series initiated by UNOSSC in response to the growing willingness of countries and organizations to share and adopt knowledge, policies and solutions.

H.E. Mr. Mustafa Osman Turan, Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Director General for Multilateral Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, highlighted the critical role youth play in preventing and countering violent extremism, emphasizing the great potential and contribution of youth to peace-building efforts through the use of innovative methods, including social media and sports.

Mr. Tarik Iziraren, Deputy Director of UNOSSC, affirmed that there is a growing regional youth climate movement to solve the climate crisis, such as the Arab Youth Climate Movement and other Southern youth organizations in the region working alongside with their global counterparts. Mr. Iziraren stated, “today’s youth are tomorrow’s decision-makers and we bear the responsibility to prepare them for that role by involving in the decision-making process now.”

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Contact Details: Edem Bakhshish, Chief of  Division for Arab States, Europe and the CIS, UNOSSC: