India has never let geography or geometry define its approach to assisting developing countries and it views South-South Cooperation as a development partnership and not a donor-donee relationship, India's deputy envoy to the UN has said. Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Nagaraj Naidu said this while speaking at the UN Day for South-South Cooperation Pathways toward the SDGs through South-South solidarity beyond COVID-19' on Thursday.
He said that India remains committed to the principles of South-South cooperation both at regional and global level for mutual learning, capacity building and progress of all developing countries. India has acted with a deep and abiding commitment to South-South Cooperation which it views as a development partnership rather than a donor-donee relationship. We have never let geography or geometry define our approach to assisting countries across the developing world, Naidu said.
Naidu said this year's South-South Cooperation Day comes at a time when the world continues to grapple with the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic. However, challenging times demand extraordinary responses and the global south should work even more closer during this pandemic and find appropriate solutions in the collective journey to build back better, Naidu said.
Even though India has been hit by the pandemic, the country is at the forefront in the call for joint global action to address COVID-19 with the aim of assisting fellow developing countries, he said. Highlighting efforts by India to help other nations amid the pandemic, Naidu said the country has extended medical-related assistance to more than 120 developed and developing countries and pledged USD 15 million to Gavi, the global vaccine alliance created in 2000 to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world's poorest countries.
India has also utilised its strength in the digital and information technology space to develop a learning platform to deliver courses for training healthcare personnel of partnering developing countries. Naidu voiced India's commitment to continue sharing its developmental experiences and technical expertise with other developing countries in the spirit of the World is One Family'.
Our approach to development partnership will be human-centric, based on principles of mutual respect and national ownership with a commitment to sustainable development for all, he said. India has become a leading player in South-South cooperation and its engagement with developing nations has intensified over the last few years.
The India-CARICOM Leaders Meeting, India-Pacific Islands Heads of State Summit and the India-Africa Forum Summits have further strengthened the special bonding between India and fellow developing countries. India's development cooperation ranges from capacity building by providing training to nearly 15,000 students annually from more than 160 countries under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme to providing developmental financing to 64 countries totaling USD 30.66 billion.
The International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient infrastructure co-founded by India, are other examples of Southern efforts to champion the cause of affordable solutions for a greener future, Naidu said. Another inspiring example of India's contribution in South-South cooperation is the USD 150 million India-UN Development Partnership Fund, operated from the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, Naidu said.
The fund supports Southern-owned and led demand-driven, and transformational sustainable development projects across the developing world with a focus on LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. In three years, the fund has accumulated a portfolio of 39 projects in 41 countries and through the initiative, India is directly impacting the lives of communities across the developing world, Naidu added.
Projects under the fund include getting ready a convention centre in Palau to host next year's Oceans Conference, rehabilitating hospitals in Antigua & Barbuda and Guyana, building a school in Dominica, an Information Technology Centre of Excellence in Papua New Guinea to developing the capacity of women to stem desertification in the Kanem and Lake Chad regions. The IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) Fund for the Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger also hosted at the UN Office for South-South Cooperation is another unique mechanism for South-South Cooperation.
Established in 2004, the IBSA Fund is supporting initiatives in the area of food security, safe drinking water, addressing HIV/AID. Since 2004, a total of USD 39.3 million has been contributed to the Fund by the three countries and the Fund has undertaken a total of 33 projects, of which 24 have been completed.