The World Urban Campaign was launched in Asia with the opening of the regional office of the South-South News network in Hong Kong on Sunday 24 October, marking the 65th birthday of the United Nations. The launch followed a two-day build-up at the Shanghai 2010 Expo United Nations Pavilion.
The South-South gathering at the Shanghai Expo 2010 UN pavilion © UN-HABITAT
“South-South News can work with developing countries to formulate and help implement joint and mutually beneficial programmes, and to be able to respond to the urgent needs of developing countries in the coordination of South-South issues in the United nations system,” said Ambassador Francis-Lorenzo, President of South-South News in his opening address at a glittering ceremony in Hong Kong.
The Ambassador cited the importance of Hong Kong as an ideal base to set up an Asia-Pacific office and as a pillar of what he called “the super highway of the Southern Hemisphere”.
He said the network, headquartered in New York, will promote data movement access and news to help develop and deliver programmes aimed at building capacity in e-governance, the transfer of technology, renewable energy, food security, climate change and sustainable development.
“South-South News will not only contribute to the advancement of the Millennium Development Goals, but it will also use information and communication technology (ICT) as a tool for development,” he said. “Our vision is to help bridge the digital divide in the developing countries.”
Mr. Mohamed Halfani, Head of UN-HABITAT’s Urban Governance Section, said in an address on behalf of the agency’s Global Division Director, Ms. Axumite Gebre-Egziabher, said the World Urban Campaign would work closely with South-South News.
Describing the occasion on the 65th anniversary of the United Nations as a “auspicious milestone”, he said UN-HABITAT’s World Urban Campaign aimed to build and keep building new partnerships around the world to raise awareness about growing urbanization around the world.
Other speakers included Ambassador Josephine Odhiambo, Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and President of the High-Level Committee of the UN General Assembly on South-South Cooperation.
She paid tribute to Ambassador Lorenzo and UN-HABITAT for forging a new partnership borne of a “remarkable” time spent together at the Shanghai Expo 2010 UN Pavilion.
Ambassador Abdulkalam Abul Momen, Permament Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations, and President of the Executive Board of Directors of Unicef, also raised the importance of closer South-South cooperation.
“Since the 1960s, South-South cooperation has started gaining momentum,” he said citing the creation of the International Development Bank in 1961 and later, the Asian Development Bank. “And today, we mark the 65th Anniversary of the United Nations.”
He said, Bangladesh itself had much to exchange, for example on micro-financing and its role in women’s development, and the way the country had fought and warded off diseases like cholera, among other achievements.
Tajikistan’s Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Mr. Mahmadin Mahmadinov, said it was important to have a World urban Campaign, and a South-South news network which “give hope to our people. In developing countries we need this kind of support,” he said.
Mr. Deng Yaohua, the Chief Executive of South-South News for the Asia-Pacific , said the idea of the campaign and the new news network were important for peace, reducing the gaps between the developed and developing countries, and “for reflecting the voices of all different cultures, and using the latest technologies to bridge the digital divide.”
The launch followed of a week of meetings on "creative culture and peace" in Shanghai organised by The Special Unit for South-South Cooperation of the United National Nations Development Programme (UNDP) .
Mr. Halfani speaking at the launch. © UN-HABITAT
The Special Unit is at the intersection of creativity, technology, partnership and resources, serving as the vehicle to bring South-South solutions to bear on reducing poverty, feeding the hungry, creating jobs and sharing experience, knowledge and technology.
Mr. Yiping Zhou, Director of the Special Unit for South South Cooperation, said that Special Unit is “firmly committed to seeing the potential of the South
converted into energy sources for sustainable development with innovation and creativity.
The event, linked to the World Urban Campaign, included a presentation by UN-HABITAT in which the key message was that "a sustainable city must be a learning city which is continuously exploring and innovating, sharing and networking".