Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said that South Asian countries could co-create solutions to address the challenges they face in advancing technology transformation, mainly stemming from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Emphasising stronger cooperation, the minister at a virtual programme of the South-South Network for Public Service Innovation Wednesday called for nations to help one another through knowledge and innovations sharing, identifying experiences and replicating and scaling those up.
Joining the launch of the "South-South Matchmaker, 2019-2020 Best Practices" (second volume), Momen said, "We remain close by facilitating borderless communication even during the pandemic-led movement restrictions, which indicates our development and innovation over the critical situation."
The South-South Network for Public Service Innovation was launched at the 2017 Global South-South Development Expo in Turkey to harness innovations. Currently, 39 countries are working with the platform.
The foreign minister stressed a more meaningful role for the South-South Network in development and resolving the critical issues obstructing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Momen also called for establishing a South-South Knowledge and Innovation Centre.
The South-South Network for Public Service Innovation Secretariat, a2i-Aspire to Innovate Programme, the United Nations Development Programme in Bangladesh, and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) together organised the programme.
State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak told the programme that Bangladesh underscored the importance of South-South cooperation in achieving the SDGs.
Palak highlighted some of the country's ICT sector achievements, such as union-level digital centres.
Naguib Sinarimbo, interior minister of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, in his comments said, "We can replicate good practices from Bangladesh to accelerate our mutual innovations and developments.
In a video message, UNOSSC director (ad interim) Adel Abdellatif told the virtual programme that the South-South Network was currently working on a global scale with the support of United Nations institutions in the Asia Pacific region.
He said the network's typical areas of concern included the future of public service, civil service, finance, data innovation and e-commerce.
Sudipto Mukerjee, resident representative of UNDP Bangladesh, said cooperation was needed worldwide now alongside South-South collaboration.
"In this pandemic, we have seen how solidarity can make life meaningful. We are going to win over the pandemic by cooperation," he added.
The network utilises South-South and triangular cooperation approaches to empower southern countries to learn from and support one another in identifying vital innovations and scaling up novel solutions.
Terming the network a fantastic initiative, Assistant Secretary-General at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London Nabeel Goheer emphasised enhanced collaboration among the countries in the region.
Senior Secretary at the ICT Division NM Zeaul Alam chaired the launching session.