Today is the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, which promotes collaboration between developing countries, and serves as an opportunity to highlight needs emerging from parts of the global South. The day, founded in 1978, also calls attention to initiatives to address priorities outlined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
TWAS and its sister institution, the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), have a long track record of advancing South-South Cooperation. TWAS has over 1,380 Fellows, representing the best of science within or relevant to developing countries, and leverages South-South Cooperation to pursue its central mission to build science capacity. Its fellowships programme sends promising scholars from the South to a developing country other than their own to pursue their PhD, and has graduated over 1,060 PhDs so far. It also sponsors postdoctoral fellowships, scientific exchanges, science diplomacy workshops, and a General Conference that showcases top-shelf developing world science that is held every two years.
OWSD, meanwhile, has 52 national chapters throughout the developing world, and more than 9,600 active members — women scientists with postgraduate degrees in science living and working in developing countries. OWSD’s South to South PhD fellowship programme has graduated over 360 women scientists, selected from 66 developing countries considered the most poorly resourced in science and technology (S&T); OWSD funded their travel to other developing countries to undertake their doctorates. In addition, OWSD has expertise in supporting women scientists at the crucial early-career stage, selecting 20-30 fellows from S&T-lagging countries each year to receive grants of up to US$50,000 to develop research centres of excellence at their home institutes. An additional 5 women receive annual awards to celebrate their achievements and provide much-needed visibility on the international science stage.
“South-South and Triangular cooperation are critical for developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate disruption, address the global health crisis, including COVID-19 recovery, and achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, on the special day last year. “It must play an ever-increasing role in resolving our common challenges.”
An event marking the occasion will take place in UN Headquarters in New York, US, today, 12 September, at 7 p.m. GMT, with a theme of “Solidarity, Equity and Partnership: Unlocking South-South Cooperation to Achieve the SDGs”.