The Grand Launch of “The South-South Matchmaker, 2019-2020 Best Practices”
The South-South Network for Public Service Innovation Secretariat; a2i – aspire to innovate; The United Nations Development Programme (Bangladesh), and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, jointly launched “The South-South Matchmaker, 2019-2020 Best Practices” to promote the best practices in the South and encourage to innovate and adopt innovative solutions for a better world. The event was conducted over a video conferencing platform which was attended by His Excellency Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, M.P. Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh; Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, Hon’ble State Minister, ICT Division; His Excellency, Naguib G. Sinarimbo, Hon’ble Minister for the Interior and Local Government, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Philippines; Sudipto Mukherjee, UNDP Resident Representative; Adel Abdel Latif, UNOSSC Director ai.; Robert Opp, Chief Digital Officer, UNDP New York; Benjamin Kumpf, Head of Development Innovation Team, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Dr Nabeel Goheer, Assistant Secretary-General at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London; N.M Zeaul Alam, PAA, Senior Secretary, ICT Division; Project Director of a2i, Dr. Md. Abdul Mannan, PAA (Additional Secretary); Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor of a2i, and other officials.
Mr Sudipto Mukherjee, UNDP Resident Representative of Bangladesh, kickstarted the ceremony by sharing his delight on the launch of the 2nd South-South Matchmaker – Best Practices. He added that mutual collaboration and support can bring in much greater achievements and innovative solutions to problem across the globe and the South-South Network’s contribution to a unified Southern Network will lead to a better world. Addressing the current ongoing Covid-19 situation, he applauded the success of the Covid-19 vaccination program in Bangladesh and hailed it as one of the best facilities all over the world. He ended his speech by quoting António Guterres, UN Secretary General, “More than ever before, we need solidarity, hope and the political will to see this through together”, addressing to the need of countries working together to a better world.
Following, Mr. Asad Uz Zaman, Policy Specialist of the a2i Programme & the Lead Secretariat of the South-South Network for Public Service Innovation (SSN4PSI), delivered a presentation on the background and overview of the network, which was launched in 2017 at the Global South-South Development Expo in Turkey jointly by the UNOSCC and the Government of Bangladesh. He added that the network is a collaborative platform where governments, private sector organizations, experts and academics exchange knowledge, experiences and expertise to harness innovations through matchmaking. The network has 39 countries within and 17 different initiatives have been replicated around the globe. Taking over, Denis Nkala, Regional Coordinator, UNOSSC, Asia and the Pacific, presented about how the South-South Network addresses marginal people problems and hence leading to achieving SDGs. He presented on the 24 different best practices of “The South-South Matchmaker, 2019-2020 Best Practices” edition that came from 7 different countries and 14 different organizations. He also added that the network is a good platform for sharing innovative solutions and that they are looking forward to finding and developing more partnerships through the network.
Chief Guest, Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, M.P. Honorable Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, began his speech by paying tribute to the Father of the Nation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. In his speech, he talked about the journey of Bangladesh to becoming a vibrant and stable economy and how it is now a land of opportunities. He talked about the different practices that Bangladesh has developed and how these innovative solutions are helping Bangladesh, and other countries, solve complex problems. He added that the scope of the South South Network has expanded from technical fields to economic, cultural, technological, environmental and political domains and that the network has been added to the National Policy for Development Cooperation. He ended his speech by describing how Bangladesh has been developing innovative homegrown solutions to tackle problems and how the South South Network has been a huge help in sharing knowledge and information to finding, adopting and implementing solutions.
Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, Hon’ble State Minister, ICT Division, began by thanking our Hon’ble Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, & Sajeeb Wazed Joy, Advisor to the Government of Bangladesh on ICT, under whose leadership, Bangladesh is making strides in the field of technology. He added that Bangladesh has made huge transformations towards the goal of achieving Digital Bangladesh. He also added that Bangladesh is promoting in building public and private partnerships to find innovative solutions to better serve the citizens of the country. He talked about the different innovative initiatives that have been taken to solve public solutions and how the country is preparing for 4IR through skills development. He concluded by saying that Bangladesh is relying on digital solutions, skills to prepare for the future and that today, it is no longer about individual nations and the whole world must work together to build a better future.
Naguib G. Sinarimbo, Hon’ble Minister for the Interior and Local Government (MILG), Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Philippines, thanked UNOSCC and Bangladesh for creating the South-South Matchmaking Platform. He mentioned that he has been impressed by the digital innovations that Bangladesh has brought in and that this has inspired the Philippines to adopt digital innovation practices of Bangladesh. He also mentioned about the MyGov platform that they have adopted from Bangladesh and how this platform is helping them in building a digital Philippines.
Mr. Adel Abdel Latif, UNOSSC Director ai, in his speech talked about the purpose and importance of the matchmaking program. He emphasized that this matchmaking program has allowed to identify and share public service delivery solutions across the South. He added that 63 solutions have been added to the South-South Galaxy which are available for countries to evaluate and adopt to their own countries. He adds that through collaboration and partnership, the UNOSCC promotes empathy and the aspiration to achieve mutual gains. He concluded by mentioning that the UNOSCC is looking forward to working with countries to implement these innovative solutions through knowledge and resource sharing and bring significant changes to the world.
During the event, Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor of a2i, conducted a high-level segment where they discussed about the testimonials, solidarity and support for the South-South Network for Public Service Innovation from key partners.
Robert Opp. Chief Digital Officer, UNDP New York believes that the South-South Matchmaker publication is a great effort to help bridge the knowledge gap of innovative solutions across the globe. He added that the UNDP is looking for ways and collaborations to support these innovations. In the effort, they created “Digital X” – a digital innovation scaling accelerator to identify innovative solutions and turn them into global digital solutions. He added that the UNDP is looking forward to working with South-South Network to find ways to connect these initiatives and multiply their impact to achieve sustainable goals.
Dr Nabeel Goheer, Assistant Secretary-General at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London said that the solutions of the South-South Network have been making remarkable changes in the Commonwealth Countries. He added that an innovation toolkit will be launched soon with public sector innovation stories where a lot of the South-South Network innovations have been featured. He added that the Commonwealth believes that no single country/institution can tackle all the complex challenges of the world and that innovation and collaboration is the key. Hence, the Commonwealth, along with their partners, are going to work collaboratively with the South-South Network towards achieving sustainable development goals.
Benjamin Kump, Head of Development Innovation Team at OECD, talked about how the OECD operates through documenting and sharing information of innovative solutions in the process of building greater partnerships and better solutions. He added that the OECD is documenting major challenges of the world to help networks like the South-South target those specific global problems. He said that the OECD believes that trusted relationships are the currency of successful innovations and that the OECD is trying to build such collaborations translating into investments, mutual trust and meaningful relationships between countries and organizations.
N M Zeaul Alam, PAA, Senior Secretary of ICT Division said “The dream of Digital Bangladesh has come a long way under the leadership of our Hon’ble Prime Minister and the guidance of our Hon’ble ICT advisor.” He added that Bangladesh is experiencing rapid digital transformation and sustainable growth. He believes that the South-South Network will help in accelerating this transformation and help in building Digital Bangladesh.
a2i’s project director, Md. Abdul Mannan, PAA (Additional Secretary), delivered the closing speech of the event. He said that “Digital Bangladesh is the dream of Hon’ble Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, spearheading Bangladesh’s progress into a developed nation. The South-South Network is a part of making this dream a reality and that he is delighted that a2i is one of the spearheading partners of this network.
In addition to the aforementioned personnel, senior officials of a2i, UNDP and UNOSCC, were also present during the the launching ceremony.