The 1st Asian Conference on Triangular Cooperation (ACTrC): A Collaborative Endeavor for Global Progress

Witnessed by over 300 participants from 34 countries, the 1st Asian Conference on Triangular Cooperation (ACTrC) was co-hosted by the Fund for Triangular Cooperation with Asia (Fund), the Global Partnership Initiative on Effective Triangular Cooperation (GPI), and the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi on November 2nd and 3rd, 2023. Practitioners from Cambodia, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mongolia, Nepal, and Vietnam showcased joint efforts with partners from Brazil, China, Germany, and India to address development challenges through triangular cooperation (TrC). A follow-up series of conference reviews will soon be available on the Fund’s website and via newsletter.

Opening Plenary: Expanding Collaborative Horizons

The conference commenced with Mr. Periasamy Kumaran, Officer on Special Duty of India Ministry of External Affairs and Mr. Philipp Ackermann, German Ambassador to India and Bhutan. Both speakers reaffirmed their belief in TrC and anticipated its application in various sectors, following Joint Declaration of Intent signed by India and Germany in May 2022.

Fellow speakers further provided interpretations of TrC based on their experiences. Ms. Geovana Zoccal from GPI underscored that while TrC is not a panacea for all development challenges, it stands out for harmonizing resources, diversifying skills, and creating trustworthy partnerships on equal footing. Mr. Julius Spatz, Head of Division Asia II at GIZ, emphasized that TrC can bring together diverse backgrounds, institutional settings, and experiences. Mr. Sudhir T. Devare, Chairman of the Research Advisory Council at RIS, highlighted TrC’s innovative concept of combining the strengths of the South and the North to address global challenges.

Thematic Sessions: Addressing Key Challenges

Additionally, the conference delved into implementation practice of TrC. Session “Facing Poverty, Hunger, and Inequality” presented approaches to tackle malnutrition, inequality, and rural development, stressing the necessity for clearly expressed demands from implementation countries on technical know-how and involvement of domestic experts.

Session “Building Inclusive Futures: Empowerment of Women and Youth” focused on pervasive gender inequalities and gender-based violence in economic life, calling for imperative measures to enhance diverse representation and ensure equal access to resources for women.

Session “LiFE, Economy & Environment” showcased initiatives in green technology, waste management, circular economy, and regional connectivity, highlighting the ethical consideration of the “Life Concept” raised by the Indian G20 presidency.

Closing Plenary: Keeping Momentum Going

In closing remarks, Arunee Hiam, Deputy Director-General of the Thailand International Cooperation Agency, urged more evidence-based conferences building on the 1st ACTrC for partnership. Jochen Weikert, Director of the Fund, underlined that TrC can serve as a laboratory for new measures in international cooperation.

Towards its ending, the 1st ACTrC also sought actionable steps to sustain the momentum of TrC:

Rethinking Bilateral Biases: An examination of existing bilateral biases within organizations.
Crafting a New Narrative: A refreshed narrative for the visibility and the significance of TrC.
Early Engagement with Civil Society and Youths: A participatory measure for fresh perspectives.
Platform Mechanism for Scaling Up Solutions: A systemic presentation of proven solutions.

Embracing highlights above, the 1st ACTrC concluded as a testament to the power of collaborative efforts in addressing global challenges, marking a milestone in fostering impactful TrC for a better future.