Statement of Ms. Inyang Ebong-Harstrup, Deputy Director of the United Nations Office on South-South Cooperation

Jul 31, 2014

The transfer to UNOSSC will bolster WACAP through increased institutional support as it prepares for future expansion and rising volumes of partnerships, networks and practical solutions emanating from the Global South.

Launch of Lakeside Exhibition on Cities and Transfer of the WACAP Secretariat to UNOSSC
Geneva, Switzerland

Honored Delegates,
Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to be here with you today to announce – on behalf of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on South-South Cooperation – the transfer of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty Secretariat to the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation.

Rest assured, just because the UN Office for South-South Cooperation is assuming leadership of WACAP does not mean that the cities of the North will no longer have a place in the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty.

WACAP must remain a World Alliance, and the recent decision to move its institutional home to the UNOSSC is consistent with the priorities outlined by the UN Secretary-General and Member States to engage all partners for development and to foster greater harmonization throughout the UN system.

It follows on UNDP’s Strategic Plan, 2014-2017, which places South-South cooperation at the center of its policies and programmes; and on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review, which highlights the need “for the United Nations system to engage in more strategic thinking on policies and financing mechanisms for South-South cooperation.”

The convergence of WACAP with UNOSSC will build upon important synergies for strengthening triangular and South-South cooperation among traditional donors, emerging donors and partner cities – a goal that is central to WACAP and in the full spirit and mandate of UNOSSC.

The transition is also expected to bolster WACAP through increased institutional support as it prepares for future expansion and rising volumes of partnerships, networks and practical solutions emanating from the Global South, while ensuring the uninterrupted provision of timely and effective support to its growing network of member-cities.

For UNOSSC, which works to promote South-South cooperation across the UN system and the international development community, a stronger affiliation with WACAP will bring important strategic and programmatic benefits. It will enable UNOSSC to broaden its reach with municipal leaders and partner networks in developing countries, and further strengthen the sharing and replication of solutions to urban challenges identified and tested in the Global South, and supported through triangular cooperation with cities of OECD/DAC countries.

Through strategic guidance and institutional support, UNOSSC will seek to ensure the Alliance’s continued growth and relevance among its partner networks, member cities and stakeholders – with a renewed awareness of the Global South – and will augment efforts to strengthen its global brand awareness, visibility and member city involvement. The move will also enable WACAP to benefit from UNOSSC’s 3-in-1 Multilateral Support Architecture – to leverage synergies with the Global South-South Development Academy, the Global South-South Development Expo and the South-South Global Assets and Technology Exchange, for the promotion, exchange and scaling up of innovative successful development solutions and technologies.

With a view toward increasing global visibility, funding and member participation, UNOSSC will work to ensure that all activities benefit from and are carried out in the context of the 3-in-1 Multilateral Support Architecture, and with the importance and urgency of other high-profile initiatives of the Secretary-General, including, among others: Every Woman Every Child, Sustainable Energy for All, Global Education First, and Sustainable Development.

We will also put in place the necessary reporting, monitoring and management mechanisms to ensure proper formulation and implementation of strategic initiatives. The long-term vision will seek to optimize opportunities for success and strengthen WACAP programming through the triangular cooperation framework, laying the foundation for a sustainable course for future growth with the aim of expanding the Alliance's reach, relevance and support among partner networks and member cities, while consolidating and building upon past achievements.

Moving forward, immediate attention will be focused on defining a post-2015 vision and mission statement for WACAP, ensuring that adequate management arrangements and resources are available to match that vision. Attention will also be focused on how to better gauge, strengthen and document the impact of inter-forum activities taking place in cities and on the ground, and on identifying the necessary funding sources needed to implement the Alliance's work program.

With the above objectives in mind, several strategic initiatives are currently being considered for the near and mid-term, and as part of a longer-term WACAP 2030 vision that anticipates greater involvement and leadership from municipalities and associations in the Global South, and a re-energized membership roster approaching some 5,000 cities.

I thank you all for your attention.

Please enjoy the exhibition.