Download Screen Reader

Together, stronger

Date: 13 June, 2023

Writer : Asad-Uz-Zaman,Shanjida Khan Shorna,Saraf Sampritee
Source : Dhaka Tribune

Reading Time: 8 Minutes

13 June, 2023
Writer : Asad-Uz-Zaman,Shanjida Khan Shorna,Saraf Sampritee
Source : Dhaka Tribune
· Reading Time: 8 Minutes

Together, stronger

Together, stronger

It was September 25, 1974 when the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman uttered the words that would become how Bangladesh operated its foreign policy: “Friendship to all and malice towards none.”

To fulfil our ambitions for Bangladesh’s leadership position on the global stage, we cannot do it alone and we must continue to adhere by Bangabandhu’s words, of preaching friendship to all and malice towards none.

However, it is not just Bangladesh who could benefit from Bangabandhu’s wisdom. In fact, all of the nations, specifically in the developing world, would benefit from adopting this policy.

As Bangladesh prepares to graduate from its status as a least developed country (LDC), it signifies a significant milestone for the nation. The transition to a developing country elevates Bangladesh to a position that other LDC countries in the Global South can aspire to and view as a role model. By serving as an exemplary nation, Bangladesh has the potential to attain a leadership position in the global arena.

It is now more than clear that as we get into the middle of the 21st century, it is the Global South, today’s developing countries, that will lead the charge in shaping the world as we know it–making the most significant economic progress along the way.

According to The World in 2050 report by international professional services firm PwC, in less than three decades, six of the seven of the world’s largest economies will be economies that are yet classified as “emerging.”

With the looming deadline of SDG 2030 a little more than half a decade away, the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) holds the utmost importance for Bangladesh. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the developmental progress of numerous countries, rendering the achievement of SDGs a challenging endeavor.

The crisis triggered by the pandemic, coupled with other global predicaments, has posed formidable obstacles to the realization of these goals. As stated by UN Secretary General António Guterres himself, the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development cannot be achieved without the ideas, energy[,] and tremendous ingenuity of the countries of the Global South.”

Nevertheless, amidst these daunting circumstances, South-South Cooperation (SSC) has emerged as a pivotal force in advancing the global framework for sustainable development.

In the face of escalating global tensions, SSC has provided a platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge among nations. This cooperative approach empowers countries to collectively address pressing issues and work harmoniously towards the realization of the SDGs.

In the current scenario, characterized by unprecedented challenges, this cooperation has become even more critical. It ensures a coordinated and effective response to the complex array of global challenges, enabling nations to overcome obstacles and move closer to the vision of sustainable development.

While cooperation amongst the Global South is of paramount importance across sectors, nowhere is it more pertinent than within the public sector. And with the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a global order changing more rapidly with each passing day, it is innovation that is the need of the hour within the public sector–across the entirety of the Global South.

In order to promote greater learning and knowledge sharing among the countries in the Global South, The South-South Network for Public Service Innovation (SSN4PSI) was jointly launched by the government of Bangladesh and the UN Office for South South Cooperation.

SSN4PSI plays a vital role in facilitating knowledge transfer, providing policy and intergovernmental support, and promoting capacity building among countries in the global south. This network acts as a catalyst for innovative solutions and best practices in delivering public services, with a specific focus on addressing the unique challenges faced by developing nations.

By leveraging its extensive network of 30+ member countries and 35+ global organizations, SSN4PSI enables governments to enhance their capacity for effective governance and public administration by facilitating the sharing of experiences, expertise, and lessons learned. Since inception, a2i, Bangladesh has been rendering secretarial support to the network.

The SSN4PSI platform facilitates numerous activities such as matchmaking workshops, field visits, replication efforts of good practices, implementation and scale up. These events and initiatives serve as opportunities for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and practical application of innovative solutions.

Through these activities, the network aims to promote the successful adoption and implementation of proven practices, ultimately contributing to the sustainable development goals of participating nations.

In addition, replications have taken place:

myGov, Bangladesh’s one stop solution platform aggregating all government e-services on one platform, was replicated in war-torn Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in the Philippines as “Digital Bangsamaro”;
Start to Finish (S2F) Service Delivery Tracker, an online service request and tracking the progress of service delivery by citizens, was replicated in Fiji;
National Intelligence for Skills, Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship (NISE), skills and employment matchmaking platform, was replicated in Somalia as “Shaqo Abuur” and Jordan as “DigiMaharat”;
ekshop that empowers rural communities using assisted E-Commerce, has been replicated for refugees of Turkey, entrepreneurs of Yemen and South Sudan.
These replications demonstrate the adaptability and effectiveness of these solutions across diverse contexts, bringing about positive change and fostering inclusive development.

Under this network, governments of different developing nations, United Nation agencies, private sector, development partners and academia collaborate, with the intent of replicating innovations and best practices that worked in one particular nation. Not only would this foster stronger bilateral relationships between nations, but in sharing strengths and overcoming challenges in a concerted effort, everyone would come out a winner.

Bangladesh has not only offered assistance to different nations but has also received support from other countries to address its own requirements. In a joint effort between the a2i, the Temasek Foundation of Singapore, and Singapore Polytechnic, significant efforts have been made to create policy frameworks, strategies, curricula, and expert trainers. These initiatives aim to cultivate a workforce that is aligned with market demands and equipped to tackle the challenges arising from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Bangladesh in this context and by this time had already proved its mettle with regard to public service innovation. With its Digital Bangladesh vision, spearheaded by a2i, Bangladesh was rapidly changing the way its citizens received public services.

a2i was establishing a culture of innovation within the public sector that encouraged those within the government to reject age-old bureaucratic norms in favour of citizen-centric service delivery.

Therefore, it made sense for Bangladesh, and a2i by extension, to provide the necessary secretarial support to ensure that this network functioned smoothly.

Moving forward, it is plain to see that we are only beginning to scratch the surface with what is possible with proactive collaboration amongst nations in the Global South. With the SDGs fast approaching, this is a call to all nations of the South South Network — together, we are stronger.

Asad-Uz-Zaman is Strategy & Innovation Specialist Lead, South South Cooperation, a2i. Shanjida Khan Shorna is Strategic Partnership & Outreach Associate, South South Cooperation, a2i. Saraf Sampritee is Young Professional, South South Cooperation, a2i.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *