A UN High-level Meeting on South-South and triangular cooperation, which serves as a forum for sharing knowledge and experience with developing countries, was held in Macao, China on August 25-26. The meeting was organised jointly by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, the Chinese Government and the Municipality of Macao. The meeting was attended by representatives of some 100 countries, several relevant UN organisations (FAO, IFAD, UNDP, UNOSSC, WHO, ILO) and a high-level OECD delegation.

The so-called Group of 77 developing countries is establishing strategic alliances and networks within the framework of South-South Cooperation in many fields, including agriculture. Current cooperation is aimed at providing innovative development tools to achieve the sustainable development goals set by the UN.

In view of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture’s commitment, excellent capacities and role in global development to date, the organisers also invited the Ministry to attend the meeting, the only EU partner called on to do so.

The Ministry of Agriculture delegation was headed by Deputy State Secretary for International Relations Katalin Tóth, who took part and took the floor in the meeting’s panel discussion on Eastern European, Central Asian and North African development. In her speech, Ms. Tóth explained that the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture has established widescale and active links with partners in Eastern Europe, Africa, Central and East Asia, and the Western Balkans within the framework of bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements. The Deputy State Secretary pointed out that prior to the regime change Hungary was one of the world’s low income countries, but has since advanced to become a developed nation, including as a member of the European Union, and is willing to pass on its best practices and share its experience with relation to the transition with developing countries who are struggling with food insecurity.

Ms. Tóth stressed that in view of its experience with transition and the role it has undertaken in global development, the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture regards achieving the goals set by South-South Cooperation as important and is doing its utmost to support the process. Accordingly, at the invitation of relevant UN bodies, the Ministry is acting as an expert donor in the long-term project aimed at realising the sustainable agricultural development and food security of the above-mentioned regions.

With relation to the importance of sharing knowledge and education, she also mentioned the successful scholarship programmes jointly organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and the FAO, within the framework of which university students from 230 countries have received Hungarian State scholarships over the past 7 years with more than 160 students already receiving their Master’s degrees.

The countries attending the meeting clearly viewed Hungary as a positive partner and are counting on our available capacities, which provides an excellent basis for the development of future projects.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Katalin Tóth also met with the directors of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Sudan and the heads of delegations from several countries in the region to discuss potential cooperation.

(Ministry of Agriculture)