IBSA Fund example of innovative solutions to overcome common problems: Akbaruddin

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 29:India has said the IBSA Fund, a unique initiative in south-south cooperation launched 15 years ago by India, Brazil and South Africa, has shown there can be various innovative solutions to overcome common problems and partner fellow developing countries in their development agenda.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said that since its inception, the IBSA Fund has had a cumulative contribution of USD 35 million, partnered 19 developing countries and has implemented 26 projects. Two-thirds of the IBSA Funding has been allocated to assist LDC partners.
The fund was launched as a unique initiative in the long tradition of south-south cooperation, Akbaruddin said here Wednesday at a special event marking the 15-year anniversary of the fund.
“As three large democracies and developing economies from three different continents, our countries bring together many shared as also unique experiences, common development concerns and priorities,” he said.
Akbaruddin noted that 37 per cent of the IBSA Funding has been allocated for partners in Africa; 25 per cent in Latin America and 21 per cent in Asia and Pacific, while 15 per cent of the IBSA Fund has so far been allocated for projects in Palestine.
Nearly 85 per cent of the funding has been allocated for projects in four major fields – agriculture, employment, health and water – all very essential aspects towards achieving poverty alleviation.
“The success of the Fund derives from the emphasis on the basic principles that underlie south-south cooperation,” he said, adding that these flow from the projects proposals originating from partner countries themselves based on their own needs and priorities; and the non-prescriptive nature of the funding that does not come with any strings attached.
“The IBSA Fund remains an important and unique initiative where developing countries have joined hands to partner fellow developing countries to assist them in modest ways according to their own priorities,” he said.
“The value of this fund is that it demonstrates a common desire to achieve 2030 Agenda and the spirit of partnership that is now embedded in SDG17 but is not always visible in today’s challenging times. The fund shows that there can be various innovative solutions to overcome our common problems by helping each other,” he said.
Separately, speaking at a panel discussion in the Global South-South Development Expo, Akbaruddin said India’s development partnership efforts over the past seven decades have proceeded in different formats from purely bilateral arrangements to regional such as The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) in its neighbourhood or the wider India-Africa Forum Summit and the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation.
More recently, India launched in June 2017 the India-UN Development Partnership Fund with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).
Akbaruddin informed the meeting of the various projects undertaken under the India-UN Fund, including in the seven Pacific Island states, Benin and Uruguay.
“We are approaching this Fund with a very open attitude. All these innovations are, however, not at the cost of due diligence or transparency or accountability. These are only intended to explore options of helping partners meet their development requirements,” he said.
Akbaruddin added that India is emphasising the aspect of speedy implementation of projects under the Fund with the UN agencies since it has tried to cut down the processing time significantly for decision making and providing the funding upfront.
“We are terming this as a 1-2-3 approach. We commit to approval of projects within one month of submission. We urge our partners across the UN development system to implement projects within 2 years. And in no case the projects should not take more than 3 years to complete,” he said. (PTI)