The Global South-South Development (GSSD) Expo 2012 opened on Monday to showcase achievements from the South on expanding access to energy and combating climate change in the process of development.
Hosted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Expo was officially inaugurated at the Hofburg Palace in downtown Vienna.
"The thematic focus of the Expo in 2012 will be energy, climate change, and South-South cooperation," Kandeh K. Yumkella, UNIDO Director-General, said in a press release.
"Globally, South-South interaction has had a proven and remarkable impact on development, with the expectation that by 2030, South-South cooperation will constitute one of the main driving forces in worldwide growth," said Yumkella, who gave a keynote speech at the opening ceremony.
The Expo, featuring various forums and exhibitions, focuses on tangible solutions on dealing with the issues of energy access and climate change in the South developing countries and regions.
Yiping Zhou, Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, formerly known as the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, said the expo "is designed solely to bring together developing countries and their development partners, including donors, organizations of the United Nations system, and the private-sector and civil society organizations, to methodically and regularly share their evidence-based development solutions."
Addressing the opening ceremony, Zhou called for "need smarter solutions, smarter partnerships and smarter investment."
The GSSD Expo 2012 Exhibition was inaugurated to showcase some 50 innovative solutions promoting South-South cooperation and Southern development, embodying key attributes of successful cooperation such as innovation, efficiency and sustainability.
Highlighting the achievements and successful cases of South-South cooperation, the Expo organizers also warned of the challenges ahead.
Developing countries face some significant difficulties regarding sustainable energy, yet some of the brightest innovations in this field have also emerged from the South, organizers said.
In the following days, forums on various sectors will discuss both achievements and challenges of South-South cooperation and development, most importantly, solutions to these challenging issues, such as the relations between energy security, climate change and industrial development, decent work, biodiversity, food security, health and energy access.
During the five-day event, governments and civil society from the South will also demonstrate and promote innovative solutions on global health pandemics and the lack of social protection for vulnerable populations.
The GSSD Expo has become an important mechanism and a major venue for interactions among like-minded partners to promote South-South Cooperation.
The Expo, which showcases successful Southern-grown development solutions (SDSs) to address the need to meet Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), is the first ever expo solely from the South and for the South.