4 July 2016, Geneva, Switzerland - A Framework of Cooperation between the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Group of Fifteen (G-15), a grouping of developing countries focused on South-South cooperation, was signed on 4th July, 2016 in Geneva. 

Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Chairman of the Personal Representatives of the Heads of State and Government of the G-15 and the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva signed the Agreement on behalf of the G-15 while Mr. Nikhil Seth, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director, signed on behalf of UNITAR. 

The Agreement intents to further enhance cooperation between the two organisations. Its targeted objectives include, the design and development of technical assistance and capacity building activities for government officials from G-15 member states, the development of a training portfolio that would support continuous learning through the implementation of activities that incorporate the principles of adult learning, the joint publication of knowledge resources such as training workbooks, thematic reports, policy papers, research papers and the provision of scholarships to individuals from G-15 members states to participate in face-to-face and e-learning courses offered by UNITAR in the priority areas determined by the G-15.

Since March, 2016 UNITAR has provided over 20 scholarships for G-15 member countries in four of its training programmes. These included face to face training programmes on ‘Collaborative Leadership’ and ‘Human Rights – based approach to Disability.’ The Group has already benefited from scholarships for e-learning programmes on ‘Urban Risk Reduction: Developing and Implementing Resilience Action Plans for Cities’ and ‘Introduction to Corporate Social Responsibility.’  With the signing of this Framework Agreement the cooperation between the two institutions will further expand and there would be greater opportunities for G-15 member countries to access scholarships for trainings.

Speaking at the event Ambassador Aryasinha noted that the UNITAR and the G-15 have both identified the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a crucial process to be actively involved. “The multiple challenges that face the global community require much greater levels of multilateral cooperation and support than ever before in the social, economic, and environmental spheres. Capacity building will be a critical element in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals” he further said. Ambassador Aryasinha also said that the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Group of Fifteen have also identified the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a key pillar for cooperation among our membership. “The Foreign Ministers of the G-15 have also specifically mandated that the Group reach out and seek greater possibilities to enhance cooperation with international and inter-governmental organisations such as UNITAR.”

Mr. Seth highlighted the unique purpose of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity, and the importance of converting this promising cooperation into practical capacity building activities for the benefit of developing countries as per UNITAR mandate. “Today marks the beginning of a long term relationship between G-15 and UNITAR, whereby concrete action will serve a common cause, with a special focus on the poorest, most vulnerable and furthest behind, who are often the hardest to reach”.

UNITAR and the Group of Fifteen in Geneva sign a Framework for Cooperation