Achieving food security through South-South and Triangular Cooperation
A recent side event during the Council last week promoted South-South Cooperation (SSC) as a cost-effective means to addressing food insecurity, showcased FAO’s role as a facilitator and voiced the need for broadened partnerships. SSC is the mutual sharing and exchange of key development solutions – knowledge, technology, policies, and resources, between and among countries of the South. Global demand for SSC is at an all-time high.
In his opening speech, the Director-General emphasized that he is personally committed to ensuring that FAO takes SSC to new heights. He reminded participants that SSC breaks the donor-recipient dichotomy and invited all Members with SSC proposals to share them. “In my view, every country has an experience to share with its neighbour, be it in the field of food security agriculture, livestock, fisheries or natural resources management,” he told the participants, which included the Vice-Minister for Agriculture of China, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to FAO and Vice-Chairperson of the Group 77 and China, and over 60 members of Permanent Representations.
China has established a USD 30 million trust fund in support of SSC and is supporting about 25 countries in Africa and Asia, in areas such as aquaculture, livestock, irrigation and agribusiness. Brazil supports over a dozen SSC programmes totalling about USD 50 million including short-term capacity development and policy dialogue on sustainable agriculture, aquaculture, school feeding and food security in several countries in Latin America and Africa. Morocco and FAO have just signed a tripartite agreement to benefit African countries. This fund includes Morocco’s private sector as a contributor.
“South-South Cooperation is not an end in itself, but a means to achieving country programming frameworks, regional initiatives and strategic objectives,” said Festus Akinnifesi, Chief of the FAO South-South Cooperation Team. He highlighted FAO’s role as facilitator, connecting Southern partners, acting as neutral broker, mobilizing resources, and ensuring the technical quality of the collaboration. He emphasized that FAO has an extensive country-level presence, facilitating the matching of demand and supply.
Panellists from Brazil, Ethiopia and Nigeria provided evidence that there is much experience to draw from and lessons to share, and that political will is crucial as it can make or break the partnership. Certain principles of partnership are vital to success and Brazil shared that its involvement in SSC is based on solidarity, transfer of knowledge, free of conditionality and demand-driven. Each panellist demonstrated how their country is committed to SSC, not only in terms of being providers or hosts, but also in terms of the financial contributions they make. For example, Nigeria recently provided over USD 19 million of its own resources, supporting the fielding of 650 Chinese experts and technicians.
Mr Jong-Jin Kim, Director of the FAO South-South and Resource Mobilization Division highlighted examples of different SSC modalities, including long- to medium- and short-term deployment of expertise, study tours and training, policy dialogues and technology transfer. He also provided examples of how to engage and raise resources together. In addition, he presented the idea of the FAO South-South and Triangular Facility as a necessity to provide seed funds to make SSC happen, and invited resource partners to contribute.
“The increasing importance of South-South and Triangular Cooperation as a complement to the North-South Cooperation is well recognized and supported by the G77 members,” said H.E. Seyed Aminollah Taghavi Motlagh, Vice-Chairperson of the Group 77 and China, in his address, “there is a vital need to maintain and strengthen unity among countries of the South in the years ahead and the G77 and China look forward to reinforcing collaboration with FAO in this important area.”
There is no doubt, tangible results are unfolding thanks to South-South Cooperation and every country has a role to play.
*Since 2012, countries such as Angola, Chad, Nigeria, Brazil, China, Chile, Mexico, Morocco, Venezuela, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Japan and Indonesia, have provided support to South-South and Triangular Cooperation.
See photos of the event here