South-South and Triangular Cooperation

How to engage in South-South Cooperation

Partners are invited to join hands in upscaling knowledge sharing and capacity development through South-South Cooperation (SSC). Governments, academia, civil society and the private sector have a role to play and can contribute to mutual learning by:

  • providing expertise, through relevant government ministries, institutions, etc., to build capacities in a wide range of technical areas related to agriculture and food security;
  • providing financial and/or in-kind resources to enable SSC knowledge sharing to happen, including funds for formulation, implementation and logistical support;
  • expressing needs as to what kind of technical support and know-how are required and from where; and
  • jointly supporting SSC knowledge sharing to ensure it meets high quality standards, and building on the momentum and lessons learned.

Everyone can contribute to SSC in several ways:


HOST COUNTRY CONTRIBUTION: The host government can provide, and usually does, in-kind contributions in the form of logistical support, transport, office space, housing, access to public medical services and the cost of visas, among other things.

Host governments can also contribute financially to the cost of implementing SSC in the country by establishing a Unilateral Trust Fund (UTF). A UTF is a funding modality financed entirely by a government for projects to be implemented in its own country. There are three major funding sources for UTFs: national resources; the proceeds from grants, credits and loans made available to governments by international financial institutions; and bilateral/multilateral direct grants or loans to governments.



An agreement amounting to USD 2.2 million, plus an USD 875 000
in-kind contribution from Brazil, was signed by Angola, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) and FAO in support of veterinary and agricultural research, rehabilitation and capacity development in Angola.

Nigeria financed a USD 22.7 million first phase of SSC. It launched a second phase of SSC through a USD 19.6 million agreement that supports capacity and knowledge sharing by fielding over 650 Chinese experts and technicians in support of programmes on sustainable agriculture and food security.

Through a USD 2.5 million agreement, Chad financed a first phase of SSC knowledge sharing by Vietnamese experts and technicians in support of the implementation of the National Programme for Food Security.


PROVIDER COUNTRY CONTRIBUTION: Governments can provide in-kind contributions by facilitating the deployment of experts and technicians, maintaining the payment of home salaries during the period of their SSC assignment and providing language and cultural training prior to their departure. A country can also cover all or a share of the SSC programme through the creation of a trust fund, with the possibility of co-financing by multiple resource partners.  



China established a USD 30 million Trust Fund in 2009 in support of SSC, including capacity development, knowledge and technology sharing and policy dialogue among several developing countries.

Brazil supports several SSC programmes, totalling more than 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 signed an SSC agreement of USD 1 million to benefit African countries, in collaboration with Morocco’s private sector.


TRIANGULAR COOPERATION: This involves an additional country, typically a traditional resource partner, emerging economy or multilateral organization, facilitating SSC through the provision of technical and/or financial resources. 



Since 2007, Japan has been supporting two triangular cooperation projects, totalling USD 8.8 million, on rice and aquaculture and strengthening agricultural statistics. These projects involve supporting training workshops during which experts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations share knowledge with experts from 30 African countries.

Saudi Arabia provided USD 350 000 to enable SSC between Djibouti and Morocco.

Oman provided USD 650 000 to support SSC knowledge sharing between Algeria and Togo.


One of the biggest constraints to upscaling SSC is the lack of resources. Often seed or gap funds (e.g. costs for travel, insurance and installation grants for experts) are all it takes to make SSC knowledge sharing happen. For this reason, FAO aims to set up a South-South and Triangular Cooperation Facility to strategically meet critical costs associated with SSC knowledge and capacity sharing for agricultural development and food security. Funds will support a wide range of SSC modalities, including costs associated with the formulation, implementation and monitoring of initiatives.