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“The South-South Cooperation Gateway is a great tool to facilitate the match between needs and solutions in the Global South”


Interview with Carlos Watson, Team Leader, South-South Cooperation, FAO, on the online platform aimed at facilitating cooperation among the global south.

23/11/2016 - 

Interview with Carlos Watson, Team Leader, South-South Cooperation, FAO, on the online platform aimed at facilitating cooperation among the global south. 

23 November 2016, Rome. Widely known as the “Gateway”, this tool developed by FAO fosters support to South-South Cooperation by putting southern expertise and national capacities at the reach of FAO Member countries. The Gateway also gives great visibility to the existing national expertise and facilitates solution exchanges. 35 institutions from 11 countries have joined the platform since it was launched in 2015. We talked to Carlos Watson about this ‘marketplace-like’ tool that matches Southern Expertise and needs.

How would you define the Gateway?

The Gateway is a sort of “marketplace-like” online tool that allows users to make a match between their needs and what Southern expertise may offer. Through their public institutions, countries offer solutions or seek for them. The Gateway is there to facilitate this match in a simple, free and quick way, which is just a click away.

Who are the actual users of the Gateway?

Users can be governments, other technical institutions, or even UN and FAO staff looking for southern expertise for project delivery.

How does the Gateway actually work? 

The Gateway allows users to search for expertise by technical area, country or by specific institution, and links them to focal points in each organization. For some institutions, a roster of experts is also available.

However, the Gateway is just the initial step, option or entry point to engage in South-South Cooperation among peer countries bilaterally or through FAO, if needed or requested. The next steps involve negotiating and facilitating the connection, as well as forming development partnerships, which can be facilitated by FAO or done on a bilateral basis.

This means that even countries which are not involved yet in SSC with FAO, can engage presenting their national expertise and/or by searching for other countries’ expertise.

What has been the involvement from the countries so far?

The Gateway is currently being populated and we hope to achieve a critical mass soon. Currently, 11 countries are on board, including Argentina, Chile, China, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Namibia, Peru, Senegal, and Uruguay, showcasing a total of 35 public institutions. We actively promote the Gateway, to get more partners on board, increasing the range of development solutions offered. And this is just the beginning. In fact, we have great plans for the future development Gateway, to which we are constantly adding new features. We want this tool to be a real asset for promoting and facilitating SSC. 

How do the currently involved institutions benefit from the Gateway?

The Gateway is a service for member countries. Apart from providing a tangible service to users, it also gives great visibility to the existing national expertise and facilitates solution exchanges. It shows country commitment to SSC both as promotor and supporter.

How is FAO playing its role as facilitator?

Throughout the process of engaging with the Gateway, member countries can benefit from FAO to facilitate SSC. Following an official request to the FAO Representation, FAO can help make the match and facilitate the SSC exchange. In addition, FAO can promote the dialogue between governments thanks to its neutral broker nature and its extensive country presence over the world. FAO can also help mobilizing resources for South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

If I would like to get involved, what should I do?

You just need to contact us at TCS-director@fao.org and we will guide you through a simple process to insert your data in the Gateway.