FAO Liaison Office with the United Nations in New York

South-South and Triangular Cooperation: a driving force for global agricultural development and the transformation of agrifood systems

FAO participated at the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation (HLCSSC) at UN headquarters in New York, speaking of South-South and Triangular Cooperation, as an important mechanism to advance progress on the SDGs.


Against a backdrop of rising food insecurity and malnutrition, in great part driven by conflict, extreme weather events, and economic downturns and slowdowns, the transformation of our agrifood systems has never been more urgent. FAO believes that South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) is a driving force in global agricultural development and in the rethinking of food and agriculture. This was the driving FAO message at the 21st Session of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation (HLCSSC), taking place in New York from 30 May to 2 June.

As the main policymaking body on South-South cooperation (SSC) in the United Nations system, the High-level Committee, in its 21st session, convened to review progress made in implementing the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries, the New Directions Strategy for South-South cooperation, the Nairobi outcome document of the High-level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation, and the Buenos Aires outcome document of the second High-level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40).

The 21st session further focused in particular on accelerating COVID-19 recovery and driving the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through SSTC.

Leading the FAO delegation at the HLCSSC was Anping Ye, the Director of the FAO SSTC Division, who underscored the many ways in which SSTC in action sets the building blocks to facilitate knowledge creation, catalyze investments and foster knowledge and exchange networks.

UN Rome-Based Agencies for food and agriculture stepping up engagement for Zero Hunger

Delivering a joint statement at the HLCSSC General Debate segment on behalf of FAO, IFAD and WFP – the United Nations Rome-based agencies working on food and agriculture – was FAO SSTC Director, Anping Ye. He stressed how strong collaboration among UN agencies on strategic initiatives is important to support countries in endeavors to achieving sustainable agrifood systems transformation and global poverty reduction.

“FAO is leading global efforts to build more sustainable agrifood systems, WFP is expanding its engagement in South-South and Triangular Cooperation with several new initiatives, and IFAD is adopting a new South-South and Triangular Cooperation Strategy,” he said.

As we are witnessing worsening food insecurity across the world, particularly in vulnerable countries, through the 2018 joint roadmap on SSTC – currently being updated to align to the UN system-wide strategy for SSTC – the RBAs have facilitated support to governments to enhance their agrifood systems.

FAO SSTC Director Ye also touched on the RBA’s joint initiative on Home-Grown School Feeding, through which the three agencies are connecting target countries with key southern partners to support the adoption of good practices and innovations that can improve their national home-grown school feeding programmes. The initiative stands to leverage the vast array of experience and successes from the Global South, to improve the nutrition and education of school children across the world.

“We are helping to establish nutritious local food value chains and improve ways in which smallholder farmers and their cooperatives and associations may access national and/or local markets,” FAO SSTC Director Ye explained, adding “Home-grown school feeding is a global game changer.”

Ye also touched on the urgency to reverse the negative trends in world food insecurity and malnutrition, the reversal of which is central to driving forward the achievement of all SDGs.

FAO strongly believes that innovative solutions in the Global South are fundamental to tackling, at the local level, issues of food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty. By combining and building on partners’ knowledge and resources, countries can, together, contribute to scaling up practices that have been proven to work in accelerating our path towards the shared Zero Hunger pledge.

Mobilizing financial and technical resources to support at the local level the Global South is also a priority, Ye said. “Field-oriented and effective collaboration on SSTC is critical to support countries reverse negative trends and build forward better and stronger,” he stressed. To transform ideas to action and continue implementing them on the ground, support from all partners is key. 

In this spirit, the new FAO SSTC Guidelines for Action 2022-2025 mark a shift from ad-hoc SSTC activities to a more programmatic, focused, results-based, systematic, quality-assured, service-driven and integrated approach to operationalizing SSTC in FAO.

Related links

  • Read more about the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation (HLCSSC).
  • Stay informed on FAO’s work on South-South and Triangular Cooperation.
  • Review the FAO SSTC Guidelines for Action 2022-2025 here.
  • More about the work of the UN RBAs on strengthening school feeding programmes through SSTC.