South-South and Triangular Cooperation

10 key questions to understand South-South Cooperation Day, 12 September

Did you know that some of the most innovative and sustainable development practices today come from the Global South?

12/09/2016 - 

12 September 2016, Rome – Today marks the UN’s South-South Cooperation (SSC) day. Here we seize the opportunity to review some key issues which help understand why South-South Cooperation is an effective and efficient mean to achieving a world without hunger. So, did you really know…

1.Why 12 September is the South-South Cooperation Day?

The General Assembly of the United Nations decided back in 2003 to observe this day every year to highlight the importance of South-South Cooperation “as an important element of international cooperation for development, which offers viable opportunities for developing countries and countries with economies in transition in their individual and collective pursuit of sustained economic growth and sustainable development.”

It used to be celebrated on the 19 December, but in 2011, the UN General Assembly moved the date to 12 September to commemorate the adoption - that day in 1978 - of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries.

2.What are the origins of South-South Cooperation?

The SSC concept gained international recognition in 1955 during the Bandung Conference that brought 29 African and Asian leaders together in Indonesia, and has been used for decades as a basis for academic research and voluntary cooperative efforts between Southern countries to promote South-South trade and investment. The conference recognized the urgency of promoting economic cooperation among the global South and signaled the beginning of a trend, which was to have a profound influence on future international cooperation. In the 1970s, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a number of resolutions calling on the international community to utilize the UN system as a vehicle to assist developing countries in increasing technical exchanges among themselves. These efforts culminated in the UN Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC), held in Buenos Aires in 1978. The Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) 

3.What is actually South-South Cooperation?

SSC is the mutual sharing and exchange of key development solutions between and among countries in the global South. Knowledge sharing, capitalizing on experiences and good practices, policies, technologies or resources are the most common forms of cost-effective country-country cooperation.

4.What are SSC normative and operational principles?

The key underlying principles to SSC are solidarity, national ownership and leadership as well as respect for national sovereignty, mutual benefit, accountability and transparency, coordination of evidence- and results-based initiatives, involving a multistakeholder approach. , SSC is alternative and complementary to conventional North-South cooperation.

5.Which countries are funding SSC related projects?

Most of FAO’s SSC projects have been funded by Middle-Income Countries. In the last two years, financial contributors to SSC included Angola, Brazil, China, Korea, Japan, Morocco, Turkey or Venezuela. Furthermore, new funding sources, such as the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) SSC Facility, have attracted more interest to SSC related projects.

6.What is Triangular Cooperation?

TrC involves two or more countries of the global South in collaboration witha third party, typically a multilateral institution, traditional resource partner, or emerging economy, facilitating SSC through the provision of technical or financial resources. For example Spain supported to SSC between Namibia and Viet Nam through the establishment of a USD 1.8 million Trust Fund that fielded Vietnamese experts to advise on how to boost Namibia’s aquaculture production.

7.Is FAO a global leading facilitator in South-South Cooperation?

FAO is recognized as a leading player and facilitator of SSC for food security and agricultural development. The Organization helps connect SSC country demand and supply, as well as it ensures the quality of exchange. More and more countries are requesting support to FAO, recognizing its role as neutral broker. With over two decades of experience, FAO has been involved in fielding more than 1800 Southern Experts to over 50 host countries. Since 2012, the organization has put special emphasis to this way of cooperation to achieving its objectives.

8.What are FAO comparative advantages as facilitator of SSC?

FAO provides a tested framework for cooperation, setting SSC in a broader context to reach national food security and agricultural development goals. Quality is assured in line with FAO’s mandate and compliance with SSC principles. FAO’s country presence in over 120 country, subregional and Regional Offices, enables the Organization to support the operational, logistical, and technical aspects of the exchange, and brings development cooperation to scale: through FAO Southern and triangular partners can participate in regional/ global initiatives supported by FAO and thus achieve greater impact which bilaterally would not have been possible. Greater visibility and outreach can be reached by partnering with FAO.

9.What is the biggest UN forum for South-South Cooperation?

The Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) is a UN forum dedicated to showcasing successful Southern-grown development solutions that contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

GSSD Expo was endorsed by the UN General Assembly Member States through the Nairobi Outcome Document in the High-level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation, held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2009. This year the conference will take place in Dubai, 31 October – 3 November. It is facilitated by the UNOSSC.

10.Is there a FAO Guide to South-South Cooperation?

South-South Cooperation Guides now available in Spanish, French and Arabic

An FAO Quick Guide to South-South Cooperation is available in Arabic, English, French, and Spanish. The guide encourages all stakeholders to engage in South-South Cooperation (SSC), as a complementary instrument to conventional North-South Cooperation and key means to deliver to achieve the overarching Sustainable Development Goals.

What it is in the Guide?

With SSC playing an ever increasing role in agriculture and food security, the Guide provides key information on how to position FAO as SSC facilitator. It explains how to initiate and make a match between country needs (demand) and Southern providers (supply), and highlights all steps from beginning to end to carrying out an SSC initiative. It also contains practical tips, tools, case studies and lessons learned drawn from FAO’s long history as a lead SSC facilitator. 

For more information on FAO and SSC, visit the South-South website or read the South-South Cooperation brochure.