Welcome to the United Nations

South-South and triangular cooperation

South-South cooperation is recognized as an increasingly important complement to North-South cooperation in the Financing for Development outcomes. It is central to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in areas including public and private finance mobilization, tax cooperation, sustainable production and consumption, science, research, technology and innovation and other regional public goods, such as collaboration around sustainable infrastructure, climate action, clean energy, disaster and epidemic management. The sharing of development strategies, priorities, resources and solutions among developing countries with common challenges can help countries build capacity and be a catalyst for achieving sustainable development. 

South-South cooperation trends

Given the variance among reporting methodologies for SSC and triangular cooperation, and the focus on non-financial modalities as an important element of SSC, generating quantitative estimates remains challenging. Apart from aggregated quantitative estimates, a number of data points offer insights on trends in SSC and triangular cooperation.

A survey by UN/DESA in 2017 found that 74 per cent of developing countries provided some form of development cooperation, up from 63 per cent in 2015. The survey also showed a marked rise in the share of developing countries that indicated the United Nations had undertaken activities to support South-South or triangular cooperation in their country, from 54 per cent in 2015 to 84 per cent in 2017. While many countries reported modest expenditures on SSC, with only 16 per cent of countries reporting expenditures of $1 million or more per year, several Southern partners have and continue to make major financial contributions to SSC. China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) is expanding and now includes over 100 countries. In 2018, as part of the BRI, China made a number of significant commitments, including an additional $60 billion to Africa and over $20 billion to the West Asian region, in addition to several bilateral commitments. As part of the International Solar Alliance, India approved nearly $28 billion in concessional credits, including about $10 billion for approximately 40 African partners, with special emphasis on partnerships with LDCs and SIDS.

 
read more

Developing countries are enhancing national mechanisms and institutional capacities to engage with SSC and triangular cooperation. In March 2018, China announced the establishment of an international development cooperation agency, to strengthen the strategic planning and overall coordination of its foreign aid. Southern partners are also making use of their relative advantages in their SSC. For instance, Brazil, Indonesia, and Turkey engage in areas of SSC in which they bring to bear particular expertise and capacity on entrepreneurial education, tropical agriculture and disaster prevention and response, while Cuba and Nigeria place emphasis on technical cooperation initiatives.

While the contribution of South-South and triangular cooperation to sustainable development continues to grow, there is need for continued development of legal and institutional frameworks to foster effective multi-stakeholder approaches to create enabling environments and mobilize a broader range of actors. Further efforts to mainstream regional and national experiences in South-South and triangular cooperation into national development cooperation plans and policies will also support building national ownership and enhance the quality of partnerships. In this context, regional groups have taken actions to advance SSC, developing regional frameworks, identifying priorities for action, and working together towards shared evaluation procedures and standards (see section 7.2). The elaboration by development cooperation agencies in the South of their own conceptual systems and methodological approaches for impact assessment of South-South and triangular cooperation, with further efforts to improve transparency and strengthen accountability, would advance knowledge-sharing and peer learning towards better results for sustainable development.

 
Southern multilateral financial institutions

In 2015, two new multilateral financial institutions of the South were established. Nearly three quarters of people targeted to receive assistance in 2018 were in countries affected by humanitarian crises for seven years or more. Recognizing that development is the most effective way to build resilience, a longer-term approach to addressing humanitarian needs should include development investments. Donors have increasingly adopted multi-year plans and funding, in line with Grand Bargain commitments. In 2019, multi-year humanitarian response plans will be in place in 11 countries.

In addition, partnerships with local and national actors have been strengthened to make humanitarian assistance as local as possible, and as international as necessary. Cash is more routinely used as a response modality. In 2016, cash transfer programming reached 10 per cent of global humanitarian aid. Better tools are in place to enable more accurate measurement of how much funding is going to whom, including through a more transparent Financial Tracking Service for publishing financial data. As at 1 May 2018, 44 out of 59 Grand Bargain signatories were publishing open data using the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Standard.

 

 

Triangular cooperation
Triangular cooperation is generally understood as partnerships between two or more developing countries, supported by a developed country or multilateral organization. This type of cooperation has also increased in scope during the past few years. Recent OECD data show that, while most triangular cooperation projects have been in Latin America (51 per cent), multiregional projects (21 per cent) and projects in Africa (13 per cent) and in Asia-Pacific (11 per cent) also grew. However, more evidence and analysis are needed on the scope, scale and impact of triangular cooperation to assess its contribution to achieving sustainable development objectives. The Global Partnership Initiative on Effective Triangular Cooperation is a multi-stakeholder platform with growing membership to exchange experiences and develop tools and voluntary guidelines for effective triangular cooperation, in addition to providing analysis.
 
read more

Developing countries are enhancing national mechanisms and institutional capacities to engage with SSC and triangular cooperation. In March 2018, China announced the establishment of an international development cooperation agency, to strengthen the strategic planning and overall coordination of its foreign aid. Southern partners are also making use of their relative advantages in their SSC. For instance, Brazil, Indonesia, and Turkey engage in areas of SSC in which they bring to bear particular expertise and capacity on entrepreneurial education, tropical agriculture and disaster prevention and response, while Cuba and Nigeria place emphasis on technical cooperation initiatives.

While the contribution of South-South and triangular cooperation to sustainable development continues to grow, there is need for continued development of legal and institutional frameworks to foster effective multi-stakeholder approaches to create enabling environments and mobilize a broader range of actors. Further efforts to mainstream regional and national experiences in South-South and triangular cooperation into national development cooperation plans and policies will also support building national ownership and enhance the quality of partnerships. In this context, regional groups have taken actions to advance SSC, developing regional frameworks, identifying priorities for action, and working together towards shared evaluation procedures and standards (see section 7.2). The elaboration by development cooperation agencies in the South of their own conceptual systems and methodological approaches for impact assessment of South-South and triangular cooperation, with further efforts to improve transparency and strengthen accountability, would advance knowledge-sharing and peer learning towards better results for sustainable development.

Addthis: