South-South Cooperation for Sustainable Development

Published on 13 Feb 2017 24


A major trend of the past two decades has been the transformation of growth and development performance and prospects in the global South. Increases in economic output and major improvements in key human development indicators as well as the rapid expansion of trade, investment and nancial, technological and other ows between developing countries have been remarkable. Along with this trend, the global development cooperation landscape is changing rapidly. Emerging economies and other developing countries have become key actors in the new development architecture through their contribution to overcoming pressing development challenges. In addition, the diversity and richness of the shared practices and experiences, the lessons they o er for building common agendas at global and regional levels, and the leadership they promote, particularly at the local level, have also played a major part in the global transformation. South-South and Triangular Cooperation has emerged as an important vehicle to accelerate human development and will assume greater importance in the future. It has increasingly demonstrated its contribution to development results through a variety of exible cooperation modalities, including knowledge exchanges, technology transfers, nancing, peer support, and neighbourhood initiatives, as well as countries forming common development agendas and seeking collective solutions. Often under-reported and sometimes hard to quantify, the estimated value of South-South Cooperation has exceeded US$20 billion in 2013.1

While being important complements to but not substituting North-South cooperation, South-South and Triangular Cooperation has led to more diverse opportunities for development assistance and cooperation. The Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) encouraged “developing countries to voluntarily step up their e orts to strengthen South-South cooperation, and to further improve its development e ectiveness in accordance with the provisions of the Nairobi outcome document of the High- level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation”2 in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development. The Outcome Document also committed countries to “strengthening triangular cooperation as a means of bringing relevant experience and expertise to bear in development cooperation.”3

Additionally, the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) stress the importance of South-South cooperation in implementing the 2030 agenda. Goal 17, “Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development,” particularly places emphasis on the critical role of South-South and Triangular Cooperation in achieving this ambitious development agenda. It also set targets for South-South and Triangular Cooperation that target both technology4 and capacity-building5 in which all countries have committed to achieve. Last but not least, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change also emphasized the importance of South-South and Triangular Cooperation in tackling climate change. 

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