South-South cooperation is a common endeavour of peoples and countries of the South, born out of shared experiences and sympathies, based on their common objectives and solidarity, and guided by, inter alia, the principles of respect for national sovereignty and ownership, free from any conditionalities. Operationally, South-South cooperation for development is a process whereby two or more developing countries pursue their individual and/or shared national capacity development objectives through exchanges of knowledge, skills, resources and technical know-how and through regional and interregional collective actions, including partnerships involving Governments, regional organizations, civil society, academia and the private sector, for their individual and/or mutual benefit within and across regions. South-South cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North-South cooperation. This definition is an attempt to present a cohesive meaning of South-South cooperation within the United Nations system. (SSC/19/3)
Triangular cooperation involves Southern-driven partnerships between two or more developing countries supported by a developed country(ies)/or multilateral organization(s) to implement development cooperation programmes and projects. Evidence shows that in many instances, Southern partners in development cooperation require the financial and technical support and expertise of multilateral and/or developed-country partners in the course of assisting other developing countries (see TCDC/9/3). Northern partners also benefit by being able to take advantage of increased institutional capacity in the South and to increase the impact of their aid disbursements by leveraging the resources of multiple Southern partners. Developed countries have increasingly expressed strong support for this approach to development and a willingness to share their experience and lessons learned as long as the triangular cooperation process is led and owned by Southern actors in order to achieve development results. (SSC/19/3)
Guiding Principles of South-South Cooperation
South-South cooperation is a manifestation of solidarity among peoples and countries of the South that contributes to their national well-being, their national and collective self-reliance and the attainment of internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The South-South cooperation agenda and South-South cooperation initiatives must be determined by the countries of the South, guided by the principles of respect for national sovereignty, national ownership and independence, equality, non-conditionality, non-interference in domestic affairs and mutual benefit.
Objectives of South-South Cooperation
The basic objectives of South-South collaboration, according to the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries endorsed by the General Assembly in 1978 (resolution 33/134), are to:
- foster the self-reliance of developing countries by enhancing their creative capacity to find solutions to their development problems in keeping with their own aspirations, values and specif needs;
- promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among developing countries through the exchange of experiences; the pooling, sharing and use of their technical and other resources; and the development of their complementary capacities;
- strengthen the capacity of developing countries to identify and analyse together their main development issues and formulate the requisite strategies to address them;
- increase the quantity and enhance the quality of international development cooperation through the pooling of capacities to improve the effectiveness of the resources devoted to such cooperation;
- create and strengthen existing technological capacities in the developing countries in order to improve the effectiveness with which such capacities are used and to improve the capacity of developing countries to absorb and adapt technology and skills to meet their specific developmental needs;
- increase and improve communications among developing countries, leading to a greater awareness of common problems and wider access to available knowledge and experience as well as the creation of new knowledge in tackling development problems;
- recognize and respond to the problems and requirements of the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and the countries most seriously affected by, for example, natural disasters and other crises; and
- enable developing countries to achieve a greater degree of participation in international economic activities and to expand international cooperation for development.