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About / FAQ /

What is South-South cooperation?

South-South cooperation is a broad framework for collaboration among countries of the South in the political, eocnomic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains. Involving two or more developing countries, it can take place on a bilateral, regional, subregional or interregional basis. Developing countries share knowledge, skills, expertise and resources to meet their development goals through concerted efforts. Recent developments in South-South cooperation have taken the form of increased volume of South-South trade, South-South flows of foreign direct investment, movements towards regional integration, technology transfers, sharing of solutions and experts, and other forms of exchanges.

What is triangular cooperation?

Trinagular cooperation is a form of collaboration in which traditional donor countries and/or multilateral organizations facilitate South-South initiatives of two or more developing countries through the provision of funding, training and management and technological systems as well as other forms of support.

What is TCDC?

Technical cooperation among developing countries (TCDC) is a process whereby two or more developing countries pursue their individual or collective development through cooperative exchanges of knowledge, skills, resources and technical know-how.

What is the difference between TCDC and South-South cooperation?

South-South cooperation is a broader concept that in addition to technical cooperation includes collaboration that is political, economic or social in nature.

When and why was the Special Unit for TCDC created?

During the early 1970s, United Nations agencies began to realize that since countries of the global South shared similar socio-economic conditions, they might be better able to find common solutions to a variety of problems rather than adhere strictly to Northern models of development assistance. In 1972, the General Assembly created a Working Group on TCDC that recommended the creation of a special unit for TCDC. In 1974, the General Assembly, in its resolution A/3251 (XXIX), endorsed "the estabishment of a special unit within the United Nations Development Programme to promote technical cooperation among developing countries...with the objective of integrating this activitiy of technical co-operation among developing countries fully within the Programme". When the General Assembly in 1976 called for the Buenos Aires Conference, the Special Unit was the focal point of the preparatory process, and it was later strengthened to handle follow-up actions. In 1974, the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 3251 (XXIX), endorsed "the establishment of a special unit within the United Nations Development Programme to promote technical co-operation among developoing countries". With the endorsement of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries by the General Assembly in 1978 (resolution 33/134), the Special Unit was strengthened in order to fulfil its primary mandate, set forth in BAPA: to promote, coordinate and support South-South and triangular cooperation globally and within the United Nations system. 

What is the Group of 77?

The largest coalition of developing countries in the United Nations, the Group of 77 (G-77) was established on 15 June 1964 by 77 developing countries that were signatories of the Joint Declaration of the Seventy-seven Countries issued at the end of the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. Beginning with the first Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 in Algiers, Algeria, from 10 to 25 October 1967, which adopted the Charter of Algiers, a permanent institutional structure began to develop, which led to the creation of Chapters of the G-77 in Rome (FAO), Vienna (UNIDO), Paris (UNESCO) and Nairobi (UNEP) and the Group of 24 in Washington, D. C. (IMF and World Bank). Although the membership of the G-77 has increased to 131 countries, the original name has been retained because of its historic significance.

See also: Group of 77

What is the Buenos Aires Plan of Action?

The Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries, endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly, is the result of a Conference held in Argentina's capital in 1978, attended by representatives of 138 countries. Aimed at the promotion and implementation of TCDC, the Plan presents 38 recommendations for the enhancement of TCDC, with a focus on increasing the capacity of developing countries and developing their awareness of and confidence in one anothers capabilities. The concept of TCDC had already been thoroughly studied and analysed for over five years at the international and interregional levels prior to the Conference, where the principal objectives of TCDC were elaborated.

See also: The Buenos Aires Plan of Action Document

What is the High-level Committee (HLC) on South-South Cooperation?

Originally, as indicated in the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, the overall intergovernmental review of South-South cooperation was entrusted to a high-level meeting of representatives of all countries participating in UNDP. This meeting was named the High-level Committee (HLC) on the Review of TCDC in 1980. Then the General Assembly, in its resolution 58/220 of 23 December 2003, decided to change the name to the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation. The HLC meets every two years to undertake an overall intergovernmental review of South-South cooperation in the United Nations development system, serviced by the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation.

The UN General Assembly has consistently endorsed the relevance of the recommendations of the HLC, underscoring the importance of implementing its decisions as a basis for strengthening South-South cooperation.

What is UNDP?

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN's global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. It is on the ground in 177 countries and territories, working with governments and people on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and its wide range of partners that can bring about results.

See also: About UNDP

What is the role of UNDP in South-South Cooperation?

UNDP supports and promotes South-South cooperation by applying South- South approaches in its global, regional and country programmes. Furthermore, through hosting the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, UNDP supports global and United Nations system-wide efforts to advocate for, promote, coordinate and facilitate South-South cooperation.

What are pivotal countries in the context of South-South cooperation?

Pivotal countries are developing countries that, by virtue of their capacities and experience in promoting South-South cooperation, are positioned to play a lead role in the promotion and application of South-South cooperation, mainly by sharing their capacities and experience with other developing countries in their region or in other regions.

The concept of pivotal countries emerged in 1995 from a recommendation contained in the New Directions Strategy on TCDC that was approved by the High-level Committee on TCDC and the United Nations General Assembly.

The following are the 22 countries that were first identified as pivotal countries: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malta, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, the Republic of Korea, Senegal, Thailand, Trindad and Tobago, Tunisia and Turkey.

What is a focal point for South-South cooperation?

A focal point for South-South cooperation is a dedicated unit or entity whose main functions are to:

  • assist in the formulation of national South-South cooepration policies, strategies and programmes;
  • organize orientation seminars, training courses and study tours;
  • serve as a liaison between national enterprises and their foreign counterparts involved in South-South cooperation;
  • assess the costs, benefits and overall impact of South-South cooperation on a country's development needs;
  • provide guidance in the development of a national South-South cooperation information network; and
  • maintain an inventory of the country's needs and domestic resources that it is willing to share with other countries.

What is the New Directions for TCDC?

The report on New Directions for TCDC was adopted by the HLC on TCDC during its ninth session in 1995. Among many decisions, the New Directions highlighted the need to adopt a more strategic orientation for TCDC, focused on high-priority areas such as trade and investment, debt, environment, poverty alleviation, production and employment, macroeconomic policy coordination and aid management.

See also: New Directions

What is WIDE?

The Web of Information for Development (WIDE) is a web-enabled service platform that is part of the Global South-South Development Academy. It enables institutions to build and maintain their own roster(s) of experts.

WIDE offers comprehensive services, including:

  • roster-building and roster-management online tools;
  • established processes to guide new roster managers;
  • standard e-mail templates that can be customized and adopted for regular communications with roster candidates and experts;
  • user support; and
  • the possibility of federating rosters.

See also: WIDE - The Web of Information for Development

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