ILO: South-South & Triangular Cooperation Featured Partner

ILO Strategy on South-South & Triangular Cooperation

The ILO considers South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) a means of advancing the Decent Work Agenda and a tool for taking full advantage of the Organization‘s experience with and knowledge of its tripartite – government, workers and employers – constituents. The ILO’s South-South and Triangular Cooperation Strategy was adopted in 2012. It draws on the 2009 Nairobi Outcome document and establishes some definitions of SSTC that reflects the ILO’s particular mandate. Some key points may be highlighted:

  • A development cooperation modality that supports the engagement of governments and social partners from developing countries to promote the Decent Work Agenda.
  • Sharing of knowledge, good practices and experiences from the Global South, including SSTC capacity development programmes and training modalities in partnership with the ILO’s International Training Centre (ITC-ILO) in Turin.
  • Embracing a multi-stakeholder approach that includes peer-learning and mutual benefit between countries of the Global South.

The adoption of ILO’s future steps recommendations in 2018, as contained in the paper ILO South–South and triangular cooperation and decent work: Recent developments and future steps, highlighted some key features of SSTC in the ILO, including: the promotion Fragile-to-Fragile cooperation and City-to-City cooperation for the decentralization of the decent work agenda. Means of actions identified focus on the documentation and dissemination of good practices; the facilitation of exchanges and peer to-peer learning approaches; knowledge sharing between the social partners and other actors through multi-stakeholder partnerships.

ILO’s International Training Centre (ITC-ILO)

In cooperation with ITC-ILO, the Organization facilitated the first ever SSTC Academy, which trained 300 staff and ILO constituents, in 2016. Moreover, the ILO has integrated SSTC into the Social and Solidarity Economy Academy sessions held in Turin over the past five years, the Green Economy Academies, city-to-city cooperation seminars, and global, regional and local economic development forums (2017-2020). As a result, over 1,500 experts were provided with training on tools and policy guidance over four biennia. Currently, ILO’s Partnership and Field Support Department and ITC-ILO are collaborating to


provide new virtual courses adapted to the COVID-19 situation in thefields of sustainable tourism in rural areas, disaster risk reduction and skills development in Central America. Fine-tuning peer-learning methodologies and virtual technology has been the priority for these South-South initiatives. In the last quarter of 2020, this partnership will also support activities with BRICS countries focusing on statistics, labour migration and formalization of the informal economy.

ILO Partnerships to Promote South-South Cooperation

As an example of its continued commitment to facilitating peer-learning and the exchange of good practices on SSTC, ILO supports the participation of constituents from the Global South in events like the Global South–South Development Expo (GSSD) as well as other forums organized by the ILO and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). In support of knowledge management, the ILO maintains an SSTC portal and helped launch a South–South virtual meeting point, which provides access to a wealth of knowledge and resources related to SSTC and decent work. It has reinforced communications through “regional learning journeys” on development cooperation for ILO staff. Finally, between 2012 and 2020, the Office published over 250 reports, books, e-learning tools, how-to guides, and manuals covering different aspects and thematic areas of SSTC.


Progressively supporting social partners to engage with SSTC, the Organization facilitates cooperation between trade unions and employers’ organizations from the Global South. In particular, the Global Labour University programme and the ILO Global Business and Disability Network have provided technical support, the Future of Work Initiative in the GSSD has promoted governance dialogue and collaboration with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) has helped promote SSTC among trade unions in Asia and the Pacific.

The ILO continues to enhance and expand its SSTC partnerships within the UN and the bilateral and multilateral systems, and to establish further new partnerships, including with social partners and civil society organizations as well as parliamentarians, faith-based organizations, non-governmental organizations and civil society at the national, regional and global levels. A particular focus on regional, subregional and interregional cooperation has resulted in operational partnerships with various intergovernmental and multilateral organizations engaged in SSTC such as BRICS, IBSA, g7+, the CPLP, MERCOSUR, the Pacific Community, ASEAN, ECOWAS and UN regional economic commissions. This emphasis on cooperation has helped develop the basis for a regional SSTC facility in Africa based on tripartite consultations and built a strong foundation for continued partnership and the promotion of SSTC.