UN-OHRLLS: South-South & Triangular Cooperation Featured Partner


The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) was established in 2001 and today serves 91 vulnerable Member States of the United Nations. The 46 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), 32 Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and 38 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are facing their own unique sets of challenges in achieving sustainable development and internationally agreed goals.

UN-OHRLLS mobilizes international support and advocates in favor of the three vulnerable country groups, raising awareness about the economic, social and environmental potential that exists in these countries and ensuring that the pressing needs of the 1.1 billion people who live in them remain high on the international agenda.

UN-OHRLLS is committed to working with all relevant partners to support LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. It helps to coordinate the UN system in implementing the three respective programmes of action for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. Aside from national governments and their development partners, UN-OHRLLS also works with civil society, media, academia, and foundations to raise awareness of and support the sustainable development aspirations of the three-country groups.

In September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Ensuring that the global debate reaches national governments, UN-OHRLLS’ system of national focal points allows for coherence between international and national efforts to implement programmes of action and the 2030 Agenda.

UN-OHRLLS & South-South & Triangular Cooperation

UN-OHRLLS facilitates group consultations for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS as well as partnering to convene focused events around thematic development issues. Each group of countries — Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDC) and Small Island Developing States (SIDs) — has its own Programme of Action which guides the development work of countries, states, their partners, UN-OHRLLS and our stakeholders. Every 10 years each Programme is reviewed to reflect current development trends and the goals of each group for the next decade. Each of these strategic documents incorporates South-South and Triangular Cooperation and underlines the need to fully harness the opportunities offered by it as a complement to, but not a substitute for, North-South cooperation. They seek to achieve specific development results as articulated in their national development plans and priorities, based on solidarity and partnership within the context of South-South cooperation. These include: 1) Istanbul Programme of Action (LDCs), 2) Vienna Programme of Action (LLDC), 3) The SAMOA Pathway (SIDS).


1. Istanbul Programme of Action (LDCs):

The IPoA for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020 was adopted by the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries, in Istanbul, Turkey. The overarching goal of the ten-year Programme was to overcome the structural challenges faced by LDCs in order to eradicate poverty and achieve internationally agreed development goals and enable graduation from the least developed country category. This also includes other internationally agreed development goals, including the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement. While setting out goals and targets for the LDCs, the IPoA also laid out eight priority areas of action for LDCs where their development partners are expected to provide support and assistance. The IPoA also called for the realization of the potential of South-South cooperation in LDCs in areas such as human and productive capacity-building, technical assistance and exchange of best practices.

2) Vienna Programme of Action (LLDC)

The Vienna Programme of Action is centred upon addressing the challenges faced by LLDCs and aims to contribute to the eradication of poverty stemming from their landlockedness through the implementation of specific actions related to the priority areas of 1) Fundamental transit policy issues, 2) Infrastructure development and maintenance, 3) International trade and trade facilitation, 4) Regional integration and cooperation, 5) Structural economic transformation, 6) Means of implementation. The document recognizes the role of SSTC in increasing the growth and development of landlocked developing countries, as well as transit developing countries, through their contribution, as appropriate, to the sharing of best practices, human and productive capacity building, financial and technical assistance and technology transfer on mutually agreed terms. Given the increasing growth in South-South trade, the document highlights that the other developing countries could be important export destinations for the products of landlocked developing countries and sources of critical foreign direct investment. Sharing best practices in customs, border and corridor management and in the implementation of trade facilitation policies should be encouraged at the global, regional, subregional and South-South levels, including in the private sector;

3) The SAMOA Pathway (SIDS)

The SAMOA Pathway expanded the mandate of UN-OHRLLS to include small island developing states (SIDS). Sea-level rise and other adverse impacts of climate change continue to pose a significant risk to SIDS and their efforts to achieve sustainable development. For many, climate change also represents the gravest threat to their survival and viability. The document calls for enhanced international cooperation, including North-South, SouthSouth and triangular cooperation, and especially cooperation among small island developing States. It reaffirms the complementary role of South-South cooperation and not a substitute for North-South cooperation. It further highlights partnerships as effective instruments for mobilizing human and financial resources, expertise, technology and knowledge and can be powerful drivers for change, innovation and welfare, including strengthening technical assistance programmes in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and regional institutions in small island developing States.

Featured Event

5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5)

As the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (IPoA) draws to a close in 2020, the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) will take place in Doha, Qatar, from 23 to 27 January 2022, at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government.  The expected outcome of LDC5, a new 10-year programme of action for the LDCs, will be adopted at a critical time, falling within the last 10 years of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals across the LDCs.

The LDC5, among others, will include a track on South-South cooperation to review its contribution and deliberate on ways and means to scale up collaboration between LDCs and their southern partners to effectively address emerging challenges facing LDCs including the impacts of the COVID-19 and building back better.

A Ministerial Meeting on South-South Cooperation will be held on 25 January 2022 in the Qatar National Conference Centre.

The meeting aims to: 1) take stock of best practices and success stories in scaling up South-South cooperation in the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA), 2) identify initiatives and priority areas where South-South cooperation can generate impactful results in the next 10 years, and 3) explore ways and means to strengthen partnerships for achieving the goals and targets of the new programme of action for LDCs. Click here for more details on LDC5.