South-South in Action: The Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States

March 13, 2019

Regional organizations are important partners in South-South cooperation and for the global community in its efforts to reach the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Established in 2009, the Turkic Council is a regional organization that works towards fostering cooperation among Turkic-speaking States and across the region. It brings together four member States (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey) whilst engaging with several partner countries. This report aims at familiarizing the reader with the wide range of activities undertaken by Turkic Council, and the way that South-South cooperation mechanisms are used by the organization and its member States. The report describes the institutional set-up of the Turkic Council and its member States for South-South cooperation, with a particular focus on partnerships with other multilateral organizations. At the heart of the report, three concrete initiatives by the Turkic Council in the fields of tourism, customs and diplomacy are presented and analysed based on information provided by the Turkic Council as well as interviews with participants and trainers.

There are several lessons to be learned for other regional organizations from the Turkic Council’s experience with South-South cooperation to foster sustainable human development. First, South-South cooperation must be based on an agreed set of values and political commitment. In the case of the Turkic Council, the Nakhchivan Agreement – the organization’s founding document from 2009 – has firmly enshrined the principles of cooperation of the organization. Second, thematic areas for cooperation need to address concrete challenges and must emerge through consultative processes. The Turkic Council decides on one specific technical topic each year, which then is taken forward in collaboration with member States with a strong focus on knowledge-sharing and capacity development. Third, in today’s interconnected world and to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, partnerships with other stakeholders both in and outside of the region are essential. To this end, the Turkic Council has successfully been building partnerships with international organizations, academia, and the private sector. The report concludes that the Turkic Council is in a unique position to take on an active role in raising awareness on South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation in its member States and beyond.