South-South Cooperation in Action: Stories of Success

March 10, 2020

Since 1978, when the delegations from 138 states adopted a Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (the Buenos Aires Plan of Action), South-South Cooperation and “Triangular Cooperation” – collaboration among developing countries and a developed-world partner – have been recognized as important means of development cooperation and technology transfer.

In March 2019, during the Second United Nations High-Level Conference on South-South Cooperation, the international community reaffirmed its commitment to South South Cooperation (SSC) and called for greater South-South cooperation to achieve sustainable development. The Bali Strategic Plan (BSP) on Technology Support and Capacity Building of 2005 (UNEP/GC.23/6/Add.1) recognized South-South cooperation as a means of supporting capacity-building efforts in developing countries and countries with economies in transition through systematic partnerships and the exchange of expertise, experiences, best practices and knowledge among experts and institutions of the South.

Collaboration among countries in the developing world promotes country or regional ownership of new policies and facilitates the uptake of new technologies and methodologies. Indeed, the Sustainable Development Goals stress the importance of South-South cooperation in implementing the 2030 Agenda. Goal 17, “Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development,” places particular emphasis on the critical role of South-South and triangular cooperation in achieving this ambitious development agenda

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has for many years used South-South and Triangular Cooperation in the delivery of the organization’s programme of work, and it continues to do so today. This pamphlet showcases UNEP’s engagement in this approach through a variety of projects and initiatives conducted over the past few years. Key lessons learned in the implementation of these projects can help us to better structure and implement South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

The projects and initiatives highlighted in this document demonstrate how South-South and Triangular Cooperation can facilitate and catalyse environmental management, policy development, and implementation. These examples make the case for increased focus on South-South Cooperation to achieve impact and increase efficiency. They demonstrate that the tailored and purposeful application of this approach can enhance countries’ abilities to attain the SDGs as well as efficiency of UN agencies and other development partners in supporting them towards this goal