South-South Ideas: Designing a Survey of the Institutional Architecture of South-South Cooperation

September 13, 2021

Research paper authored by by Dr. Nilima Gulrajani, Senior Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

The BAPA+40 outcome document recognises the importance of building institutional capacity to formulate and implement national development policies, strategies and programmes for South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTrC). It also encourages systematic data collection to improve SSTrC quality and impact, as the national methodologies adopted for monitoring, measuring and evaluating SSTrC are currently very diverse. Given these dual aims, this report assesses the feasibility of a global survey on the institutional architecture of SSTrC. A survey can provide a systematic framework to account for and compare the institutional foundations of SSTrC. Understanding how Southern actors institutionalise their development cooperation can have a direct, positive consequence on delivering Agenda 2030. It can help all countries make critical institutional choices.

A survey triangulates various data sources to explore the correlation between Southern institutional choices and other political and policy variables, which can also expand Southern development cooperation scholarship.

The report outlines key definitions following the introductory section. Section 3 presents three dimensions of public administration: governance, regulation and administration, then uses these as a framing device to compare Southern institutional architecture. Section 4 outlines the methods used to assess the feasibility of a cross-national survey collecting primary data from Southern cooperation providers. This involved reviewing existing publications comparing development institutionalisation in the South, interviewing researchers engaged in similar institutional studies, and gathering the opinions of Southern civil servants through an online questionnaire.

Section 5 analyses the findings of the literature review by delving into aspects like its coverage, comprehensiveness, and data collection approaches. Section 6 assesses the benefits and challenges of a global survey, given the methodological, logistical and political challenges and potential practical implications. Section 7 proposes a survey framework and examines how a survey might be planned and a questionnaire designed. Section 8 concludes by arguing that a survey would have considerable value for both policymakers and development practitioners.