South-South Ideas: Did South-South Cooperation Step Up During the COVID-19 Response? National-Level Experiences & Implications for the Development Cooperation Architecture

Oct 31, 2023 | Publications, South-South Ideas

This South-South Ideas Paper was developed by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), under the South-South Global Thinkers initiative. The initiative aims to inform policy dialogues and agenda-setting on South-South cooperation by scaling up its impact in the implementation of the SDGs.


This South-South Ideas paper examines how South-South cooperation was used in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, shedding light on its strengths and challenges within the international development cooperation framework. During the pandemic, the Global South harnessed various South-South cooperation instruments to alleviate its impact. Southern countries worked to extend timely support to those in need, including both medical and financial aid, as well as to facilitate knowledge sharing and vaccine distribution, with notable contributions from China, Cuba, and India.

While the pandemic revealed South-South cooperation’s potential, data reporting and global coordination remained suboptimal, hindering a comprehensive understanding of its impact. The paper highlights the significance of medical aid and vaccines as achievements in international development cooperation and provides policy recommendations for enhancing South-South cooperation in the post-pandemic era. The paper also emphasizes the need for recipient countries to prepare and reform to maximize the effectiveness of South-South cooperation initiatives, ultimately underlining the growing importance of the Global South in the international development landscape.