South-South and Triangular Cooperation within the UN System
Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC)
BAPA was adopted by consensus at the United Nations Conference on Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1978. BAPA represents a major milestone in the evolution of technical cooperation, establishing its role as a vital instrument for fostering South-South cooperation. BAPA provides the conceptual underpinning as well as a practical guide for realizing the objectives of TCDC, centering on “the furthering of the national and collective self-reliance of developing countries and the enhancement of their creative capacity to solve their development problems”.
Nairobi Outcome Document
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of BAPA, the High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation, held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2009, adopted the Nairobi Outcome Document, which was subsequently endorsed by the General Assembly. The Nairobi Outcome Document was adopted against the backdrop of an expansion of cooperation among developing countries, from the technical domains, to, among other things, the creation of regional custom unions, and “cooperation in political fields, institutional and regulatory frameworks, and inter-State transport and communications networks”. The Nairobi Outcome Document defined a set of normative and operational principles that continue to guide how the South-South cooperation modality operates.
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
In 2015, the international community adopted a new, ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to guide action by the international community and by national governments to promote shared prosperity and well-being for all over the next 15 years. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the salient role of South-South cooperation in achieving its goals and targets. Sustainable Development Goal 17 (“Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”) made explicit references to the role of South-South and triangular cooperation in mobilizing additional financial resources for developing countries, enhancing access to science, technology and innovation, enhancing knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, as well as implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries, for the implementation of all the sustainable development goals.
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement, the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa, and other internationally agreed development goals
South-South cooperation is also increasingly seen as having immense potential in contributing to the achievement of a wide range of internationally agreed development goals. Major frameworks, including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, and the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, have given new impetus to South-South and triangular cooperation. In July 2016, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the period 2016 – 2025 as the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDAIII), underlining the need for sustainable industrialization of Africa. South-South and triangular cooperation was explicitly called upon for the implementation of IDDA3 in support of Africa’s industrialization.
Buenos Aires Outcome Document
A decade after the adoption of the Nairobi Outcome Document, the Second United Nations High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation, known as “BAPA +40 Conference”, was held again in Buenos Aires, in 2019. The BAPA +40 Conference, held under the overreaching theme of “Role of South-South cooperation and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: challenges and opportunities”, adopted an action-oriented, intergovernmentally agreed Buenos Aires Outcome Document that affirmed the role of South-South cooperation in the evolving landscape of development cooperation.
How UNIDO works to promote South-South cooperation?
In light of the changing global industrial setting, UNIDO plays an important role in the United Nations system with regards to South-South Cooperation, as it strives to be:
- Engaged in the implementation of technical cooperation projects;
- A global convener for South-South cooperation and Triangular Cooperation dialogue;
- A broker/sponsor of partnerships & knowledge exchange among Northern and Southern countries;
- An active agent and monitor of South-South cooperation global processes, dynamics and future modalities.
UNIDO promotes South-South cooperation through the following activities:
UNIDO technical cooperation projects with South-South cooperation modalities
UNIDO platforms, networks and partnerships with South-South cooperation modalities
UNIDO as a global convener on South-South cooperation
What is South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation?
South-South Cooperation is “a process whereby two or more developing countries pursue their individual and/or shared national capacity development objectives through exchanges of knowledge, skills, resources and technical know-how, and through regional and interregional collective actions.”
Triangular Cooperation is “Southern-driven partnerships between two or more developing countries supported by a developed country(ies) or multilateral organization(s) to implement development cooperation programmes and projects.”
Source: "Framework of operational guidelines on United Nations support to South-South and triangular cooperation: Note by the Secretary-General"
For more information, please contact:
Industrial Development Officer and Coordinator for South-South and Triangular Cooperation