Blog by Xiaojun Grace Wang, UNDP's lead adviser on South-South and Triangular


Our new strategic plan champions thought leadership in various areas, including South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSC and TrC). To achieve that vision, we will need to work very closely with think tanks from the global South and open possibilities for cutting edge research, as there is much to be done to help bridge research with policy making and practices on the ground.

To start the conversation we presented perspectives from 21 think tanks in the North and South, at a recent partnership-forum we hosted at the Global South-South Development Expo 2014. This outlines emerging trends, roles, good practices and challenges faced by think tanks on SSC and TrC.

At the open platform the ensuing discussion revolved around the roles and responsibilities of think tanks in supporting the growth of South-South and Triangular Cooperation and creation of a common research agenda in this area.

Panelists from Brazil, China, India and Kenya presented their views on the concepts, principles, practices, and development impacts of SSC and TrC, and outlined steps for moving forward.

I would like to share with you some recommendations that emerged from the consultation, and where we could provide further support:

  • Assisting in developing networks for interregional collaboration – a good example of such collaboration is the recently established Network of Southern Think-tanks (NeST).
  • Supporting global think tanks to actively engage with respective governments and other development actors in the context of SSC and TrC.
  • Working towards creating a minimally accepted conceptual framework for South-South Cooperation -- This is important for systematic data gathering.
  • Support research on SSC’s contribution towards achieving development goals at sector level with evidences to inform its linkages with the implementation of post 2015 agenda.

This consultation process helped create a space to exchange opinions across sectors, countries and regions, especially within the think tank community interested in SSC and TrC policy research. The discussions at the forum revealed that the new development agenda offers emerging ideas for research and great opportunities for SSC and TrC. We hope to continue such discussions in the future and actively work towards bridging the gap between research and policy making in SSC and TrC.