Welcome to the South-South Global Thinkers BAPA+40 e-Discussion focusing on the "Role of South-South Cooperation and the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."


I have the pleasure of moderating this e-Discussion and am pleased to inform you that the e-discussion deadline has been extended until November 6, 2018.


In order to strengthen South-South cooperation, the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 71/244, will convene a high-level United Nations Conference on South-South cooperation on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (BAPA+40 Conference).


The purpose of this e-Discussion will be to invite think tank network members of the South-South Global Thinkers: the Global Coalition of Think Tank Networks for South-South Cooperation to contribute to the preparatory processes for the BAPA+40 Conference


The e-Discussion will feed into an Independent Annual Report on South-South and Triangular Cooperation, which has been requested by the UN Secretary-General, and will provide valuable inputs that will inform deliberations of Member States towards the adoption of an outcome document. In this regard, the Independent Report will be launched and presented at the high-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (BAPA+40 Conference) to be held next March in Argentina. 


The UNOSSC Independent Comprehensive Annual Report on South-South and triangular cooperation will reflect on the importance of this historical milestone, the progress that has been made towards the Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC) and subsequently South-South & triangular cooperation, its growing distinctiveness in contrast to traditional development cooperation, and the collaborative international relations between countries in the Global South. Specific focus will be offered on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and how their achievement can be facilitated, has, and could be further accelerated through South-South and triangular cooperation. 

The Annual Independent report, as an information tool for political leaders, practitioners and academics, will explore the diversity of cooperative models, the impact of these models on current global challenges, including sustainable development and poverty reduction, and the need for more innovative and inclusive strategies to develop as part of the multilateral and bilateral cooperation system.


The e-discussion will also be presented during a South-South Global Thinkers Steering Committee meeting to take place during the Global South-South Development Expo on 27 November 2018, in New York.


In particular, this e-discussion will focus on the below BAPA+40 conference theme/sub-themes, which have been endorsed by the General Assembly:


The overarching theme of the BAPA+40 Conference is as follows: “The role of South-South cooperation and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Challenges and opportunities.”


The BAPA+40 Conference sub-themes are as follows:

  • Comparative advantages of and opportunities for South-South cooperation;

  • Challenges and the strengthening of the institutional framework of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation;

  • Sharing of experiences, best practices and success stories; and

  • Scaling up the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda in support of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation.

In line with the above-mentioned BAPA+40 Conference theme and sub-themes, the e-Discussion will focus on the four questions below:


  • Questions 1: How did South-South and triangular cooperation contribute to poverty eradication, reducing inequality and equitable economic growth?  Kindly provide concrete good practices related to investment, trade, development cooperation, infrastructure, digital economy/tech and capacity building.  In addition, what were the challenges those good practices faced?

  • Question 2: How can South-South cooperation including triangular cooperation be scaled up in support of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda?

  • Question 3: What are the comparative advantages and opportunities of South-South and triangular cooperation compared to other modalities of cooperation?

  • Question 4:  What additional measures are needed to strengthen current institutions and legislative frameworks of South-South and triangular cooperation (focusing on the global, regional and national levels)?

To post a contribution to the e-Discussion, please enter your contribution in the comment box below and select the Comment button.


Best regards,
Dr. Hany Gamil Besada, e-Discussion Expert Moderator and
Senior Research Coordinator, UNOSSC


Comments (15)

Nawra  Mehrin
Nawra Mehrin

Message shared by Andrea Villarreal Ojeda, ILLAIP 

Reflections on the diversity of cooperative models and its effects on current global challenges- There are many comparative advantages and opportunities from South-South and Triangular Cooperation. For example, proximity to the beneficiary population translated into the effective recognition of needs and challenges in the territory. The implementation of cooperation projects, through horizontal mechanisms, leads to a better understanding of the nature of the priorities and local / regional challenges; built on the basis of: 
1)recognition of a shared history; 
2)comparable social organization systems; and
3)restrictions on economic growth and similar structural challenges. 

Adedeji Adeniran
Adedeji Adeniran

Let me briefly share some development in Africa with regards to using SSC as a tool to achieve SDGs.

The most important contribution I will say is the role of regional cooperation in stabilizing institution and deepening democracy in Africa. The incessant military intervention in governance has reduced, and inter-country conflicts has been eliminated. The role of ECOWAS and SADC in the West and Southern Africa in successful transition in Gambia and Zimbabwe is a case in point. There is now a general consensus about the sacrosanct of democratic rule and zero tolerance for unconstitutional take over. This development contributes significantly to SDG in many respects. One, conflict affects development directly, as resources are spend on warfare than on human capital and infrastructure. In fact, one cannot start discussing development in the absence of peace. Second, the relative institutional stability has galvanized conversation on democratic dividends. Ghana and Nigeria are good examples here. Both have recorded successful transition across political coloration and there is a trend of increasing demand for accountability. In Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, there is a recent wave of demand for budget transparency which government accordingly acceded to. This trend translates to more effective public sector service delivery. As was observed under the MDGS, what matter most is the efficiency and productive use of resources, as development financing can hardly be sufficient. 

There is also notable progress in regional economic integration. In 2018, the 54 African countries made a major step towards creating a single market through the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). This development if actualize will make Africa the largest market after China and India. Small countries can leverage on this to negotiate better deal. It can also fast track countries entry into middle spectrum of the global supply chain. For many African countries, there are challenges trading with developed economies, but CFTA at least open up African market.  This is another channel that SSC can help in delivering SDGs.
Nevertheless there are areas of challenges. Institutional/governance development although improving, but it is at a painfully slow pace. Conflict created by non-state actors is also becoming more prominent. Boko Haram in Nigeria and election violence in Kenya are key examples here. More than 10 million internally displaced persons now live on the African continent. There is also distrust in regional economic cooperation from local actors in different countries. Labour unions in Nigeria and South Africa have prevented their respective government from signing the CFTA. 

Interestingly, the solution to these problems lies in more regional integration not less. It required moving from government to government relationship to people to people relationship. These ensure state and non-state actors are involved in building viable and strong regional cooperation. 

André de Mello e Souza
André de Mello e Souza

Many thanks for the invitation to participate in this important and timely debate. Regarding the best practices that could and should be replicated by means of SSC and TrC in order to contribute to "poverty eradication, reducing inequality and equitable economic growth" abroad, theme of this e-discussion,  the Bolsa Família stands out in Brazil.  This cash-transfer program uses since 2003 a highly descentralized system run by municipalities and financed by the federal government to complement the income of the poorest Brazilians.  It currently benefits almost 47 million people.  The program is based upon the premise that the best way to support the poor is to grant them autonomy to allocate resources according to their own priorities.  Hence, instead of providing free education, food or gas to the poor, as happened before, the government began providing money and letting beneficiaries decide where to spend it.  They know best what are their needs. There are, however, conditionalities related to school performance and attendance of children as well as health check-ups, particularly for pregnant women. The program proved to be remarkably cost-effective: it uses about 1% of the federal government budget and produces a significant direct impact  in the lives of nearly one fourth of the country's population, allowing beneficiaries to escape the poverty trap.  Moreover, studies show that Bolsa Família produces also significant and positive indirect multiplier effects, generating economic dynamism in the most depressed regions of Brazil. Brazil has shared its experience with this program with other developing countries, but this best-practice still has great potential to be replicated by means of SSC. 

Hany  Besada
Hany Besada Moderator

Dear Dr. Souza, thank you very much for your valuable contribution to the e-discussions. It is much appreciated. Indeed, the Bolsa Familia Program has become a principle project of Brazil’s South-South cooperation in social development. From my understanding, the Brazil-Africa program on Social Development was launched back in 2006 which gathered delegations from 6 African states to share experiences in cash transfers. This helped precipitate various other joint initiatives and transfer of knowledge and expertise between Brazil and Sub-Saharan Africa. The example of Purchase from Africans for Africa Programme launched by Brazil in 2012 helped promote innovative local initiatives of food purchase from smallholders for humanitarian food assistance and long term partnerships for combating hunger and cute malnutrition on the continent is a case in point. The success of both programs speak to the inclusion of policy entrepreneurs that promoted them in different policy circles, and building coalition of willing partners and stakeholders who have a vested interest to see them succeed. 

Dr Souza, I had three questions for you based on Brazil’s experience and foreign policy engagements on South-South Cooperation. What opportunities and activities of the future do you envision between Brazil and other countries of the Global South? Are there avenues for Brazil cooperation in new technologies, such as digital technologies, block chain, cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence? Also, based on the two above-mentioned initiatives by Brazil, what role will public-private partnerships and blended finance play in providing financial support to the operationalization of strategic objectives of the Global South and how South-South Cooperation could help facilitate this. Lastly, given the examples of Bolsa Familia and Purchase from Africans for Africa Program, how will Brazil continue cooperate on emerging development challenges such as climate change which impact food security in Africa and has a direct bearing on programs initiated by Brasilia to address acute hunger and malnutrition on the continent, one of the key Sustainable Development Goals?  Thank you very much once again for your valuable contributions.

Victor Vazquez Aranda
Victor Vazquez Aranda

In my opinion, Dr Raed Benshams from BIPA, presents an excellent summary of best practices and provides good ideas for scaling up South South and Triangular Cooperation. 
Following the MENA region example, there should be periodic  regional meetings where the best practices can be analyzed, evaluated and shared, allowing the participation of a wide range of public, private and academic representatives.
For that purpose, a responsible institution is required for organizing the meetings, with the ability to summon all the sectors and to promote a shared agenda among participants.
I believe that UNOSCC is very well positioned to fulfill that role and to promote those regional meetings. The events should allow an open dialogue around the main factors that facilitate and promote SSC, and about what types of initiatives are more successful, what kind of  institutional framework would be more efficient and effective, and what role should play governments, private sector (including think tanks) and academia.
I also agree with Dr Raed Benshams that formal frameworks or mechanisms would be required to analyse the impact of the best cooperation practices and to provide technical and financial support for those initiatives with greatest impact.
I hope that these relevant issues would be addressed in Buenos Aires, because they are relevant to scale up South-South and triangular Cooperation and to support the international community to successfully complete the 2030 Agenda.

Hany  Besada
Hany Besada Moderator

Hello Victor, thank you very much for your valuable contribution. I completely agree with your assessment of Dr Benshams’remarks. Indeed it is very important to continually and periodically hold forums to discuss examples of good practices in the context of South-South cooperation. Indeed, the UN Office for South-South Cooperation encourages member countries, private sector actors, civil society organization across the Global South to share their successful initiatives, polices and activities that have been instrumental in achievement of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.  Through South-South in Action Series, the publications which the UNOSSC helps to co-launch allows for members governments and partners to highlight and showcase success stories of successful undertakings which could be scaled and replicated. The series and events around these publications offer a window for development partners and relevant stakeholders to recognize opportunities for collaboration that exist in the Global South.
On an annual basis, the UNOSSC organizes the Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) designed to showcase evidence-based successful development solutions and initiatives created by institutions of countries from the global South to address development challenges. It provides a platform for developing countries, development partners and relevant stakeholders to showcase their development solutions, share knowledge and lessons learned, disseminate information, celebrate successes and explore potential areas for collaboration and initiate partnership efforts. Launched in 2008, the next GSSD Expo will take place in New York from 28-30 November 2018. The GSSD Expo, is the only UN system and worldwide platform for systematic showcasing of development solutions at national, regional and global levels, endorsed by the UN General Assembly in the Nairobi Outcome Document adopted at the last High-level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation, held in 2009.
I sincerely hope you would all be involved in this year’s Expo and share with us your wonderful good practices and initiatives. With my best wishes

South-South Global Thinkers Team
South-South Global Thinkers Team

Message shared by Dr.Raed Benshams - Bahrain Institute of Public Administration (BIPA): 
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the e-discussion that leads up to the BAPA+40 with regards to disseminating good practices via South-South Cooperation. At MENAPAR, we strongly believe in highlighting the good practices of the Arab countries and have hence dedicated an entire day to it at each of our annual conferences since 2014. We have also recently introduced an awards mechanism to even further highlight best practices in the region. Through this showcase mechanism, Bahrain has been able to learn of women’s entrepreneurship programs in infrastructure development in Tunisia, the GCC countries have been able to adopt Bahrain’s civil servant training model, African countries have been able to learn from Bahrain’s flagship e-learning service and more. Below is a list of successful South-South cooperation examples for the dissemination of good practices in the MENA region:
•    BIPA runs the National Leadership Program of Bahrain to build capacity of its civil servants. This has recently been shared with Sudan. The SDGs have been incorporated into all levels of the program to increase awareness about the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. This model has been proposed to be implemented by Egypt.
•    BIPA shares its flagship e-Learning service with ALGA-UCLGA in Morocco, GPC in Palestine, and the IPAs of Tunisia and Oman.
•    BIPA has conducted TNA methodology capacity building in Tunisia.
•    The GCC IPAs have proposed a unified TNA & RoI approach which has been piloted by BIPA.
•    GPC (Palestine) implemented a Code of Conduct and Ethics for its civil service which was showcased at the MENAPAR Best Practices Workshop.
In-depth research is still needed to assess the impact of these practices on the achievement of the SDGs especially poverty eradication, reducing inequality or equitable economic growth. The greatest challenge we face with scaling up our good practices across the MENA region and beyond is the lack of a framework or mechanism for technical and financial support. Bahrain’s e-government has won both regional as well as international awards (several from the United Nations) and 40 countries have been hosted to learn about it. However, there is a lack of mechanism to scale this up. We look forward to guidance from the GCTTN in this regard and are planning an event around it in early 2019.

Shagufta Ahmad
Shagufta Ahmad

Just want to add that Bahrain's key national priorities mapping against the Global Goals 2030 has been outlined in the country's VNR to the UN. We hope for this good practice to also be scaled across the MENA in the region's contributions towards the achievement of the SDGs. "The SDGs are implemented through the Government Plan of Action (GPA) and in
collaboration with the private sector and civil society. The current GPA’s six strategic pillars are aligned with the SDGs, with 78% of the SDG objectives included in the current program. This alignment will continue in future plans." Source: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/19354Bahrain_Ke…

Hany  Besada
Hany Besada Moderator

Dear Dr. Benshams 
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your very informative and timely contribution to this e-discussion. It is wonderful to hear of all the exciting initiatives at MENAPAR in highlighting good practices from the Arab world in the context of South-South Cooperation as well as the important steps taken by regional leaders to promote south-south cooperation for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by sharing technologies, facilitating investment and enhancing  capacity building.

We would be very keen to receive some of the rich input and views in terms of good practices in the area of South-South Cooperation in the context of the Arab World. At the UNOSSC, we greatly value a regional perspective relevant to your experiences in this area which would feed into our comprehensive Independent report to be launched next year at BAPA+40.

It would be useful to learn more about Sudan’s efforts in learning from the Bahrain’s experience in building capacity of its civil servants.  To what extent does this program help build capacities for the coordination and management of professional development and coordination of training in all state bodies in Sudan as well as for the development and implementation of a training strategy and consequently relevant policies needed to strengthen the country’s public service. I would be curious as to what how does Bahrain’s exemplary program could help inform the collaboration by Jordan’s Ministry of Public Sector Development and the Palestinian National Authority’s General Personnel Council in their efforts to develop a `Public Service Excellence program aimed at exchanging ideas and building capacities in good governance and effective public administration policy and service. 

Indeed, South-South Cooperation presents an exciting and important opportunity for the Middle East and North Africa to make serious headway in achieving progress towards the implementation of Agenda 2030. The diversity of modalities, instruments and approaches it provides coupled with complementary sources of partnerships and financing made possible with all the technological and knowledge transfers from South-South cooperation is something that should be maximized for the benefits of ordinary citizens of these countries. By channeling MENA’s large reserves of development finance coupled with an entrepreneurship energy and strong institutions could unlock billions of dollars in strategic economic cooperation across sectors needed to tackle some of the prevailing challenges the region faces such as income inequality, high unemployment, especially among youth and environmental degradation. 

It would be useful to learn more about the lack of mechanisms to scale your experience with e-government. What have been some of the lessons learned and challenges you have faced in this regard?

Once again, I am very thankful for your valuable insights and look forward to your further contributions to this important e-discussion. Best wishes

Hany  Besada
Hany Besada Moderator

Shagufta Ahmad  
Thank you very much Ms. Ahmad for your valuable contributions to the e-discussions.  It is extremely useful to learn about the Kingdom of Bahrain’s efforts in achieving Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development in consultation with civil society and the private sector, the agents of change in any country. From my understanding of this current Government Action Plan (2015-2018), the Kingdom of Bahrain is keen to deliver sustainable change through a number of socio-economic priorities, including:  
a) Greater support for local innovation and competitiveness supported by government
b) Improving economic well-being of its citizens building on the tremendous progress made over the past decade
c) Promoting private sector-led economic growth, innovation and technology transfer. The government’s plan is one that stresses greater usage of public and private resources and capacities which promotes a greater sense of self-reliance and resilience. 

Bahrain’s visionary action plan is one that provides the state with short to medium actionable goals and policies in line with the key priorities of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, the comprehensive vision for the country, providing clear direction for accelerated and sustainable broad-based development of the economy aimed at improving the lives of all its citizens.  Certainly, the country’s experience serves as a model for the region.

Hany  Besada
Hany Besada Moderator

Dear Victor, thank you very much for your comprehensive comments, specifically for rightly highlighting key contextual elements, which can facilitate and/or promote SSC (South-South Cooperation) and TrC (Triangular Cooperation), for example geographical proximity in the context of the EU. In terms of cooperation schemes, thank you for making the important distinction between SSC that is being promoted by multilateral organizations, such as the UN and its related organizations, and secondly SSC modalities that are promoted by national governments, in addition highlighting regional integration modalities, such as the Structural Convergence Fund (FOCEM) created by the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR). Often times, there is very little by way of identifying the distinctive features promoted by these cooperation schemes. Third, you rightly mentioned the bilateral initiatives that promote mutual benefits, and lastly, cooperation with private sector companies and civil society organizations. One needs to take note as to what extent are these bilateral arrangements strictly commercial in nature and do not necessary fall in line with the wider debate of what constitute South-South cooperation.  I agree with you that in order to scale up SSC and TrC in support of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, it would be important to conduct impact analysis to measure and make visible the impact of these initiatives. To what extent as these initiatives filling important capacity, financial and other gaps among cooperating countries required for the attainment of the SDGs.

I would like to ask our community of think tanks to come up with some ideas by way of good practices as they relate to South-South and triangular cooperation which would could contribute to poverty eradication, reducing inequality and equitable sustainable economic growth. Some consideration should be given to how that meet global development challenges such as climate change and gender disparities?

Victor Vazquez Aranda
Victor Vazquez Aranda

Thanks a lot for the opportunity to participate in this exchange of opinions on the contribution of South-South and triangular cooperation to promote development in general and the SDGs in particular. 
In our opinion, the contribution of SSC and triangular cooperation in promoting development could be important, but we do not know much about the level of impact, or the mechanisms through which the contributions materialize, or what schemes may have higher contribution. 
There are contextual elements that could facilitate or promote SSC among our countries. If some of those elements are not present, cooperation would be restricted. For example, absence of conflicts, geographical proximity (key for the European integration), a common language (advantage no exploited in Latin America), and political will or leadership of the better positioned countries (in South America, the political and economic situation of larger countries -Brazil, Argentina- undermine or hinder this option).
Regarding cooperation schemes, in our opinion it is important to consider the existence of different levels o mechanisms that require a separated analytical approach.
First, the cooperation promoted by multilateral organizations such as the UN and its related organizations, among which UNOSSC stands out. In the case of Paraguay, the contribution of FAO, UNICEF, UNDP, and others, is meaningful, and trough them SSC is promoted in several ways. In this category are included the multilateral financial organizations with global reach (IMF, World Bank) and regional scope (Inter-American Development Bank, CAF, and others).
Second, there are formal structures created by governments to directly promote SSC, among which the regional integration processes stand out, such as MERCOSUR and the Andean Community of Nations. For Paraguay, it is very important the Structural Convergence Fund (FOCEM) created by MERCOSUR, inspired by similar schemes adopted in the European Union. Other integration organizations were created in recent years with more political purposes, aiming to broader and more diffuse objectives, resulting in lower general impact. In South America, it can be mentioned the recent experiences of ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for America) and UNASUR (Union of South American Nations).
Third, bilateral initiatives are schemes with direct impact and mutual benefits. In the case of Paraguay, the Itaipu and Yacyreta hydroelectric plants built with Brazil and Argentina, respectively. Both plants allow Paraguay to receive important resources in terms of royalties and compensations.
Fourth, there are  cooperation initiatives promoted by the private sector and civil society organizations, without government participation, including financial companies, cooperatives, academic institutions, unions and research centers (ILAIPP, for instance).
Regarding triangular cooperation, regional initiatives stand out in the form of programs and projects promoted by multilateral organizations, such as UN and its agencies, as well as by government cooperation agencies (USAID, EU, AECID, GIZ, JICA, KOICA, among others). We can mention as good examples in Paraguay a program implemented by FAO with financial resources from the Brazilian government, to promote a cotton program, or the contribution of JICA to promote local and regional governments development trough the exchange of  knowledge and experiences with Central American countries.
Despite their possible impact, many of the SSC and triangular initiatives are not visible to the public. Conducting formal studies to measure their impact would help to validate, justify and expand their implementation.
BAPA+40 will be a very important opportunity to review the lessons learned during the last four decades and to increase South-South and Triangular Cooperation, to help countries to reach all the SDGs and to ensure that no one is left behind.

Hany  Besada
Hany Besada Moderator

I am excited to indicate that the first independent comprehensive Independent Report on South-South and triangular cooperation will be launched at BAPA+40 next March in Argentina. In response to a directive issued by the Secretary General's Executive Committee to examine how South-South and triangular cooperation could be one of the means of implementation for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, this groundbreaking and timely report will explore the diversity of cooperative models, the impact of these models on current global challenges. This would include sustainable development and poverty reduction, and the need for more innovative and inclusive strategies to develop as part of the multilateral and bilateral cooperation system. 

Through this looking forward document, the report aims to provide innovative and disruptive analysis of local, regional and global southern cooperative initiatives to scale up understanding and support for models of cooperation.  

Hany  Besada
Hany Besada Moderator

Welcome to this E-Discussion on "Contributions to Poverty Eradication, Reducing Inequality and Equitable Economic Growth through South-South and Triangular Cooperation. "  From this exciting and timely discussions and with our collective efforts, we would be able to provide valuable input into the UNOSSC Independent Comprehensive Report he networks which will feed into an Independent Annual Report on South South and Triangular Cooperation. This report would be ready in time for BAPA+40

Please log in or sign up to comment.