The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) jointly support the South-South Global Thinkers initiative - A Global Coalition of Think Tank Networks for South-South Cooperation (SSC), in partnership with various Southern-led think tank networks, funding and strategic partners. The objective of the initiative is to contribute to the growing body of evidence and knowledge on issues pertinent to SSC and triangular cooperation, to inform policy dialogues and to advance thought leadership.

Since its establishment in 2017, the global coalition has drawn on the high-quality expertise of existing think tanks and experts from the South (as well as some from the North) for peer-to-peer learning, exchanges of knowledge and experience, and networking; policy dialogues; and development of evidence-based research. It aimed to (a) provide an enabling environment to fill the knowledge gap in South-South and triangular cooperation (SSTC) to enable its impact at scale; (b) better inform global policy dialogues and agenda-setting on SSC, (c) inform policymakers and development practitioners of the value of SSTC and assist them in making informed decisions on their SSTC investment, with the goal of accelerating progress towards the SDGs.

5th Meeting of the Steering Committee for the South-South Global Thinkers: the Global Coalition of Think Tank Networks for SSC:

The Executive Secretariat of the South-South Global Thinkers initiative, hosted by UNOSSC and UNDP, convened the 5th Steering Committee meeting on 6 April 2022. The agenda of the meeting was to reflect on the achievements and lessons learned of the project’s first phase (Jan 2017-June 2022), and to brainstorm ideas and a way forward for the second phase based on outcomes of the Strategic Project Review, to further influence the policymaking through evidence-based research and insights spearheaded by the think tank networks.

The meeting focused on the following agenda items:

  • Review and take stock of the progress of the project, its accomplishments, and gaps (2017-2022)
  • Contextualize the future of the project by brainstorming new emerging priority areas on South-South and triangular cooperation (SSTC) and policy impact
  • Reflect on the operational modality of the project to inform the future business model for the second phase (operation and sustainability)

In addition, two new think-tank networks i.e. Global Think Tank Network on Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development chaired by CASS and CAREC Think-tank Network (CTTN), chaired by CAREC Institute and the two new strategic partners i.e. South Centre and Norec, were welcomed to further strengthen and enhance knowledge and research contributions of the global coalition to include expertise in poverty eradication, regional integration and trade, among other topics.

UNOSSC and UNDP made a joint presentation on the findings of the independent Strategic Project Review and on the new emerging research priority areas in SSTC. This was followed by an open discussion.

The Executive Secretariat presented a background paper on “Emerging Trends in South-South and triangular cooperation (SSTC)” which analyzes emerging trends in SSTC from the period 2017-2022, especially at the global level. Its aim was to provide inspiration to the Steering Committee members to reflect on when identifying potential research priorities to be considered for the second phase of the project. During the presentation, the Executive Secretariate highlighted some critical emerging trends with respect to SSTC that would be a priority for actors in the Global South. The trends are an accumulation of overarching themes of lacking research areas in SSTC which have been voiced by member states and thus documented in various outcome reports and intergovernmental processes on SSC. The identified research priorities have been presented below due to their specific relevance to the development of the Global South and the prioritization of SSTC for the manifestation of solidarity, and the attainment of SDGs according to national priorities and plans.

The thinks tanks representatives, representing each network, along with the funding and strategic partners, acknowledged the fruitful participation under the Global Thinkers Initiative and extended congratulations on the results achieved in the first phase of the project. To inform the development of the second phase, think tank representatives also made recommendations. 

The think tank networks and the strategic partners were also invited to present/ propose the research priority areas to be considered for the second phase. The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks.

Download the Minutes of the meeting from below.