Since 2009, under the umbrella of the Task Team on South-South Cooperation (TT-SSC), a wide and diverse community of practice, consisting of representatives of academia, practitioners and civil society organizations from developing countries, has engaged in a process of research and analysis in order to generate evidence and systematize good practices in south-south and triangular cooperation to inform policy-making processes. Bridging policy, practice and analysis, this groundbreaking initiative has collectively produced and analyzed very solid evidence: a set of 31 case studies and more than 160 case stories, involving hundreds of institutions and individuals around the world. (Photo: Mini-debate at the HLF-4, Dec. 1, 2011)
A key observation from this unique analytical effort is that the effectiveness of South-South and Triangular Cooperation stems from its adaptability and flexibility to particular contexts. Evidence also shows that South-South and Triangular Cooperation incentivizes horizontal partnerships based on trust, equality, mutual benefit and long-term perspective. These findings* are particularly relevant as they provide further elements for the debate on how to take full advantage of development cooperation in a changing and multi-polar world, where developing countries are called to play a more pro-active role in shaping global development policies.
As a result of two years of analysis and debate, our community of practice, “The South-South Opportunity”, proudly presented a Good Practice Paper and a set of Policy Recommendations during the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness HLF-4, held in Busan, Korea, on Nov 29 to Dec 1, 2011. In addition, partners involved in this process invested great efforts at the HLF-4 to make sure that South-South and Triangular Cooperation were discussed as key pillars of the global development architecture.
In Busan, many representatives of “The South-South Opportunity” gathered in a debate with other participants of the HLF-4, in which concrete south-south and triangular cooperation experiences were shared in four simultaneous break-out groups focusing on: country-led knowledge exchange mechanisms and institutions, the contribution of communities of practice and regional platforms, the role of non-governmental actors (academia, private sector and civil society), and the best ways to direct the support of multilateral organizations towards country-led initiatives. A rich set of messages was produced as well as a series of proposals to keep strengthening horizontal knowledge-exchange initiatives among a wide diversity of partners.
We proudly acknowledge that, in Busan, South-South and Triangular Cooperation were recognized as key elements of the new global development architecture. Therefore, as members of the academia, practitioners and civil society organizations from the South involved in this process:
1. We strongly believe that our networks and organizations are called to play a central role in the post-Busan agenda.
2. We welcome the comprehensive recognition of South-South and Triangular cooperation as fully-fledged tools to build horizontal partnerships and to achieve better development processes and results.
3. We also welcome the commitment expressed in the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation to strengthen the sharing of knowledge and mutual learning by encouraging development networks.
4. We celebrate the approval of the Building Block** on South-South and Triangular Cooperation and stand ready to make a significant contribution to this set of actions by bringing in our experiences and knowledge to generate evidence, continue building bridges between policy, practice and analysis, play a role in supporting country-led capacity development and foster interregional dialogue around horizontal partnerships and development. This commitment builds on the energy and collaborative spirit that emerged around the TT-SSC and intends to deepen this approach.
5. We are convinced that efficient and inclusive development can only be achieved through the participation of an ever-greater diversity of actors, such as the ones participating in our community of practice. Our experience shows that the analysis and systematization of existing experiences and lessons learnt adds considerable value to policy-making processes.
6. We pledge to work in close coordination with all members of the Building Block to support and promote alliances with networks of practitioners, academia and civil society organizations so as to ensure that the diversity and dynamism of South-South and Triangular Cooperation is fully contributing to its successful implementation.
Busan, South Korea. December 1, 2011
* The results of the analytical work were peer-reviewed, discussed and enriched through four workshops in Addis Ababa, Mexico City, Johannesburg and Bangkok during the first semester of 2011, as well as in two global workshops on south-south and triangular cooperation held in Bali (February 2011) and Bogotá (September 2011). Learn more here
** To continue advancing this forward-looking agenda in the post-Busan scenario a coalition of 30 countries and organizations have endorsed a work plan (Building Block) aimed to strengthening capacities at country level, enhancing local ownership, promoting horizontal partnerships and knowledge exchange, and achieving sustainable development outcomes. This collective initiative is expected to be linked-up to the global partnership for development agreed in the Busan Outcome Document.
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