From 27 February to 1 March 2011, 65 practitioners, experts and policy-makers gathered in Bali to discuss the potential and challenges of triangular cooperation as a form of horizontal partnership. The Task Team on South-South Cooperation called the meeting, with content and financial support by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Indonesian Government and the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI).
Triangular cooperation is seen today as a prime avenue to bridge South-South and North-South cooperation. Recognizing the strong push of the high-level policy processes, the participants engaged in an evidence-based debate around how triangular cooperation works in practice and which areas need to be strengthened.
Participants shared their experiences and outlooks around four critical issues: (1) How to ensure partnership? (2) How to identify and promote the use of comparative advantages? (3) How to manage transaction costs? (4) How to use innovative ways and models to promote SSC and triangular cooperation?
On March 1, the TT-SSC gathered all the case writers working on six case studies about SS Cooperation in the Asia-Pacif Region. These cases make part of the evidence collection of more than 30 case studies world-wide that will feed the policy recommendations that the TT-SC will present to the decision makers gathered at the Busan HLF4. (Asia Pacific Case Study Writers group in photo above)
Although this is a field that requires far more debate and sharper definitions, the workshop served to identify opportunities to seize in the road to Busan in order to deepen the understanding about quality triangular cooperation and taking advantage its benefits.
Here are some of the pending tasks on this area:
1. Raise awareness at the political international level: As it reflects some of the deep changes in the development architecture, triangular cooperation needs to become a strong part of the negotiations and outcome documents of the High-Level Forum in Busan, the G20 development agenda and the upcoming United Nations conferences (such as the MDG Summit and the Rio+20 conference).
2. Embed triangular cooperation in the international cooperation strategies and global thematic agendas of countries: Developing countries should engage in a political discussion to integrate triangular cooperation into their international cooperation strategies and other global thematic agendas, such as Climate Change, MDG, Food Security Problems and the Agenda of Quality for Sustainability.
3. Deepen the analytical efforts: Ongoing research, such as the TT-SSC case studies conducted by Southern academia, is already addressing the key challenges discussed during the workshop. Best practices should explore the practical opportunities of shared ownership, the ways of managing and comparing transaction costs, and the division of labor based on complementary strengths. The growing involvement of academia and research institutions is highly desirable to ensure analytical rigor and quality of the evidence generated.
4. Provide guidance and design tool kits: Being a newcomer, triangular cooperation would benefit from flexible tools for planning, design, implementation and M&E of triangular projects. Some lessons derived from the aid effectiveness agenda could positively contribute to developing the capacity of countries to design and implement triangular cooperation programs and strategies. Multilateral organizations can play a proactive role in helping to develop these guidance and tools.
The T-SSC, as well as our partners: The Government of Indonesia, ADBI and GIZ, will continue promoting action-oriented debates on Triangular Cooperation as part of our process leading to the High-Level Forum in Busan.
Read the full conclusions document.