Achieving the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda and adapting to the changing global context will require engagement from all stakeholders at all levels and in all countries, leveraging their diverse and unique advantages. South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation remain important cornerstones of development activities and will be vital modalities for action as complements to North-South cooperation. Just as the global landscape has been transformed in recent years, so, too, have the avenues for South-South and triangular cooperation.

As outlined in the 1978 Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA), South-South cooperation is an expression of solidarity between countries of the South. Initially focused largely on technical cooperation, capacity-building and knowledge exchange, recent developments in South-South cooperation have included increased volumes of South- South trade, South-South flows of foreign direct investment, movements towards regional integration, technology transfers, sharing of solutions and experts, and other forms of exchange. A number of developing countries have been providing preferential treatment to least developed countries’ products. This trend towards South-South cooperation is likely to continue, with the share of traditional DAC ODA declining as a proportion of all flows to developing countries. This trend is also accompanied by the growing interest of traditional donors towards South-South and, more specifically, Triangular Cooperation as a means of increasing the value added and efficiency of their aid contributions.

The Global South-South Development (GSSD) Expo is a United Nations’ annual high-profile forum organized by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) in its capacity as the General Assemblymandated global and United Nations system-wide coordinator and facilitator for South-South and triangular cooperation. It is designed to showcase evidence-based successful development solutions and initiatives. The Nairobi outcome document adopted at the previous High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation, held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2009 and endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 64/222, refers to the Expo as a source of support for closer links among South-South centres of excellence, institutions, and regional and subregional groupings, among others.

The Ninth GSSD Expo 2017 under the theme of South-South Cooperation in the Era of Economic, Social and Environmental Transformation: Road to the 40th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA+40) is to be hosted by the Government of the Republic of Turkey during 27 to 30 November in Antalya.


Objective of the Third Regional Networking Forum on South-South Cooperation

Considering the ambitious development agenda of the countries in the Arab States region, and in Europe and the CIS as well as given a highly competitive development cooperation environment, South-South Cooperation is considered as a complementary cooperation model in broadening the opportunities for creating partnerships and coalitions among various development stakeholders in the two regions. Triangular cooperation, building on the principles of South-South Cooperation, such as national ownership and independence, equality, and nonconditionality is gaining additional importance in this context, serving as a potential bridge between the North-South and the South-South Cooperation models, and providing all the actors involved with a unique opportunity for a transformational change in the regional and global development contexts.

United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, and a number of other key regional and global stakeholders aims to support the Member States in the Arab States region, Europe and the CIS, including the governments, civil society, academia and the private sector, as well as the United Nations agencies, funds, and programmes active in the two regions in systematically advancing their respective South-South and Triangular Cooperation agendas. Experience shows that countries with an existing unified policy, coordination mechanism, and resources (including packaged knowledge and expertise, clearly identified needs, and some funding to support exchange in those with other countries) have proven more successful in South-South Cooperation than countries that revert to South-South Cooperation on an ad hoc basis.

The Third Regional Networking Forum on South-South Cooperation for Arab States, Europe and the CIS that is jointly supported by the Islamic Development Bank and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation will be an opportunity for national focal points on South-South Cooperation and Directors-General for Development Cooperation from the Arab States, Europe and the CIS, as well as other parts of the world, for representatives of various relevant regional groupings and think tanks, United Nations, and other key global and regional multilateral institutions, to exchange approaches to formulating national South-South Cooperation strategies as a means to further improve the national level coordination of South-South and Triangular Cooperation activities, to establish new partnerships, as well as to agree on joint projects and innovative practical solutions that might be implemented bilaterally, multilaterally and within the diverse institutional partnerships and networks so as to best contribute towards the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in the Arab States, Europe and the CIS.

The main objective of the Forum is to create an open and conducive knowledge sharing setting aimed to support the participants in further improving their understanding on the trends and opportunities on the way towards advancing South-South and Triangular Cooperation in the Arab States, Europe and the CIS.

The overarching theme of the Third Regional Networking Forum on South-South Cooperation for Arab States, Europe and the CIS will be Scaling Up Southern Development Solutions Through Advanced Youth Leadership. While many bright young individuals and youth organizations in the Global South are already involved in various activities addressing the challenges that are at the core of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, a lot still needs to be done to create favourable conditions to empower an even greater number of young women and men to contribute equitably to global development agenda. Among other things, there has not yet been a corresponding uplift in the commitment of financial and other resources as well as effective capacity development mechanisms to harness the creative and innovative energy of young people and to translate it into concrete policy decisions, development strategies and practical programs addressing specific development challenges.

More specifically, the Forum will:

  • Present tangible, evidence-based and experience-driven examples of successful youth-led development solutions that have already been transferred trough South-South Cooperation or could potentially transferred through South-South and Triangular Cooperation with a view to contributing to sustainable development in the Arab States, Europe and the CIS;
  • Provide the participants with the opportunity to present a number of concrete South-South Cooperation mechanisms that would enable advanced youth leadership and South-South knowledge exchanges between the youth leaders and organizations in the two regions;
  • Serve as a platform for networking and idea-generation opportunity for the participating representatives of government institutions, UN and other multilateral institutions, civil society organisations, and academia on possible specific South-South Cooperation initiatives among the participating member states, and, more specifically, to learn about and to discuss the new initiative on Scaling Up Southern Solutions for Sustainable Development through Advanced Youth Leadership.

It is expected that the Third Regional Networking Forum would generate the following results:

  • Expressed overall commitment to further strengthening and joining efforts in promoting national and regional South-South Cooperation agendas as documented in the Joint Statement of the Third Regional Networking Forum;
  • Practical Recommendations on improving cooperative efforts between the various stakeholders in the Arab States, Europe and the CIS in applying South-South and Triangular Cooperation towards the implementation of 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in both regions and where it is particularly related to youth development;
  • Practical Recommendations on the implementation of the UNOSSC Regional Strategy in Support to the Advancement of South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Development in the Arab States, Europe and the CIS.