Skip navigation
Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Conference of Southern providers of development cooperation
South-South Cooperation: Issues and Emerging Challenges

Southern providers as major actors in development cooperation

South-South cooperation has existed for at least sixty years. It has become much more prominent in the past decade. Many Southern countries have emerged as important actors in the global economy. Their exact contribution to development is hard to quantify. Yet, they have provided ample support, in terms of financial assistance, capacity building, skill and personnel exchange, and technology transfer.

Key elements of South-South cooperation

South-South cooperation is based on the central idea of solidarity and engaging the countries involved in a mutually-beneficial relationship that promotes self reliance and self-help, through a demand driven development process. From this core idea derive a number of essential principles of South-South cooperation: respect for national sovereignty; national ownership and independence; equality; non-conditionality; non-interference; and mutual benefit.

Strengthening the work of Southern providers

Some practical elements of South-South cooperation can be strengthened, in order to enhance the contribution of Southern providers to development cooperation and to improve the way they are perceived, by the public and other stakeholders. The lack of evidence-based analysis and data has led to misperceptions about the work of Southern providers. It also hinders the translation of good practices into international standards. Strengthening of national development cooperation agencies could further enhance mutual learning and communication among providers.

Challenges for regional and multilateral institutions

Regional and multilateral institutions have shown interest in serving as delivery channels for South-South cooperation. Yet, their administrative systems and institutional structures need to evolve to reflect the modalities of this type of cooperation. Few regional institutions have actively promoted deeper cooperation among Southern countries, as of yet. Moving forward, more proactive engagement and support of Southern provider countries by regional and multilateral institutions will be essential to reap the full potential of South-South cooperation.

Fostering a dialogue on opportunities and challenges

The Delhi Conference of Southern Providers aims to explore the fundamental principles and modalities of South-South Cooperation and to assess where the most persistent gaps lie, both analytical and institutional. It will generate recommendations on how to address these gaps and challenges to pave the way toward stronger impact of South-South cooperation. It should also facilitate the input of Southern providers to the global policy dialogue, as the post-2015 global development agenda takes shape.