Teenager eating together
Students of the Lira integrated fish farm in Uganda, a South-South Cooperation Facility for Agriculture and Food Security, eat their lunch.
Photo:©FAO/Isaac Kasamani

The best example of solidarity among countries

South-South cooperation is a manifestation of solidarity among peoples and countries of the South that contributes to their national well-being, their national and collective self-reliance and the attainment of internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

More than a year and a half into the pandemic, it is evident that decades of development progress are threatened and that we are facing an uncertain future shaped by economic and social crises. Global partnership, including through South-South cooperation, is essential to overcome the challenges of the pandemic and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. As we move towards a post-pandemic reality and recovery, South-South cooperation will contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty, instability and development inequalities while promoting the principle of effective ownership of national development strategies.

Given the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and other global crises such as climate change, countries of the South, with the support of partners, including countries of the North, international financial institutions, the private sector, think tanks and other stakeholders, are establishing and strengthening national policies and units or departments to mainstream and bolster South-South and triangular cooperation.

Examples of this collaborative spirit can be found in the response of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the UN focal point for promoting and facilitating South-South and triangular cooperation for development on a global and United Nations system-wide basis. The Office is supporting the countries of the Global South to fight the pandemic and its social and economic fallout through the modalities of South-South and triangular cooperation.

It is clear that South-South cooperation is and will be more important than ever before. For that reason, the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation is spreading awareness of the economic, social and political developments made recently by regions and countries in the South and highlights United Nations efforts to work on technical cooperation among developing countries.

Virtual high-level discussion panel
10 September 2021, 09:00 am -11:00 am

South-South cooperation: solidarity in support of a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable future

United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation will host a virtual high-level panel discussion 2 days prior to the observance and ahead of the celebration of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly. It will provide an opportunity to discuss Southern solidarity in support of a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable future while effectively responding to the global COVID-19 crisis in order to recover better across the global South. This United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation will also be an opportunity to highlight concrete follow-up to the twentieth session of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, which took place from 1 to 4 June 2021 in New York.

Girls at the school kitchen eating and smiling up to an aereal camera

But... What does South-South Cooperation mean exactly?

Cuba’s support in the fight against Ebola in West Africa; Mexico’s experience in diversifying corn products to improve health and nutrition in Kenya; the knowledge of strategies to reduce hunger shared by Colombia to Mesoamerican countries; and the lessons from Chile to the Caribbean countries on product labeling as a measure to end obesity. These are just a few examples of South-South cooperation.

South-South cooperation is done through a broad framework of collaboration among countries of the South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains. Involving two or more developing countries, it can take place on a bilateral, regional, intraregional or interregional basis. Through South-South collaboration, developing countries share knowledge, skills, expertise and resources to meet their development goals through concerted efforts.

Another modality of South-South cooperation is Triangular cooperation, a collaboration in which traditional donor countries and multilateral organizations facilitate South-South initiatives through the provision of funding, training, management and technological systems, as well as other forms of support.

The objectives of South-South Cooperation are to:

  • foster and strengthen the self-reliance of developing countries by enhancing their creative capacity to find solutions and technological capacities to their development problems and formulate the requisite strategies to address them;
  • promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among developing countries through the exchange of experiences leading to a greater awareness of common problems and wider access to available knowledge;
  • recognize and respond to the problems and requirements of the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and the countries most seriously affected by, for example, natural disasters and other crises, and enable them to achieve a greater degree of participation in international economic activities.

Did you know?

  • The countries of the South have contributed to more than half of the world’s growth in recent years.
  • Intra-south trade is higher than ever, accounting for more than a quarter of all world trade.
  • The outflows of foreign direct investment from the South represent a third of the global flows.

BAPA+40 Website

Visit the website of the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation that was held two-years ago in Argentina on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, one of the main pillars for South-South Cooperation.

Logo related to South-South Cooperation and SDGs

Related websites


People checking the quality of the harvest.

The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) was created in 1974 to promote, coordinate and support South-South and triangular cooperation globally and within the United Nations system. This agency works to support countries’ efforts to manage, design and implement South-South cooperation policies and initiatives through the identification, sharing and transfer of successful Southern-generated development solutions.

South-South galaxy logo

The “South-South Galaxy” is a global knowledge-sharing and partnership platform launched in 2019. The project aims to give systematic and effective support to countries of the South, so they can connect, learn and collaborate with potential partners in the wider digital world. Now the platform offers, as well, a great number of webinars adapted to the new COVID-19 situation and the UNOSSC's response to the pandemic


illustration of people with clock, calendar, to-do list and decorations

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.