South-South and Triangular Cooperation
The author is the director of South-South and Triangular Cooperation Division, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Countries in the global South offer countless development solutions, delivered in the forms of knowledge, good practices, innovative policies, technologies and resources. How can we facilitate the effective transfer and upscaling of these new practices from one country to another?
This is where South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) comes in. It has an important role to play in upscaling these best practices and new technologies, by promoting and facilitating the sharing of effective approaches for more sustainable and inclusive agrifood systems.
SSTC projects and programmes support strengthening the capacity of the member states in raising the profile of food security and nutrition on national and regional agendas, especially through facilitating policy dialogues, peer-to peer learning, exchange of knowledge transfer of technologies, upscaling and replicating best practices.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been spearheading cooperation among countries of the global South for more than 40 years, working through its extensive country-level presence. The SSTC is at the heart of FAO’s operations. By virtue of this cooperation, women-owned businesses thrive, as in the case of Ms. Loyda Twinomujuni, providing local employment and food security. The FAO-China South-South Cooperation (SSC) Programme, has made it possible for Loyda to increase her milk production, run a farm where she rears cattle and pigs, and improve her livelihood overall.
Since 2020, FAO has also joined forces with the Republic of Korea and is implementing an SSTC project to enhance rice value chains in Côte d’Ivoire, the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Philippines. The South-South and South-North sharing of knowledge, ideas and strategies for addressing development issues, also remains a valuable reservoir for potential change, and an incentive to sustainable development.
We are also witnessing a strong willingness of beneficiary countries to financially engage in SSTC, which is a testimony of the SSTC concrete results achieved to date at field level and that SSTC is becoming the most effective delivery mechanism for transformation of the agrifood system.
One of the most recent financial contributions received has been from the government of the Republic of Uganda for the sum of $9 623 703 through a Unilateral Trust Fund (UTF), in addition to $2,389,138 already contributed by China to Phase III of the project.
The agrifood sector also remains a key source of food, income and employment, and reactivation and transformation of the agrifood systems is critical to ensure food and livelihood security and a sustainable recovery from the crisis, in the Global South. For this reason, FAO recognizes the importance of engaging with the private sector and other non-state actors, to promote the spread and uptake of new technologies and innovations in the global south and to strengthen market-related measures, including policies, to support these efforts.
Today, we celebrate the UN Day for South-South Cooperation, which is an important reminder that SSTC is also an essential mechanism to advance the attainment of the SDGs.
Countries in the global South are still facing a range of challenges in achieving the SDGs, including SDG1 No poverty and SDG2 Zero hunger, however, these countries are also reservoirs of home-grown development solutions in the areas of agriculture and food security, that could be further replicated and scaled up through South-South and triangular cooperation.
A good example of how SSTC is bringing tangible changes and results, and advancing the realization of the SDGs and improving agrifood systems in Mongolia, can be found in a new report by FAO on the FAO-China SSC Project in Mongolia (Phases I and II), the first national project implemented in Asia under the FAO-China SSC Programme.
The support rendered through the South-South Cooperation Project between 2010 and 2016 has had an enduring impact on lives and livelihoods in Mongolia. The numerous benefits gained by the project stakeholders represent the building blocks of stronger agrifood systems in the country, and of a more sustainable future based on better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life — leaving no one behind.
I strongly believe that we are experiencing a renewed South-South and Triangular cooperation momentum, which foresees brighter and stronger cooperation between countries of the global south and potential new partners. Indeed, this month in Bangkok, Thailand, FAO and other agencies and international development partners will participate in a major Global South-South Development EXPO with a theme ‘Towards a smart and resilient future.’
We must, therefore, seize these moments and join forces with other development partners, to further mainstream SSTC, for the greater good of humanity and to build sustainable, inclusive, and healthy agrifood systems.