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Background

Who We Are

In 1974, the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 3251 (XXIX), endorsed "the establishment of a special unit within the United Nations Development Programme to promote technical co-operation among developing countries". With the endorsement of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries by the General Assembly in 1978 (resolution 33/134), the Special Unit was strengthened in order to fulfil its primary mandate, set forth in BAPA: to promote, coordinate and support South-South and triangular cooperation globally and within the United Nations system. 

What We Do

The UN Office for South-South Cooperation:

  • mainstreams South-South cooperation across the UN system and throughout the international development community by leveraging its global reach as well as its policy and institutional capacities to assist UN agencies and developing countries in strengthening their South-South cooperation capacities. It 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. It also advocates for support to South-South initiatives, including through its organization of the UN Day for South-South cooperation;
  • engages a wide range of partners, including Member States, UN entities, multilateral bodies and private-sector and civil society organizations in order to provide the most efficient, effective and comprehensive support for South-South cooperation;
  • innovates by continually seeking, showcasing and transferring forward-thinking Southern development solutions to development partners to meet the critical development challenges of today;
  • enables countries of the South – emerging, middle income and least developed – to work together to use their wealth of resources, tangible and intangible, in support of national, regional and global development efforts;
  • serves as the secretariat to the High-level Committee (HLC) on South-South Cooperation, a subsidiary body of the General Assembly, which provides policy directives and guidance and reviews worldwide progress in South-South cooperation. In this context, it monitors trends in South South cooperation among UN agencies as well as globally, preparing reports for various intergovernmental bodies, including the report of the Secretary-General on the state of South-South cooperation; and
  • manages the UN Fund for South-South Cooperation and the Pérez-Guerrero Trust Fund for Economic and Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries.
How We Operate

To promote, coordinate and support South-South and triangular cooperation, the UN Office for South-South Cooperation has designed a 3-in-1 service support architecture through which it operationalizes its policy directives and supports the development community. The first pillar of this structure is the Global South-South Development Academy, an online platform through which hundreds of Southern development solutions and experts have been identified, codified and managed. The second pillar, the Global South-South Development Expo, then serves to showcase selected successful development solutions annually at its UN system-wide event, bringing together development practitioners and representatives of the UN system, government, the private sector and civil society. The third pillar, the South-South Global Assets and Technology Exchange, facilitates the transfer of proven Southern development solutions through its physical and Internet-based platform, matching Southern solution seekers and providers for the transfer of technologies, develpment solutions and financing within a secure environment.

The UN Office is able to achieve its objectives through the building and strengthening of broad-based partnerships among developed and developing countries, the United Nations system, and private-sector and civil society organizations. The Division for Partnership and Resource Mobilization of the UN Office works to secure resources through arrangements such as public-private partnerships, cost-sharing and parallel financing.

United Nations Fund for South-South Cooperation

The UN Office manages the United Nations Fund for South-South Cooperation (formerly the Voluntary Trust Fund for the Promotion of South-South Cooperation), “the main United Nations trust fund for promoting and supporting South-South and triangular initiatives” (General Assembly resolution 60/212). The Fund is included in the UN Pledging Conference for Development Activities as a result of the decision by the General Assembly in December 2002 (resolution 57/263).  

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Pérez-Guerrero Trust Fund for South-South Cooperation

The Pérez-Guerrero Trust Fund for South-South Cooperation (PGTF) was established by the United Nations in 1983 as the UNDP Trust Fund for Economic and Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (General Assembly resolution 38/201). Managed by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation on behalf of the Group of 77 (G-77), the Trust Fund provides catalytic financial support for cooperative projects carried out by three or more developing-country members of the G-77. In 1986, the Trust Fund was renamed after the late Venezuelan official, Manuel Pérez-Guerrero.  

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South-South Cooperation: The Making of a History
1949 The UN Economic and Social Council establishes the first UN technical aid programme.
1955 Newly independent African and Asian States meet in Bandung, Indonesia, and decide to work together at the UN as the Afro-Asian Group.
1964 The idea of economic cooperation among developing countries results in the establishment of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). At the first UNCTAD, Latin American countries join with African and Asian countries to create the Group of 77.
1965 The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is created.
1972 The UN General Assembly creates a Working Group on technical cooperation among developing countries (TCDC) that recommends the creation of a special unit for TCDC.
1974 The General Assembly, in its resolution A/3251 (XXIX), endorses "the establishment of a special unit within the United Nations Development Programme to promote technical cooperation among developing countries...with the objective of integrating this activitiy of technical co-operation among developing countries fully within the Programme".
1978 A conference of the global South on TCDC is held in Buenos Aires, resulting in the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) for Promoting and Implementing TCDC. It identifies 15 focal areas for TCDC and stipulates that special attention be paid to the least developed countries, the landlocked developing countries, and the small island developing States.
1980 The countries participating in UNDP become established as a High-level Committee of the General Assembly that would meet every two years to monitor the implementation of BAPA.
2000 The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), based on priorities set out in the UN Millennium Declaration, are adopted by the UN General Assembly (resolution 55/2).
2003 The UN General Assembly, in its resolution 58/220, decides to declare 19 December, the date on which it had endorsed BAPA, as the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation. The first UN Day for SSC is to be celebrated in 2004.
2004 The Special Unit for TCDC has a new name: the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation (SU/SSC). The new name reflects the increased importance and expanded focus of cooperation among developing countries. The decision to change the name was adopted by the High-level Committee at its thirteenth session in May 2003 (decision 13/2) and endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 58/220 of 19 February 2004.
2005

The 2005 Group of Eight (G-8) meeting at Gleneagles, Scotland, underscores the new geography of trade, investment and intellectual relations that involved such fast-track performers as Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, South Africa and Thailand. Flanking the G-8 Heads of Government are the leaders of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa, a tacit acknowledgement that even with increased Northern commitments of official development assistance (ODA) and enhanced debt cancellation, the Millennium Development Goals cannot be met without increased South-South interactions and assistance.

2009 The High-level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation is held in Nairobi, Kenya. At this conference, participants produce the Nairobi outcome document highlighting the roles that national governments, regional entities and UN agencies are to play in supporting and implementing South-South and triangular cooperation.
Featured Initiatives

High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, 19th Session

High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, 19th Session

The 19th Session of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation met in ... more


Good Practices in South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development

Good Practices in South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development

Good practices to accelerate sustainable human development are increasingly... more


Global South-South Development Expo 2016

Global South-South Development Expo 2016

Sharing Southern solutions and strategies for the implementation of Agenda 2030... more

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