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Policy

Links uniting developing countries are many and increasing as a result of geographical bonds, trade, investment, migration, culture, environment and activities in numerous other fields. Originally termed technical cooperation among developing countries (TCDC), South-South cooperation (SSC) has evolved since its early definition in the Buenos Aires Plan of Action in 1978. The term includes both developing countries sharing knowledge, experience, technical prowess, appropriate technologies, financial and in-kind contributions, etc. and developed countries serving to facilitate and foster these South-South linkages via triangular partnerships. With an ever-increasing range of actors, including Member States, the private sector, civil society organizations and academia, South-South cooperation continues to gain adherents across the globe - both developing and developed countries seeking to move development forward using South-South and triangular cooperation.

Through the Division for Policy, the UN Office works to nurture such South-South linkages through research and analysis that inform intergovernmental dialogue, leading to policy decisions on strategies and practical programmes essential to the deepening of South-South cooperation. Guided by the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, the UN Office’s policy work includes advocating for the adoption of South-South approaches to development globally and in the United Nations system. In this area, the activities of the UN Office are designed to improve collective problem-solving in the South through better conceptual understanding of the real value of South-South cooperation in efforts to achieve internationally agreed development goals such as the Millennium Development Goals. The work of the UN Office in this area also includes technical advice to United Nations Member States and other partners on measures to integrate South-South and triangular cooperation into the operational programmes and policy advisory services of UNDP and United Nations country teams. The majority of the policy work of the UN Office is carried out mainly through:

  • effective servicing of intergovernmental bodies, including the High-level Committee (HLC) on South-South Cooperation (SSC), enabling policymakers to take informed decisions on issues and strategies relevant to SSC in bilateral, regional, intergovernmental and multilateral processes;
  • enhancing the effectiveness of United Nations system support, especially that of UNDP, to SSC for development; and
  • assisting developing countries to integrate SSC into their national development policies, strategies and programmes.

The outcomes of the HLC and UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board meetings have guided the work of the UN Office. The timeline below shows major resolutions and key milestones in the history of SSC policymaking.

The Evolution of Policymaking: Key Milestones

 Year

 Session

 Outcome Highlights

 Related Resources

2009

UN General Assembly

The High-level United Nations Conference on SSC was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 1 to 3 December 2009. The Conference adopted the Nairobi outcome document, which was later endorsed by the General Assembly.

GA resolution 64/222

2008

UN Secretary-General

The Policy Committee of the UN Secretary-General issued a decision on SSC, directing relevant SSC agency focal points to develop a concise, action-oriented, collaborative framework highlighting the UN’s specific comparative strengths in SSC in addressing transnational development challenges, in particular food security, climate change and AIDS.

Secretary-General's Policy Committee Decision No. 2008/26 - South-South Cooperation

2003

HLC/General Assembly

The UN General Assembly decided to declare 19 December “as the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation”.

The name of the Special Unit for Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (SU/TCDC) is changed to the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation (SU/SSC).

The HLC approved the Revised guidelines for the review of policies and procedures concerning TCDC

GA resolution 58/220

HLC decision 13/2

Revised guidelines for review of policies and procedures concerning TCDC, TCDC/13/3

1995

HLC/General Assembly

The General Assembly invited UNDP to establish a voluntary trust fund for the promotion of SSC. 

The HLC welcomed the "new directions" for TCDC, which the General Assembly endorsed.

GA resolution 50/119

HLC decision 9/2

New directions for TCDC, TCDC/9/2

1980

UN General Assembly

The High-level Committee on the Review of Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries is created by the United Nations General Assembly.

GA resolution 35/202

1978

UN General Assembly

The United Nations General Assembly endorsed the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA).

GA resolution 33/134

BAPA

1974

UN General Assembly

Creation of the Special Unit for TCDC in UNDP, endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly.

GA resolution 3251(XXIX)  
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