South-South and triangular cooperation (contd.)

Web page | 25 February 2018
South-South cooperation refers to development cooperation between developing countries in the Global South. When South-South Cooperation is implemented with the support of a Northern partner, it is referred to as Triangular Cooperation. South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) is a tool used by governments, international organizations, academics, social partners, civil society and the private sector to collaborate and share knowledge, skills, know-how, and good practices in decent work and lifelong learning approaches as well as successful initiatives in specific areas such as agricultural development, human rights, urbanization, health, climate change, social protection and employment generation.

In implementing its SSTC Programme, the ILO cooperates closely with the UN system, including the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). ILO was also actively engaged in both the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) Nairobi 2016 Forum and the 2nd High Level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation held in Buenos Aires (BAPA + 40) and adheres to the recommendations of the conference as well as GPEDC principles. Additional SSTC guidance is provided by the declarations and summits of the Group of 77 and China; India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA); and Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa (BRICS).

Several ILO-SSTC projects and development cooperation projects with an SSTC dimension are implemented in cooperation with other UN agencies. For example, the Mano River Union (MRU) project in collaboration with UNFPA and OXFAM, in West Africa is working to develop simplified guidance for women entrepreneurs to support their empowerment and resilience.

The ILO engages in SSTC by working with governments and workers and employers organizations to identify, document and disseminate good practices; facilitate exchanges and peer-to-peer learning approaches; promote knowledge sharing between social partners and other actors through multi-stakeholder partnerships; broker agreements and memoranda of understanding; and share good practices. This approach is recognized as essential to implementing the 2030 agenda in the United Nations Quadrennial comprehensive policy review (QCPR). Issued by the UN Secretary General, this report also recognized the ILO and UNICEF’s joint preparation of new guidance on harmonizing principles and operational standards for due diligence in United Nations Development System (UNDS) partnerships.

Regionally, ILO supports the Inter-American Centre for Knowledge Development in Vocational Training (CINTERFOR) in the Americas and the ILO International Training Centre in Turin (ITC-ILO) as well as the following initiatives: Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour;  implementing the ILO’s agreement with ASEAN; and the Africa Facility for promoting South-South and triangular cooperation.

Current SSTC priorities:

  • Reinforce ILO’s constituents capacity to address emerging needs and trends in international cooperation and cross-regional peer learning swiftly, integrating COVID 19 in the ILO’s Regular Budget SSTC allocations for 2020-2021;
  • Strengthen the awareness and capacity of ILO constituents and partners to implement SSTC programmes under the framework of the ILO Development Cooperation Strategy;
  • Leverage SSTC’s comparative advantage to support regional ILO and UN initiatives by facilitating peer learning and exchanges of knowledge, information and practices to achieve the SDGs and through the UN Inter Agency Mechanism on South-South Cooperation;
  • Follow-up on the next steps outlined in the 2018 ILO Governing Body on SSTC, the South-South elements of the Development Cooperation Roadmap (ILC, 2018) and in the GPEDC (Nairobi 2016) to continue to promote the Decent Work Agenda in UN consultations post BAPA+40;
  • Contribute to the advancement of the ILO’s strategic framework and flagship programmes through regional, sub regional and interregional programming, networking, joint learning and mutual capacity development, mutual accountability and transparency, peer learning and solidarity;
  • Support the Fragile-to-Fragile cooperation initiative (F2F cooperation) in the framework of the humanitarian-development nexus. Given the ILO’s experience in successfully promoting and expanding SSTC, the Organization would be well positioned to offer valuable insights on consultation and policy processes to countries in fragile situations;
  • Continue engaging in key areas where SSTC has the most impact, such as local economic development, fundamental principles and rights at work, social dialogue, climate change and just transitions and social protection for all, while also supporting the social and solidarity economy as well as southern-driven partnerships and initiatives in the world of work.