South-South Cooperation Award: from Latin America and the Caribbean to the world | Fernando Galindo

23 Dec 2016

  Photo: UNDP

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires the collaboration of governments, the private sector, civil society and citizens to ensure a better planet for future generations. In this context, South-South Cooperation (SSC) becomes one of the main tools for achieving these objectives, as it facilitates the transfer of successful experiences from countries with similar development conditions facing common challenges in multiple areas.

At the international level, Latin America and the Caribbean is an increasingly important player in SSC and Triangular Cooperation. Countries in our region, of bigger or smaller sizes, are positioning themselves as donors and recipients through various modalities (funds, donations, technical exchanges), which confirms the great accumulated knowledge and immense potential for a joint development underpinned by cooperation.

From UNDP we accompany a series of initiatives - national, regional and global - with the intention of giving greater visibility to SSC, systematizing processes and promoting more and better exchanges. An example of this and as part of our efforts to promote, facilitate and support SSC activities in the region, UNDP held the first regional SSC competition: the S3award.

This is our first regional competition on the subject, in which we highlight initiatives that are underway and solutions for development challenges in various areas. The aim was to recognize and give greater visibility to the outstanding work done by UNDP offices in the region, capture and promote effective SSC exchanges and support its systematization focused on processes, methodologies, lessons learned and results.

Cooperation experiences were presented in the areas of democratic governance, human rights, territorial development, gender, climate change, education, health and youth. The excellent reception of this call reaffirmed the interest in the region to include SSC as a permanent methodology of work in programs and projects within the framework of the SDGs.

The S3award 2016 was organized in two categories: category A, which recognized the success of the cooperation initiatives already implemented with the support of the UNDP country offices; and Category B, with a focus on promoting new SSC activities aimed at contributing to the SDGs, recognizing projects with high replication potential in other countries.

A total of 33 projects were presented from 19 UNDP offices in Latin America and the Caribbean, which received more than 1,200 votes from the regional staff through an online platform. Subsequently, a panel of UNDP experts and executives in the region selected from among the most voted the five winning projects, considering the variables of impact and result, innovation, replicability and role of the organization.

One of the winning projects is a Cuban initiative to the Pacific, supported by UNDP and the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Small Grants Program. The country shared with the Solomon Islands and Fiji its experience in organic and urban agriculture for high quality products, with an ecological approach that allows to tackle pests and diseases in a sustainable way.

Likewise, Brazil shared with countries like Benin and Burkina Faso techniques of sustainable cotton production with high quality standards. The South American country is the fifth largest cotton producer in the world. In addition to the exchange of experiences, the project enabled the technological modernization of cotton production in Africa.

The S3award 2016 has been an opportunity for all country offices to give greater visibility to their work in SSC and expand the possibilities of establishing new regional and interregional exchanges. All the initiatives presented are available on UNDP's new platform SSmart, an online system that allows the search and sharing of solutions in various areas and connect those who need or offer them.

The S3Award has been a great opportunity to highlight and encourage the exchange of experiences in the region, and to consolidate South-South and Triangular Cooperation as tools to implement the SDGs and 2030 Agenda.

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