South-South development cooperation represents a paradigm shift from traditional North-South cooperation. New donors from emerging economies share their knowledge gained through their own development experience with other developing countries. And then, fundamentally different to traditional cooperation, they also listen to and learn from developing country partners. They listen to learn what their specific development needs are and, they consider what they learn from their partners of great importance to their own development as well. Based on the understanding that emerges, Southern partners then offer country/situation-specific assistance to build the capacities necessary to address problems that correspond to local demands. The result is not only an effective solution to real developmental problems but a strong impulse to building lasting South-South relationships as well. As one participant at a symposium on “Enhancing South-South Cooperation: Challenges and Opportunities for the ACP Group”, jointly organized by the ACP and the Organization Internationale de la Francophonie in Brussels on 31 January put it: “formerly, to visit our neighbour we had to travel via Paris or London, now we go there directly”.
Representatives from India, Brazil, South Africa, Cuba and Nigeria and experts from international organizations exchanged experiences with their African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group counterparts at this symposium. ECDPM’s Director, Paul Engel, moderating the session on experiences in South-South Cooperation among ACP Member States.
Discussions focused on South-South cooperation with regard to technical assistance, showing that the countries and range of subjects covered are vast and that interventions usually take place on a small budget. Participants felt that the ACP Group Secretariat, representing 79 developing countries, could be well placed to play the role of knowledge hub for ongoing South-South cooperation initiatives and to facilitate further cooperation and coalition building to expand the scope of South-South cooperation. This could help to provide alternatives, as well as complements, to traditional North-South cooperation. The ACP’s long and unique cooperation experience with the European Union could also provide a platform for learning and exchange to expand the scope and leverage of triangular, South-South-EU development cooperation. Click here and here for further details from the meeting: