A growing platform in both size and importance for inclusive development on the international scene, South-South cooperation continues to play an important role in identifying and refining goals for global development. In 2002, the Office of the UN Secretary-General produced a report entitled Measures to promote and facilitate South-South cooperation, which outlined the progress made since 1978 in the development of South-South initiatives and provides several concrete recommendations for the international community.
The United Nation’s Day for South-South Cooperation was established by the General Assembly on December 23, 2003 through Resolution 58/220 and provides an occasion during which the world can recognize and celebrate achievements, share best practices, and identify new opportunities for collaboration between and alongside countries of the Global South.
Initially held on December 14, the General Assembly decided to move the date of the occasion to September 12 in order to coincide with the anniversary of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (BAPA), which was adopted by the United Nations Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries in 1978.
John William Ashe, President of the 68th United Nations General Assembly, explained during last year’s celebration that:
…South-South cooperation is an essential component of international cooperation and offers viable opportunities for countries of the global South to explore new avenues for technical collaboration as a part of North-South and triangular engagement. According to UN estimates, South-South cooperation has doubled in terms of actual numbers between 2006 and 2011.
Operating as a part of the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (then a “Special Unit”) was established by the General Assembly in 1974 through Resolution 3251 “to promote technical co-operation among developing countries.” This directive was subsequently enhanced by the BAPA in 1978, augmenting the primary goals of the nascent Office by adding a mandate to “coordinate and support South-South and triangular cooperation globally and within the United Nations system.” A thorough outline of the Office’s operations and history is available on their website.
The Auschwitz Institute recognizes the crucial importance of mainstreaming and institutionalizing elements of South-South cooperation in its work to build a world that prevents genocide and other mass atrocities. AIPR’s Africa and Latin America Programs facilitate cooperative training efforts and the exchange of technical expertise to support national and regional mechanisms for genocide and mass atrocity prevention. Dr. Ashad Sentongo, Director of AIPR’s Africa Program, commented on the emerging partnerships between Latin America and Africa:
It is our hope that, over the next few years, this collaboration will build permanent bridges for the sharing of expertise and resources in order to constructively interrupt legacies of decades of violent conflicts and to help transform conditions that continue to threaten peace and development in both regions.
In the same spirit, AIPR encourages all members of the international community to support durable peace and development efforts under the banner of South-South cooperation.