International Day for South-South Cooperation

The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation marks the date of September 12 as the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, recognizing the critical role played by developing countries on the global stage. Cooperation between States in the Global South is not only a symbolic act of solidarity and collective of self-reliance, but also represents a viable collaborative framework for realizing tangible improvements to countries’ individual and collective political, economic, and security goals.  South-South Cooperation also represents a proven framework for the exchange of best practices and expertise as well as resource-sharing and collaborative project planning.

Initially celebrated on December 14, and later moved to September 12 in honor of the 1978 Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries, the annual UN Day for South-South Cooperation was established by the UN General Assembly through Resolution 58/220 on December 23, 2003. The date is an opportunity for the international community to celebrate recent achievements and developments in the promotion of collaboration among and between developing countries.

As enumerated by the 1978 Buenos Aires Plan of Action, the basic goals for the promotion of South-South cooperation are to:

  • foster the self-reliance of developing countries by enhancing their creative capacity to find solutions to their development problems in keeping with their own aspirations, values and specify needs;
  • promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among developing countries through the exchange of experiences; the pooling, sharing and use of their technical and other resources; and the development of their complementary capacities;
  • strengthen the capacity of developing countries to identify and analyse together their main development issues and formulate the requisite strategies to address them;
  • increase the quantity and enhance the quality of international development cooperation through the pooling of capacities to improve the effectiveness of the resources devoted to such cooperation;
  • create and strengthen existing technological capacities in the developing countries in order to improve the effectiveness with which such capacities are used and to improve the capacity of developing countries to absorb and adapt technology and skills to meet their specific developmental needs;
  • increase and improve communications among developing countries, leading to a greater awareness of common problems and wider access to available knowledge and experience as well as the creation of new knowledge in tackling development problems;
  • recognize and respond to the problems and requirements of the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and the countries most seriously affected by, for example, natural disasters and other crises; and
  • enable developing countries to achieve a greater degree of participation in international economic activities and to expand international cooperation for development.)

In addition to maintaining the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), which was established in 1974, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon produced a report in June of 2016 on the “State of South-South Cooperation.” The report, which includes recommendations for further facilitating South-South development measures and evaluates measures taken by the UN system to reinforce South-South and triangular cooperative initiatives. On the occasion of the 2016 United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, the former UN Secretary General explained that:

The countries of the South have established themselves as indispensable participants in the global socioeconomic arena. Despite worldwide market volatility, South-South foreign direct investment is increasing. There are more and more institutionalized forms of South-South cooperation in the political and economic spheres. These trends prove that collaboration among developing countries is beneficial and thriving.

In recognizing the importance of continuing to institutionalize advances made in the name of South-South cooperation, the Auschwitz Institute urges the international community to devote further resources to supporting these efforts, which contribute towards durable peace and prosperity. AIPR takes the opportunity of the annual observance to reaffirm its own pledge to continue cultivating durable and productive arrangements between the States and regional bodies of the Global South with which it works in the pursuit of a world that prevents genocide and other mass atrocities. Dr. Ashad Sentongo, Director of AIPR’s Africa Program, will be attending the upcoming regular Focal Points Meeting of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention. He explains:

Collaboration between AIPR’s Africa and Latin American programs aims to produce shared learning that State leaders, officials, and other stakeholders can utilize in order to effectively organize and coordinate efforts for prevention that spur stability and facilitate development. The upcoming Focal Points Meeting of the Latin American Network, which will be held in New York in mid-October, is an excellent example of an occasion through which we are working to expand cooperation between regions of the Global South. This effort is especially important in enhancing collaboration between regions for which the prevention of mass atrocities represents a primary agenda item.