Kids washing their hands
Children washing their hands before the school feeding at Los Vados, Guatemala. This school is a beneficiary of a School Feeding Program and it is based on the FAO-Brazil Regional Cooperation Programme and South-South Cooperation.
Photo:©Pep Bonet/NOOR for FAO.

The best example of solidarity among countries

South-South cooperation is a manifestation of solidarity among peoples and countries of the South that contributes to their national well-being, their national and collective self-reliance and the attainment of internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Taking into account the current pandemic, these types of collaborations are now more important than ever. Several countries of the global South have already demonstrated effective responses to contain the outbreak and mitigate its impact. Apart from the immediate demand that is already being expressed by countries from their partners of the South, going forward, least developed countries (LDCs) and other less developed countries of the South will want to learn and exchange lessons with countries that have demonstrated efficient health systems, effective governance mechanisms, leadership, coordination, communication, and community cohesion during the crisis.

Examples of this collaborative spirit can be found in the response of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the UN focal point for promoting and facilitating South-South and triangular cooperation for development on a global and United Nations system-wide basis. The Office is supporting the countries of the Global South to fight the pandemic and its social and economic fallout through the modalities of South-South and triangular cooperation. For example, the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, managed by UNOSSC, is working rapidly to support projects that respond to COVID-19 across the Global South. Another example is the India, Brazil and South Africa Facility for Poverty and Hunger Alleviation, which supported an e-Learning project to improve health-care coverage and quality in Viet Nam that has proven to be successful in reaching health-care workers in remote medical settings, and is now being used to respond to COVID-19. The Office is also engaging with other partners such as the Islamic Development Bank to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in different regions of the South. In the spirit of South-South solidarity and cooperation, developing countries are helping each other to bridge unprecedented gaps in capacity, and sharing lessons on how to flatten the growth curve of the virus.

It is clear that South-South cooperation is and will be more important than ever before. For that reason, the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation is spreading awareness of the economic, social and political developments made recently by regions and countries in the South and highlights United Nations efforts to work on technical cooperation among developing countries.

Virtual high-level event
10 September 2020, 09:00 am -10:30 am

Pathways toward the SDGs through South-South solidarity beyond COVID-19


United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation will host a virtual high-level event 2 days prior to the observance and ahead of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. It will provide an opportunity to reflect on the vital role of international solidarity, while effectively responding to the global COVID-19 crisis. During the event, participants will be invited to highlight the role of South-South and triangular cooperation as an important element of their strategies.

The event will also feature the launch of the publication "Good Practices in South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development – Vol. 3." The new volume features more than 200 good practices presented by 35 Member States, 23 United Nations entities and many other development partners including civil society organizations and private sector.

Girls at the school kitchen eating and smiling up to an aereal camera

But... What does South-South Cooperation mean exactly?

Cuba’s support in the fight against Ebola in West Africa; Mexico’s experience in diversifying corn products to improve health and nutrition in Kenya; the knowledge of strategies to reduce hunger shared by Colombia to Mesoamerican countries; and the lessons from Chile to the Caribbean countries on product labeling as a measure to end obesity. These are just a few examples of South-South cooperation.

South-South cooperation is done through a broad framework of collaboration among countries of the South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains. Involving two or more developing countries, it can take place on a bilateral, regional, intraregional or interregional basis. Through South-South collaboration, developing countries share knowledge, skills, expertise and resources to meet their development goals through concerted efforts.

Another modality of South-South cooperation is Triangular cooperation, a collaboration in which traditional donor countries and multilateral organizations facilitate South-South initiatives through the provision of funding, training, management and technological systems, as well as other forms of support.

The objectives of South-South Cooperation are to:

  • foster and strengthen the self-reliance of developing countries by enhancing their creative capacity to find solutions and technological capacities to their development problems and formulate the requisite strategies to address them;
  • promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among developing countries through the exchange of experiences leading to a greater awareness of common problems and wider access to available knowledge;
  • 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 them to achieve a greater degree of participation in international economic activities.

Did you know?

  • The countries of the South have contributed to more than half of the world’s growth in recent years.
  • Intra-south trade is higher than ever, accounting for more than a quarter of all world trade.
  • The outflows of foreign direct investment from the South represent a third of the global flows.

BAPA+40 Website

Visit the website of the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation that was held last year in Argentina on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, one of the main pillars for South-South Cooperation.

Logo related to South-South Cooperation and SDGs

Related websites


People checking the quality of the harvest.

The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) was created in 1974 to promote, coordinate and support South-South and triangular cooperation globally and within the United Nations system. This agency works to support countries’ efforts to manage, design and implement South-South cooperation policies and initiatives through the identification, sharing and transfer of successful Southern-generated development solutions.

South-South galaxy logo

The “South-South Galaxy” is a global knowledge-sharing and partnership platform launched in 2019. The project aims to give systematic and effective support to countries of the South, so they can connect, learn and collaborate with potential partners in the wider digital world. Now the platform offers, as well, a great number of webinars adapted to the new COVID-19 situation and the UNOSSC's response to the pandemic


International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.