United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation

South-South co-operation has a key role to play in promoting decent work for sustainable development

Traditional aid flows will not be enough to address development challenges. New partnerships with and among developing nations are both the right thing to do and one of the best ways to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, says ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder.

Statement | 12 September 2016
The ILO welcomes South-South cooperation, which supports development based on the principles of equality, mutual benefit, national ownership, non-conditionality and non-interference.

It is equally welcome that new institutional actors have come to the stage, both at the global and regional levels, sharing their experience and supporting other countries on their way towards sustainable development.

The emergence of the South has also opened up new opportunities for countries in the South to participate with a stronger voice in the global development debate, actively shaping the course of change rather than being passive receivers.

We face tremendous global challenges: Persistent poverty and increasing inequalities, both within and among countries, energy and food insecurity, environmental risks and climate change and unemployment affect today northern and southern countries alike. These issues can only be successfully addressed through a global commitment to coherent action.

The Sustainable Development Goals are that global commitment. And all countries, irrespective of their level of development, have resolved to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in which the goal of decent work for all is deeply embedded.

Development can no longer be framed simply as a matter of foreign aid, but as a collaborative path towards these globally defined and nationally-owned objectives. Diverse forms of cooperation and innovative partnerships are needed, both with and among developing countries.

It is not by chance that the targets set for SDG 17 make explicit reference to South-South Cooperation as an instrument to enhance access to technology and innovation for developing countries, to build national capacity and, more broadly, to support the overall implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Reflecting its commitment to South-South and Triangular Cooperation, the ILO is involved in a wide range of projects ranging from establishing gender-sensitive Social Protection Floors in countries in Africa and Asia to the activities of the South-South network against child labour in Latin America. And earlier this year, recognizing that capacity development is key to the success of South-South cooperation, the ILO organized – at its International Training Centre in Turin – the first South-South and Triangular Cooperation Academy, attended by participants from 55 countries.

Stepping up our support for South-South cooperation is not just the right thing to do. It is also the smart thing to do. The ILO is committed to facilitating such cooperation to promote decent work for sustainable development.