Developing countries sharing solutions to many of the challenges they collectively face is a cost-efficient and effective path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – that was the key message at a regional dialogue on South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) in Africa, organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Regional Office for Africa.
The online session this week brought together attendees from government ministries and donor organizations as well as technical experts and other partners to discuss ways to scale-up South-South and Triangular Cooperation in Africa. Areas of focus included research and extension to improve yields, sustainable intensification of production, and scaling up the adoption of modern technologies.
“Now more than ever, we need to renew our commitment to support countries to achieve the 2030 Agenda. This requires new ways of thinking, and new ways of working together as partners. I’m pleased to say that South-South and Triangular Cooperation is playing a greater role than ever before in the international development landscape and there is more that can be done,” said FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa Abebe Haile-Gabriel in his opening remarks.
The event heard that demand is growing for home-grown solutions to Africa’s food security challenges. Over the last ten years, the majority of FAO’s SSTC programmes have been implemented in Africa.
“This trend is driven by the increasing demand from FAO member countries, interest in the Global South and the willingness of triangular partners to finance SSTC projects in Africa,” said Anping Ye, Director of FAO’s South-South and Triangular Cooperation Division.
“South-South cooperation, with solidarity at its heart, unites developing countries to support each other and enables collective solutions to common development challenges,” said Xiaojun Wang from the UN Office for South-South Cooperation.
Successful examples of South-South and Triangular Cooperation mentioned at the event include Chinese drip-irrigation technology enabling Nigerian farmers to grow crops during the dry season and significantly increase their incomes, and expertise from Viet Nam and funding from Spain that provided a significant boost to Namibia’s aquaculture sector.
FAO ready to deliver
South-South Cooperation is defined as technical cooperation among developing countries in the Global South. Triangular Cooperation is when a third party, such as an international organization like FAO, contributes to facilitate the South-South exchange. FAO has a track record of supporting countries through a variety of modalities such as short- and long-term deployment of experts, study tours, policy dialogues and technology exchanges.
FAO is now proactively broadening its role as facilitator of South-South and Triangular Cooperation, Anping Ye told the session.
“The new FAO SSTC Guidelines for Action aim to raise the bar for FAO as a global advocate, convener, and facilitator of SSTC in agriculture, rural development, food systems and poverty reduction and nutrition, as part of the Decade of Action to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG2 and SDG1,” he said.
African countries are also stepping up to support home-grown solutions. The Governments of Nigeria and Angola, for example, established unilateral trust funds and the Africa Solidarity
Trust Fund was established to facilitate intra-regional cooperation.