Chapter 12: South–South cooperation: a new paradigm for global social policy?
‘South–South cooperation’ is a broad term used to describe diverse types of political, economic and social cooperation among developing countries. Recently defined by the UN as ‘the process, institutions and arrangements designed to promote political, economic and technical cooperation among developing countries in pursuit of common development goals’ (UNCTAD 2010), the concept is rapidly gaining attention in both policy and academic forums. Although formally adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2003, the concept is much older and initially emphasized ‘Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries’ (TCDC). The Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) adopted by 138 states in 1978 is one of the first manifestations, providing an early conceptualization and practical guide for realizing the objectives of technical cooperation among developing countries. However, current South–South cooperation activities go well beyond technical cooperation, and address most sectors including traditional social policy areas such as health, education and social protection (UNDP 2004; Morais 2005, 2010). South–South relationships now include promotion of trade, development of regional, political and economic associations, provision of development assistance, and cooperation among developing states in multilateral negotiations with developed countries (UNCTAD 2010). This chapter focuses on those ideas and activities most relevant for the social sector and social policy. Cooperation can take different forms – including the sharing of knowledge, experience and expertise; training; technology transfer; financial and monetary cooperation; and in-kind contributions – and is typically justified as being in both the national and the collective self-interest of developing countries.
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