Regional Seminar on Development Partnership & South-South Cooperation towards Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 28 January 2020 at UNCC, Meeting room A

Regional Seminar on Development Partnership & South-South Cooperation towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

January 28, 2020

United Nations Conference Centre, Meeting room A

Bangkok Thailand

Background and Context

The international community is placing greater emphasis to highlight the importance of effective partnerships since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A key difference between the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is commitment to “leave no one behind” by taking people-centered and participatory approaches to tackle global challenges and build a peaceful and prosperous future for all. In fact, SDG #17 serves as the overarching strategy, calling for enhanced coordination and collaboration to implement and achieve the global development blueprint.

The new roadmap has rekindled political will, public ownership and private sector engagement, expanding the pool of development actors and mobilizing financial and technical resources. In addition to traditional development actors: mainly governments and international organizations; civil society organizations, academia and the private sector are emerging players driving “innovative ways of thinking and problem solving” and diversifying partnership modality/dynamics. Today, a wide range of multi-stakeholder initiatives at all levels and forms are taking place from global, regional to local; and bilateral to multilateral arrangements in resolving cross-sectoral agenda.

South-South cooperation (SSC) and triangular cooperation (TrC) are development partnership modalities that are vibrantly discussed and implemented globally and regionally. The last of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognizes the importance of ‘partnership’. The Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) Outcome Document calls for greater multi-stakeholder engagement (governments, academia, civil society, private sector) on broader issues including trade, investment and environment; and recognizes how SS & TrC serve as important partnership mechanisms to bridge communication and coordination gaps to “promote unity and cooperation, which contribute to establishing a fair and equitable economic order”.

Hence, in line with this goal, many development policy makers and practitioners are increasingly interested in the conditions and elements of a successful partnership for effective and sustainable development. In this respect, it is timely and important to address what nature and types of partnership have been observed in the contemporary practices of SS & TrC and what constitutes challenges and opportunities for the partnerships pertaining to these particular modalities of development cooperation; and what country-specific, contextual evidence is available to make the current academic understanding and development practice better. Various academics and South-South research institutes and think tanks have been preoccupied with these questions for a while.

Center for International Development Cooperation, KHU (CIDEC) & SSK Research Group on Comprehensive Development Partnership (SSK-CDP)

The Social Science Korea (SSK) Research Group on Comprehensive Development Partnership is a South Korean research project funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) based in the Centre for International Development Cooperation (CIDEC), at Kyung Hee University, Seoul. Since 2012, the research group, comprised of 14 prominent South Korean scholars, has led research with special reference to “Comprehensive Partnership for Development”. This project has explored and identified the conditions for and effective forms of development partnerships on the policy-making and on-the-ground levels. Their collaborative work has been generating impacts on development cooperation policies and practices at global and domestic levels. The research group has covered a wide range of development topics, including the effectiveness of multilateral assistance, public-private partnership in infrastructure development projects, and collaboration between international organizations and non-government organizations in specific development operations. One of the SSK-CDP works, titled “Do Different Implementing Partnerships Lead to Different Project Outcomes? Evidence from the World Bank Project-Level Evaluation Data (2018)” was published at a well-cited academic journal, World Development. The CIDEC & SSK-CDP also work closely with the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in South Korea for development policy research on Official Development Assistance (ODA) and SDGs.

UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC)

UNOSSC serves as a robust knowledge hub providing advisory and consulting services to Member States, UN entities, IGOs, NGOs and other stakeholders on SS & TrC. In order to respond to the requests of Member States and the United Nations system, UNOSSC focuses its work along three pillars: (1) advocacy, (2) knowledge building, and (3) innovative programming.

During the Second United Nations High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA + 40) held in March 2019, the United Nations Member States called on the United Nations Development System ‘to assist developing countries, upon request, in building the human and institutional capacity needed to formulate and implement national development policies, strategies and programmes for South-South Cooperation, including sharing of good practices and experiences…” Furthermore, the Member States recognised the “important role played by UNOSSC in coordinating, promoting and mainstreaming SS & TrC at regional, global and United Nations system-wide basis and welcomed its support to Member States and other partners in enhancing and expanding South-South Cooperation”.



UNOSSC will facilitate CIDEC-SSK’s sharing of its research on South-South and triangular cooperation by co-organising a seminar on “Development Partnerships and South-South Cooperation towards Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. This will be a one-day regional seminar organized in Bangkok, Thailand. The objectives of the Seminar are as follows:

  • Opportunity for UN Agencies and invited partners to gain insight to the research at CIDEC-SSK pertaining to:
    1. Requirements for effective forms of development partnership in South-South and triangular cooperation;
    2. Factors that drive regional integration in East Asia and collaboration among different interest groups, opportunities and lessons for other actors within the region and stakeholders of different continents maximizing the impact of partnership;
  • Examine RoK’s role in promoting SS & TrC among various development actors and partner countries; and share findings from the empirical studies of development partnership in the East Asia region; and
  • Discuss exemplary thematic initiatives in the Asia-pacific region.

Expected Outcomes

  • Enhanced knowledge and perspective of Republic of Korea’s understanding on key trends of SS & TrC in Asia-Pacific
  • Linkage of CIDEC-SSK to other research networks including the Global Partnership Forum and the South-South Global thinkers;
  • Widening scope of research based on UNOSSC networks and experience;
  • Strengthen steps towards UNOSSC and KOICA collaboration; and
  • Determine strategic roles and plans or follow-up actions for participants.


The organisers will invite about 60 participants from Asia-Pacific representing:

  • Government ministries working on development cooperation
  • Academics and policy experts
  • UN agencies, international and regional organizations
  • NGOs
  • Private sector