The Report

What is the Report on South-South Cooperation in Ibero-America?

This annual document summarizes, systematizes and analyzes South-South Cooperation in Ibero-American countries. The report, which has been published since 2007, is the only document of its kind in a developing region. The 2017 Report is the tenth edition of a constantly evolving product.

Who drafts the report and how?

The Report relies on input from Ibero-American countries (represented by national cooperation agencies and/or bureaus), the Ibero-American Program to Strengthen South-South Cooperation (PIFCSS) and the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), which drafts and publishes the document.

The Ibero-American countries jointly agree on the contents of the report, the method for registering information and the definition of concepts, thus making this report an exercise in South-South Cooperation. The countries involved in the drafting process work at the technical and political level.


What are the main features of the 2017 Report?

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    The first chapter includes a strategic reflection 40 years after the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action developed by the Heads of Cooperation (Ibero-American cooperation authorities).

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    The report analyzes and systematizes 1,475 South-South Cooperation programs, projects and actions, identifying the leading actors and partnerships and the sectors most strengthened through South-South Cooperation.

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    The data was provided by the Ibero-American Integrated Data System on South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SIDICSS). It is the first regional information system where countries share information on South-South Cooperation.

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    It includes a chapter (five) on South-South Cooperation implemented between Ibero-American countries and countries from other regions, including Africa and Asia.

Results per chapter

Chapter I. Towards 40 years of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action: Fresh prospects for South-South Cooperation in Ibero-America

This chapter reflects on the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA), within the existing context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, forty years after its adoption. It underlines the validity of this document, which continues to set a benchmark for development cooperation strategies developed by governments, regional organizations and the United Nations.

The Heads of Cooperation reflect on South-South Cooperation at different levels: national -highlighting the Ibero-American countries’ dynamism-, regional, interregional -through multiple regional platforms and spaces for dialogue-, and multilateral -working with various United Nations bodies and agencies. The chapter continues to explore more deeply the challenges and potential of South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation in achieving and monitoring the Agenda 2030. Owing to its added value, South-South Cooperation stands out as an indisputable means for effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and provides an exemplary model for sustainable development partnerships.

The chapter concludes with the prospects and challenges that the Ibero-American region faces forty years after the BAPA, including:

Fostering an international cooperation system that ensures sustained incentives for sustainable development.

Establishing a strategic framework for promoting South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation in science, technology and innovation.

Promoting dialogue between South-South Cooperation and traditional cooperation through Triangular Cooperation.

Fostering regional articulation and coordination for promoting South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation in implementing Agenda 2030.

Promoting decentralized South-South Cooperation for Agenda 2030.

Promoting multi-stakeholder partnerships in South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation programs and actions.

Creating data and information systems for the systematization and enhancement of South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation.

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Chapter II. Ibero-America and Bilateral South-South Cooperation

The second chapter focuses on the 721 projects and 155 actions exchanged between the nineteen Ibero-American countries under Bilateral South-South Cooperation in 2015. The characterization of these nearly 900 initiatives reveals the following notable information:

On the one hand, seven countries in the region were responsible for 90% of the 721 projects: Argentina, with 180 projects, was the top provider; followed by Mexico and Brazil with 125 and 110 projects; Chile and Cuba, with 80 and 59 initiatives, respectively, or 20% of the total; and Uruguay and Colombia, which were involved in a significant number of projects, between 40 and 50.

On the other hand, all 19 Latin America countries, without exception, were active as recipients of Bilateral SSC projects. El Salvador, in particular, was the top recipient in 2015 with 98 projects, equivalent to 13.6% of the total. It was the only country with more than 10% share, given that the second and third top recipients in 2015, Bolivia and Argentina, received 68 and 57 projects each (9.4% and 7.9%, respectively).

In terms of the capacities strengthened in the region through Bilateral SSC, most projects (over 250, or 40.1% of the total) were geared towards the economic area: eight of 10 strengthened productive sectors, while the rest focused on creating national economy-supporting infrastructures and services. Meanwhile, about 215 projects (one-third of the total) sought to improve social welfare. Another one hundred (15% of the 721) were aimed at strengthening government institutions and civil society. Finally, the remaining 11.6% of the projects were geared towards the environment and other multisectoral areas, primarily culture, in a ratio of 6:4.

Chapter III. Triangular Cooperation in Ibero-America

The third chapter systematizes the Triangular Cooperation in which Ibero-America engaged in 2015: 94 projects and 65 actions. This means that the number of initiatives has increased eightfold with respect to 2006 (159 initiatives compared to 21 a decade ago). This analysis highlighted the following:

Only 12 of the 19 countries in the region transferred their capacities as first providers. Four countries accounted for almost three-fourth of the 94 projects provided: Chile, 29.8% of the projects; Brazil, the first provider in 18.1% of the initiatives; and Mexico and Argentina, with relative shares of 16% and 9.6%, respectively.

In 2015, more than twenty actors supported Triangular Cooperation financially, technically and institutionally. Indeed, in the role of second provider, Germany stood out with more than one fifth of the projects; Spain and Japan, with 17 projects each accounted for 36.2% of the cooperation; and the United States was the fourth most active country. Multilateral agencies of the United Nations System, several Development Banks and some subregional institutions (e.g. OAS) also played a prominent role.

Several countries often acted as recipients at the same time (in virtually one-third of Triangular projects in 2015). Worthy of note at the individual level were Paraguay and El Salvador (23.4% of the remaining initiatives), Guatemala (9.6%) and Honduras (8.5%).

Chapter IV. Ibero-America and Regional South-South Cooperation

Chapter IV focuses on the 44 programs and 57 projects under Regional South-South Cooperation in which Ibero-American countries engaged in 2015. The most striking results are summarized below in terms of who participated and what type of regional problems were addressed collectively through this form of cooperation. In particular:

Mexico was the country involved in a larger number of Regional South-South Cooperation initiatives (68). It was followed by Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru, with between 50 and 60 programs and projects. The rest of the countries of the region also participated in Regional SSC initiatives, though to a lesser extent.

Multilateral bodies were also relevant players in Regional South-South Cooperation in 2015, participating in 89 of the 101 registered initiatives. The role of Ibero-American bodies, which were active in 26 programs and projects, should be noted. Next was the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which sponsored 13 projects under its ARCAL Program. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and MERCOSUR participated, respectively, in about ten exchanges.

Chapter V. Ibero-America and South-South Cooperation with other developing regions

The fifth chapter introduces an analysis of the nearly 400 South-South Cooperation initiatives in which Ibero-America engaged in 2015 with other developing regions. It is important to note that not all countries that participate in the regular Report process reported for this particular chapter. About 90% of the initiatives reported (330) were Bilateral South-South Cooperation exchanges. The rest, in similar proportions, were implemented under Triangular Cooperation (21 initiatives) and Regional South-South Cooperation (27).

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