South-South Cooperation's contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

The Report on South-South Cooperation in Ibero-America 2018 includes an analysis of the alignment between the Sustainable Development Goals and the South-South Cooperation in which the Ibero-American countries engaged under each modality: Bilateral SSC, Triangular and Regional SSC.

SSC projects' contribution to the SDGs

The analysis links each SSC project to two Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): a main SDG and a secondary SDG. This allows, on the one hand, to cover more broadly the breadth, complexity and interconnection of the 2030 Agenda; and on the other hand, to understand better the multisectorial and cross-cutting nature of many projects.

The graph/dashboard shows the Bilateral, Triangular and Regional SSC programs and projects (803 in total) covered in this Report based on their contribution to the main SDG. It can be concluded that (click on each SDG to read more):


As has become customary, SDG 3 Good Health & Well-being is the main SDG to which SSC contributed in Ibero-America. 128 SSC programs and projects were geared towards this SDG. A number of these were health sector initiatives (training for medical professionals, improving the quality of health services or drug regulation, among others).

However, initiatives with other sectoral profiles were also implemented under this SDG, including projects on air quality (more environment-related) or food safety (more specific to Agriculture) .


An additional 73 projects and programs were aligned with SDG 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities. This included cooperation geared towards disaster management (especially, prevention and human settlements) and wider and greater sustainability of cities, as well as enhanced protection of tangible and intangible cultural heritage.


Also in line with previous reports, the second SDG with a greater number of SSC initiatives was SDG 2 on Zero Hunger. 104 cooperation projects and programs sought to improve the quality of food, ensure food safety and enhance productivity and sustainability of agricultural production and industrial food processes


Finally, the importance of the environment in Ibero-American SSC is reflected in the over one hundred programs and projects (111) that jointly contributed to water and sanitation (SDG 6), climate change (SDG 13), marine ecosystems (SDG 14) and land ecosystems (SDG 15), and sustainable production and consumption (SDG 12).

ODS 16

Another 104 projects and programs were aligned with SDG 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. This cooperation aimed to improve the efficiency, transparency and management of public institutions. However, the focus of the initiatives contributing to this SDG varied widely, as they also targeted security (trafficking in cultural property or other illicit assets), human rights, peace-building or protection of minors, to name a few.

The relationship between different SDGs in South-South Cooperation

Linking two SDGs to each of South-South Cooperation program and project not only provides better insight into how SSC contributes to the achievement of the different SDGs, but also, into how the SDGs connect with and relate to each other through that particular SSC.

A string diagram was developed to illustrate the above. The flows and connections established show, first, the link between SDG pairs and, secondly, the links between a specific number of programs and projects and each SDG pair. It can therefore be concluded that the strongest link was between:

ODS 2, 8

SDGs 2 and 8 respectively relating to Zero Hunger and Economic Growth. Worthy of note among these programs and projects were those geared towards developing the agricultural production sector, in particular improving productivity and sustainability. These initiatives simultaneously contributed to eradicating hunger and promoting the production sectors.

ODS 2,3

The second pair of SDGs with the most initiatives was SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being). This serves to illustrate the strong link between initiatives relating to nutrition (food security, food safety, etc.) and its impact on improving health.

ODS 8,9

SDGs 8 (economic growth) and 9 (industrial development and technological innovation) ranked third. Initiatives that sought to develop the industrial sector (for instance, developing production chains), improve the food industry or create and apply technological developments were included in these two areas.