UNCTAD: South-South & Triangular Cooperation Featured Partner


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was established in 1964 to help developing countries access the benefits of a globalized economy more fairly and effectively, providing them the tools needed to turn trade, investment, finance and technology into vehicles for inclusive and sustainable development.

SSC as a Strategic Priority

Fostering cooperation and solidarity among nations of the Global South has been at the heart of its work since 1964. UNCTAD supports and facilitates cooperation among developing countries through its policy analysis, consensus-building and technical assistance. The work is carried out in line with the international agreements and commitments relevant to South-South and triangular cooperation, including:

A considerable part of its projects, for example, are funded by developing countries to support partners in the South to meet their development goals through concerted efforts and accelerate the contribution of South-South cooperation to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2020, such funds amounted to $1.9 million.

The organization is committed to continue supporting and promoting South-South partnerships and cooperation through the sharing of knowledge and experiences in key trade and development-related areas and initiatives, such as the Global System of Trade Preferences among developing countries, which over the past 32 years has provided a strong platform for South-South trade and economic cooperation.

TrainForTrade (TFT) Programme

With a view to supporting the development of inclusive and sustainable economic growth, the UNCTAD TrainForTrade Programme proposes tailored technical assistance to best meet countries’ needs in key areas pertinent to trade.

TrainForTrade was launched in 1989 to address trade-related human and institutional capacity needs of developing and transition countries. The ultimate goal is to increase countries’ participation in international trade in an equitable and sustainable manner. UNCTAD’s mandate is to work for development-led globalization, where the development paths are sustainable and inclusive. The TrainForTrade programme contributes to this goal by disseminating international trade-related knowledge and developing skills and capacities. TrainForTrade has proven to be very useful and instrumental in connecting UNCTAD research and analysis with sustainable capacity-building activities in developing and transition countries. TFT’s activities help to facilitate South-South and North-South collaboration and foster communication between trade and training experts.

TrainForTrade contributes to the achievement of SDGs concerning life below water (SDG 14), industry innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), gender equality (SDG 5) and ending poverty in all forms (SDG 1). TrainForTrade also contributes to SDG 17, most directly to SDG Target 17.9, by building the capacity of developing countries to support the implementation of sustainable development goals in trade.

SSC Results and Impact

Since 1996, UNCTAD’s TrainForTrade Port Management Programme has helped port communities in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America improve their performance, training more than 4,000 port managers from over 111 countries to date.

South-South cooperation is a key component of the programme’s success and sustainability. The programme takes into account the relevance of proximity of experience and the shared development challenges faced by developing countries. In this regard, senior port managers share their experiences and deliver training and capacity building through the different port course modules”.

It is supported by four language networks, allowing for worldwide coverage. The European Union classified the Train for Trade methodology of project management and blended learning delivery as a best practice, following an evaluation of a TrainForTrade project in Angola. The Government of Ireland, the main donor of the Port Management Programme, has stated that the partnership between Irish Aid, ports in Ireland, UNCTAD and beneficiary ports are an example of a best practice in development cooperation.

COVID-19 Response

UNCTAD is monitoring the effects of the global pandemic on manufacturing, trade, foreign direct investment and economic growth. It stands ready to provide technical assistance that can help countries mitigate or recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

As countries and the international community design recovery policies to help build resilient and more inclusive and sustainable economies, up-to-date data are critical. Through its website, UNCTAD aims to contribute to this endeavour by providing a broad selection of data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trade and development, reflecting the situation as of 31 March 2021. The information also serves as an updated supplement to the publication Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Trade and Development: Transitioning to a New Normal, issued in November 2020. Previous indicators are complemented by new data where relevant and available, notably, data on the roll-out of vaccinations.

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