Norec: South-South & Triangular Cooperation Partner of the Month

Norec’s Vision

The world is full of knowledge and skills. Through mutual exchanges, we teach each other to think bigger, live more sustainably, and build responsible local communities.

Approach to South-South & Triangular Cooperation

Norec (Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation) is an executive body under the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Norec facilitates the mutual exchange of personnel in organisations, companies, and institutions in 25 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Norway. Norec supports both North-South/South-North and South-South/Triangular cooperation projects. South-South cooperation has been embedded in Norec’s development strategy since 2001 and is now a substantial part of Norec’s projects.

Norec’s exchange model is based on reciprocity and mutual learning. South-South & Triangular partnerships may often be the most fruitful ones, as the challenges facing the partners may be more similar than in a North-South partnership. Norec finds that it may therefore be easier to localise learning points and to benefit from South-South projects.

South-South & Triangular Cooperation is shaped on the terms of the Global South. It is Norec’s experience that South-South partners have good prerequisites for mutual understanding of problems, possibilities, cultural and administrative conditions.

The ownership of the projects and all decisions made are in the Global South. This may increase the relevance of the projects and thus also the long-term sustainability and lasting results of the projects. Norec’s experience is that South-South & Triangular Cooperation projects have a high degree of results achievement. Norec shall work to achieve the overarching goals of Norwegian development policy. Following this, Norec’s main priority areas are, therefore:

  • Climate, environment, and ocean
  • Education
  • Health
  • Private sector development, agriculture, and renewable energy

Anti-corruption, climate change and the environment, gender equality and human rights are cross-cutting issues within the priorities. Norec has also received a special mandate from Norwegian Parliament in following up the outcome document from the UN Conference BAPA+40 on South-South cooperation.

Method: Reciprocal Exchange

The project partners Norec supports both send out personnel to work in their partner organisation and host personnel in their own organisation. It is crucial to Norec’s model that the exchanges are mutual.

The underlying understanding is that everyone in an exchange project has both something valuable to bring to the table, as well as something to learn. Each partner is therefore both a provider of knowledge and a beneficiary. Norec firmly believes that exchange is not a one-way street based on the assumption that one partner provides the knowledge and the other receives it. Norec thus rejects a sharp distinction between recipients and providers.

Norec implements reciprocity in several ways in the projects. First, all partner organisations send and receive personnel in approximately equal numbers. Second, when the partners establish their partnership, they jointly identify their needs and capacities. This assessment forms the basis for the organisation’s own recruiting of personnel to go on exchange. Third, Norec engages with all partners on equal terms and it is the partners who select the coordinator of the project among themselves.

In 2019, Norec supported eighty projects that in total exchanged 615 participants. Of these, fifty projects were South-South and six were Triangular projects. The South-South and Triangular projects included 161 different partner organisations.

Norec's Success Stories

Featured Publications

Norec Featured Publications POMPublications
October 15, 2020

What Do We Know About Exchange for Development? (Norec, 2019)

This report by Norec does a cross-section of most external reports commissioned by Norec over the last 20 years to evaluate and refine its work models and approaches. It focuses…
Norec Featured Publications POMPublications
October 15, 2020

Study of Government Institutions: Exchange of Staff (Norec, 2019)

This report by Norec discusses the benefits and challenges of international personnel exchange for Government and semi-Government institutions, in particular with respect to individual and institutional learning. It examins the…
Norec Featured Publications POMPublications
October 15, 2020

Reciprocity in International Volunteer Cooperation (Norec, 2016)

“Reciprocity” has become a common buzzword in international development cooperation. Its virtues are often touted with little critical reflection on the depth of the concept or how the principles of…
Norec Featured Publications POMSouth South in Action
March 18, 2019

South-South in Action: Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (NOREC, 2019)

This publication describes Norway and Norec’s engagement in South-South and Triangular cooperation, and outlines Norec’s theory of change and its approach to the SDGs. Six case studies are given as…

Norec's South-South & Triangular Cooperation Projects

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