The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has a deep institutional commitment to South-South cooperation (SSC), as reflected in the UNFPA strategic plan 2018-2021 that frames SSC as a crosscutting mode of engagement to deliver on the ICPD and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. SSC interventions underpin all UNFPA thematic areas.
UNFPA commissioned its first evaluation on the theme of SSC to surface evaluative evidence and lessons for the strategic direction of SSC, and to inform the development of the next UNFPA strategic plan in relation to SSC. This utilization-focused evaluation assesses the initial progress and strategic approach of UNFPA to SSC from 2017 to 2020
The evaluation highlights the significant efforts by UNFPA to institutionalize SSC at the global level. However, the understanding and implementation of SSC is varied across the organization. While efforts to increase staff capacity and mainstream SSC into the work of UNFPA have advanced, it can be further broadened. While SSC is advancing sexual, reproductive health and population dynamics, there is scope to better leverage SSC for gender equality, youth engagement, and to improve the effectiveness of UNFPA humanitarian response.
The evaluation found several opportunities for better leveraging SSC at UNFPA. The evaluation recommends that UNFPA should further clarify its conceptualization of SSC, better integrating it into strategic frameworks and thematic areas. UNFPA should enhance the capacity for and implementation of SSC strategies at the decentralized level. The evaluation also recommends improving monitoring and evaluation of SSC interventions, and strengthening efforts in the communication and knowledge management of SSC results.