South-South cooperation has grown exponentially in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in the past decade. Many of the region’s middle-income countries have become active proponents of South-South partnerships and have strengthened their capacities in different areas of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) mandate. As a result, the needs and demands for ICPD knowledge transfer have not only intensified but also become specialized. As the countries in the region tend to strengthen their macroeconomic frameworks, they also express more specific demands for efficient and effective knowledge in different areas of the ICPD mandate.
Towards a Solution
The Platform is one component of the UNFPA South-South cooperation regional strategy. The online tool facilitates real-time dialogue, negotiation and exchange of knowledge acquired through actual experiences at the national and local levels. Dialogue and exchange take place among peers of national institutions in countries demanding or offering to share their knowledge in addressing ICPD goals in a horizontal manner. UNFPA local and regional offices facilitate the exchange and are in charge of quality assurance, follow-up, accountability and impact reporting. This online tool consolidates information on the monitoring, transfer and documentation of government investments and efforts to address ICPD gaps and to enhance alliances by building on one another’s knowledge and capacities.
The Platform constitutes an umbrella mechanism that addresses the technical needs of countries through a network of associated governments. All countries can use the Platform, but some may assume the role of providers and others of recipients depending on their technical needs. Interested countries can access the platform and, if they find an area of interest, UNFPA will facilitate the exchange. Through the Platform, countries can communicate via teleconference and online forums, create and follow up on initial exploratory cooperation missions, define the budget, activities and outcomes of the cooperation, and monitor and evaluate initiatives.
The Platform has successfully facilitated South- South cooperation initiatives in the region with the involvement of national institutions in Guatemala and Colombia and a couple in Africa. The countries that have already signed memorandums of understanding for South-South cooperation include Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala and Uruguay (via multilateral agreements with UNFPA). Colombia had two initiatives under the Platform: sharing its experiences in working with local governments, linking population variables to plan for prioritizing regional development and sexual and reproductive health services for young people, and organizing peer support groups, which began in a pilot municipality before spreading to all of the country’s health centres.
Partners include the UNFPA Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office and countries in the region (Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Uruguay) that have signed a South-South cooperation memorandum of understanding expressing their willingness and commitment to contribute to regional and extraregional multilateral cooperation horizontally, following the offer-and-demand principle.
Sustainable Development Goal target: 17.6
Countries / territories involved: Countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean region
Supported by: UNFPA
Implementing entities: National Institutions designated by ministers of foreign affairs
Project status: Ongoing
Project period: 2012 – present
URL of the practice: http://lac.unfpa.org/en/node/563 (spanish only)
Name: Ms. Selina Banos