South-South Cooperation on Peace and Development


Countries of the Global South enjoy sustainable and just peace because their knowledge and perspectives with regard to the promotion of peace and development are cross-regionally shared and systematically integrated into peace efforts. Southern solidarity increases chances for durable and just peace.

Between 2016 and 2017, UNOSSC received demand from various countries and regional groups to more proactively engage in the promotion of South-South cooperation for peace and development. Moreover, an expanding portfolio of nascent collaboration with United Nations agencies working on peace, conflict and humanitarian crisis – notably the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) – began evolving as the United Nations strives to break silos and increase collaborative work regarding the peace-development-humanitarian nexus. In late 2017, the UNOSSC mandate was broadened to include the responsibility of coordinating the integration of South-South cooperation across the United Nations system. This includes in relation to peace and development.

Rising violent conflict and man-made humanitarian crises are challenges mainly affecting Global South countries. According to the recent report “Pathways to Peace” (World Bank and UN report), conflict and violence are on the rise. The report found that by 2030 over half of the world’s population will be living in countries affected by high levels of violence, and this figure is expected to rise to 80 percent by 2035 unless global action is taken. The complexity of this scenario is further exacerbated by climate change pressures related to the management of natural resources and business practices that are not sensitive to conflict dynamics and social justice. In this context, Global South countries and regional blocs are actively pursuing and implementing innovative initiatives to promote conflict prevention and peacemaking with attention to the root causes of conflict. Nevertheless, these options and solutions are not known and/or shared widely and systematically.

Most of the time, there is more visibility and attention given to initiatives promoted by countries from the North. Southern actors are at the front-line of conflict; promoting creative and viable alternatives for sustaining peace. In this context, it is necessary that Global South partners can unconditionally support each other and promote contextually relevant and inclusive alternatives to guarantee durable peace. UNOSSC aims to promote the cross-fertilization of ideas and create the space for Southern solidarity for peace and development.

Expected Outcomes

UNOSSC role will be of facilitator, convener, advisor and (potentially) fund manager, becoming a catalyzer of transformative South-South Cooperation for sustainable peace and inclusive development across all continents. UNOSSC South-South emerging programming established three initial expected outcomes. They are reinforcing each other.

  • Outcome 1: Southern Knowledge – Collective analysis on peace and development produced and shared by Global South thinkers and countries. UNOSSC will document, evaluate and share Southern peace and development practices, support Global South-led research together with the coalition of Global South think-tanks, amplify the voices of Global South actors and their peace proposals and provide expert advice on South-South Cooperation on peace and development.
  • Outcome 2: South-South Learning Exchanges – Expansion of opportunities to share lessons learnt and Global South alternatives and options for peace and development. UNOSSC and partners will organize interactive horizontal learning exchanges bringing together Global South members countries and partners with the aim to cross—fertilize ideas for peace and development change. UNOSSC might create a specialized funding mechanism to ensure that more and better SSC exchanges on peace and development are organized across regions.
  • Outcome 3: Policy Influencing – Increased Southern solidarity for peace ensures that policies are informed by Southern best practices and perspectives. UNOSSC will create and convey policy spaces to reflect on policy options for durable peace and sustainable development.

Thematic Focus

UNOSSC’s South-South cooperation on peace and development programme considers 3 thematic inter-related pillars of the “peace continuum” in order to guide programming decisions:

1. Conflict Prevention: Focus root causes of violent conflict and showcasing effective public policies and alternatives for systemic change. This means working on conflict prevention through the “peace continuum”. This could include, for example, socio-economic, institutional and cultural root causes of conflict, including external factors such intervention, conditionalities, illicit funds, global armed trade, etc.

2. Peace Negotiation, Conflict / Crisis Management & Resolution: Southern experiences in the mediation, management and resolution of conflicts and crisis, with a focus on localized and people-lead approaches. This includes, for example, participation of indigenous communities (and customary mediation practices), women, youth, non-state actors and other key stakeholders in the negotiation, management and resolution of conflict and crisis. Valuing Southern ways of doing peacekeeping, peacemaking, mediation and transformative humanitarian interventions with a focus on gender-sensitive approaches, for example, “new ways of working” approach.

3. Conflict Transformation: from Conflict to Sustainable Peace and Inclusive Development: Contextually relevant factors enabling one country/region to move from violence and conflict to sustainable and inclusive development and peace. This could include diverse models of transitional justice, considering elections as a factor promoting (or not) peace consolidation; participatory processes to support political agreements at all society-levels, demobilization and integration of combatants/criminals into society life, etc. Importantly, public polices addressing the long-term transformation of the structural conditions generating violence, for example, land reform, just taxation systems, criminal justice reform orienting to the prevention of crime, youth participation and employment, social security and long-term developmental gains enabling the creation of contexts in which every human being may enjoy a dignified life.