UNFPA, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency, weaves SSC right into its core corporate strategy and invests in a well-integrated set of interventions. In implementation, UNFPA has top-level support, monitors its progress assiduously and aligns itself closely with the rest of the UN system through the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).
The UNFPA Strategic Plan 2018-2021 identifies three transformative results as its key contributions to the 2030 Agenda. UNFPA’s Three Zeroes are: zero preventable maternal deaths, zero un-met need for family planning, and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices. The same strategic plan elevates South-South Cooperation, together with partnership and coordination, as one of the five strategic approaches of UNFPA. The result is that SSC is officially mainstreamed in programming, and investments made in SSC are monitored and reported together with the results.
Internal and external interventions being made by UNFPA on South-South Cooperation:
Internal Capacity Development. In ramping up its role as a facilitator of SSC partnerships, UNFPA raised the capacity of its staff. It formulated an SSC strategy and produced specific guidance notes from it. It conducted face-to-face workshops, webinars, and an online course.
Knowledge and Recognition. In promoting partnerships, UNFPA documented systematically SSC initiatives – and the knowledge of what worked and did not work. In order to spur documentation, it conducted a good-practices competition, giving recognition to the best practices while strengthening the knowledge culture.
Global Platforms. UNFPA is pro-active in utilizing global events as platforms for enabling partnership discovery. It co-organized with Partners in Population and Development the annual International Inter-Ministerial Conference on Population and Development as a global platform on SSC in the thematic areas of the agency’s mandate. Another international event for promoting SSC partnership is the annual Africa-China Conference on Population and Development that highlights potential and successful partnerships. In terms of electronic platforms, UNFPA is among the first adopters of the South-South Galaxy, the electronic platform that seeks to integrate the work of UN and national agencies in enabling partnerships.
Policy Dialogue. The engagement of Member-States is crucial for SSC success. Thus, UNFPA pursues relevant opportunities for global policy dialogues, such as during this year’s BAPA+40 conference. UNFPA is co-organizing this year’s Nairobi Summit on ICPD@25 to gather commitments for the achievement of the global agreement on population and development goals. The Summit, on 12-14 November 2019, features SSC as one of its signature sessions, thus enabling world leaders to articulate their SSC commitments for the SDGs.
UNFPA found SSC as an innovative and flexible approach in addressing emerging issues such as migration, humanitarian situation, demographic dividend, and ageing.
Centres of Excellence.
Centres of excellence (CoEs) are known to be drivers of SSC partnerships. By CoEs, UNFPA means institutions located in the Global South that work on the relevant thematic areas and are designed for research and capacity development. UNFPA is able to work with these centres in raising the capacity of partner-institutions in other countries.
Monitoring and Evaluation. All these investments and efforts are reviewed vis-à-vis actual results in terms of partnership initiatives made and development outcomes achieved. In the effort to have comprehensive assessment of SSC programming and generating the lessons learned thus far, UNFPA launched an independent thematic evaluation. It wants to know more how much it has achieved and how far it still needs to go in making SSC an effective approach for achieving the goals.