unctad.org | Defining, measuring and reporting South-South Cooperation: accounting grants, debt, technical assistance and in-kind support between developing countries
Defining, measuring and reporting South-South Cooperation: accounting grants, debt, technical assistance and in-kind support between developing countries
17 - 18 December 2015
Room S4, Palais des Nations
Geneva, Switzerland

Key Issues


Over the past two decades South-South Cooperation (SSC) has grown in both quantum and geographic reach, through a variety of approaches and instruments, to become an important complementary source of financing of global and regional development.

Accounting for these vast flows of human, financial, knowledge and technological transfer between developing countries remains a challenge for many national governments as well as international institutions.

Currently, no common definition, standards or understanding of what constitutes SSC exists among Southern partners. Measuring SSC is therefore difficult.

This task is further complicated by inconsistent recording across countries and the absence of an international coordinating agency - often rendering the collection, analysis and compilation of data on SSC incomplete and unreliable.

Objectives of the Workshop

The first in a series of joint NeST-UNCTAD workshops, which aim to develop a shared conceptual understanding of what SSC means between Southern partners. i.e. develop and document common methodologies, definitions and accounting and reporting standards.

It is hoped that that these common standards can be used to strengthen national statistical systems and SSC reporting mechanisms, which will lay the foundation for the establishment of an open database on SSC flows, addressing a significant information gap with regard to SSC research, analysis and policy.

Such an information system will also make an important contribution to the measurement of progress towards the UN Agenda 2030 - not least Goal 17 which deals specifically with SSC and debt sustainability.

The technical working group will bring together SSC experts from countries and international and multilateral organisations, academics and policy-makers from around the world to discuss these issues.

About the Network of Southern Think-tanks (NeST)

The Network of Southern Think Tank (NeST) was established on the periphery of the first High Level Meeting (HLM) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) in Mexico in April 2014, and in follow-up to the Conference of Southern Providers held in Delhi in March 2013. The network is committed to 'generating, systematising, consolidating and sharing knowledge on South-South Co-operation (SSC) approaches to international development'.

A collaborative initiative for the South by the South, NeST is primarily a think-tank and academic forum which provides policy inputs into the arena of SSC. Nonetheless, NeST welcomes inputs from a diversity of Southern stakeholders, through the open engagement of government, civil society, private sector, and various Southern practitioners to contribute towards creating a unified understanding and framework for debates around SSC.

The role of UNCTAD

UNCTAD is mandated by the Accra Accord [43 (b)] 'to upgrade data and analytical tools on South-South flows and cooperation'. UNCTAD is therefore happy to assist in any projects that develop internationally comparable statistics relating to SSC. UNCTAD can also contribute extensive value added through economic and social analyses and general policy recommendations.



Co-organized with:Network of Southern Think-Tanks (NeST) -
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Covid-19 Advisory
In view of the evolving situation concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19), it has been decided that meetings scheduled until the end of April 2020 and listed below will be postponed. New dates will be communicated in due course.
  • Commission on Science and Technology for Development, twenty-third session (23-27 March 2020)
  • Working Party on the Strategic Framework and the Programme Budget, eightieth session (30-31 March 2020)
  • Multi Year Expert Meeting on Commodities and Development, Twelfth session (1-2 April 2020)
  • Multi-year Expert Meeting on Transport, Trade Logistics and Trade Facilitation, Eighth session, (20-22 April 2020)
  • Intergovernmental Group of Experts on E-commerce and the Digital Economy, Fourth session, (29 April-1 May 2020)
Meetings of the Trade and Development Board and the Preparatory Committee for UNCTAD 15 will take place as scheduled, subject to re-evaluation as conditions warrant.
Please consult the information on COVID-19 for meeting participants here.

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