South-south cooperation in education

The global development landscape has fundamentally changed allowing for new forms of partnership and cooperation to flourish. Traditionally aid flowed from the developed North to the developing South. Now developing countries are building economic and other cooperation relationships between each other at an unprecedented rate.

South-South Cooperation represents the exchange of knowledge and resources between governments, organizations and individuals in developing countries, or those from what is known as the Global South. This may be based on individual or shared development objectives. North-South-South Cooperation or Triangular Cooperation describes two or more developing countries collaborating with a third developed country which contributes knowledge, technology and resources.

Emerging economies play an increasingly visible role in international education cooperation with a move from traditional transfers of money to technical and knowledge transfers. As the landscape has shifted, UNESCO’s role has evolved. It has always promoted partnership, the sharing of information and best practices and networking as an essential feature of its work in education. Now as leader of the Education 2030 Agenda, it is even more firmly placed to act as broker, instigator and convenor of new and stronger partnership arrangements on a global, inter-regional, regional or national scale.

South-south cooperation in action

UNESCO seeks to forge equal partnerships between countries, in particular by strengthening technical cooperation between developing countries and attracting funding from new and emerging donors. It cooperates with Member States, civil society, and the academic world and promotes public-private partnerships in education.

UNESCO’s pivotal functions in this role include providing a common platform for engagement through international and regional fora, acting as a clearing house to share good practices in education, building networks and communities of practice and rewarding innovative and outstanding projects through prizes.

Examples of projects promoting south south cooperation

Capacity development

Teacher education

Girls’ and women’s education

Technical and vocational education and training

ICT in education

Good practices

International and regional fora

Networks and knowledge exchange

Prizes