FIDC policy brief #1

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Publication Date: 
01 January 2014
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Features of South-South Cooperation and Global Dynamics

The sharp economic growth across Southern economies and subsequent deepening in their cooperation has evoked a growing interest in understanding the nature of South-South cooperation (SSC). The idea of SSC is not itself new but has come increasingly under the spotlight. There are several factors which are contributing to this; one is the result of a gradual decline in North- South flows. Given the notable improvements in the fundamentals of the Southern mega-economies, the sharp rise in the quantum and scope of flow of their funding towards SSC has attracted large attention in the global development cooperation arena.

Accordingly, the responses to this phenomenon from the North, emerging at different points, are not very different from each other. In most of the writings, intentions and purpose of SSC were questioned. The emerging strength of the South was perceived as a threat in the OECD world. It was seen as nontransparent ‘rogue aid’ programme with intention to support non-democratic governments all across and some of the studies also came up with the conclusion that the development assistance programmes from the Southern actors are essentially pursued to achieve the foreign policy objectives only. There are writings where concerns have been expressed over the rising threat from ‘rouge’ aid allocation which is not guided by the priorities of the recipient countries but is
driven by the national interest of the provider. This shows that there is some confusion on the features and character of SSC. We try to address the same in this policy brief. Attempt is also being made to draw out the features that distinguish South-South cooperation from the North-South cooperation.

Key Features of South-South Cooperation

There are certain values or features around which the SSC has emerged over the years. It may not be easy to call them as ‘principles’. However, based on literature and case studies we attempt to capture some of them. It is quite apparent that the key values of the SSC are respect for national sovereignty, national ownership and independence, equality, non-conditionality, non-interference in domestic affairs and mutual benefit. Many times North-South flows are often compared with the SSC but in no way this may be viewed as a substitute for N-S flows. At best, the SSC may be viewed as a complement to the North-South cooperation (NSC) as the SSC is not an official development assistance (see Table). The SSC is a partnership among equals based on solidarity. Some of its key features are discussed in the attached document.