Go to South-South and Triangular Cooperation


According to the UN System-Wide Strategy on South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) for Sustainable Development 2020-2024 (extended until 2025):

  • South-South cooperation (SSC) is a form of partnership whereby two or more developing countries pursue, through concerted efforts, their individual and/or shared national development priorities through exchanges of knowledge, skills, resources and technical know-how and through regional and interregional collective actions, including partnerships involving Governments, regional organizations, civil society, academia, the private sector and other relevant actors, for their individual and/ or mutual benefit within and across regions and taking into account the principles of South-South cooperation”.
  • Triangular cooperation (TrC) involves Southern-driven partnerships between two or more developing countries supported by a developed country(ies)/or multilateral organization(s). It is a modality that builds partnerships and trust, between all partners, and that combines, including in the context of multilateral development cooperation initiatives, diverse resources and capacities, under the ownership of the requesting developing country, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals; and that it provides added value by leveraging and mobilizing additional technical and financial resources, sharing a wider range of experiences, promoting new areas of cooperation, and combining affordable and context-based development solutions under flexible arrangements and agreed shared modalities”.



To engage in SSTC, it is important to consider the following SSTC Principles:

Normative principles:

a. Respect for national sovereignty and ownership;

b. Partnership among equals;

c. Non-conditionality;

d. Non-interference in domestic affairs; and

e. Mutual benefit.

Operational principles guiding UN support:

a) Mutual accountability and transparency;

b. Development effectiveness;

c. Coordination of evidence- and results-based initiatives;

d. Multi-stakeholder approach; and

e. Demand-driven nature of South-South and triangular cooperation.



The UNDP Strategic Plan 2021-2025 considers SSTC as ‘integral’ to how UNDP thinks and understands the future of development, as UNDP connects countries and applies their knowledge and experience to advance sustainable development, and as a ‘fundamental approach’ to development cooperation. This explains why all Regional Programme Documents (RPDs) and several Country Programme Documents (CPD) refer to SSTC. SSTC is in UNDP's DNA. Check the video-message from the UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDAlHIWF0M8