South-South cooperation efforts within “Spaces for engagement” program

By Leandro Echt, Coordinator of the Influence, Monitoring and Evaluation Program at CIPPEC

Every two years, the Colombian Confederation of NGOs (CCONG) holds the National Conference of NGOs in partnership with regional NGO Federations. This year, CCONG and the Caldas’ Federation of NGOs brought the “V National Meeting of Colombian NGOs: social innovation for development, an analysis from the NGO” to Manizales, Colombia.

Encuentro-Nacional-de-ONG-2012-090-e1380738795998The meeting aimed at creating a space for dialogue and reflection among leaders and representatives of social organizations, as well as other stakeholders in Colombia. The dialogue was targeted at the importance of having an innovative social sector to contribute to the peace process, governance and territorial development.

Established throughout the meeting, a South-South Cooperation Forum aimed at knowing the trends of South-South cooperation in Colombia, sharing experiences of South-South cooperation between NGOs and other stakeholders, analyzing South- South cooperation as a modality to be strengthened among NGOs, and identifying realities, challenges and opportunities for cooperation among NGOs.
CIPPEC was invited to participate in this Forum and share its experience within the program “Spaces for engagement: using knowledge to improve public decisions (SFE)”. A joint initiative between GDNet and CIPPEC, SFE encompass­es six years of intensive work (2008-2013) that aimed at creating diverse spaces of engagement with the participation of researchers from policy research institutions (PRIs) that conduct or use investigations to influence policy, policymakers, and/or decision making processes. For that purpose, it sought to work with a Community of Practice (CoP) gathering selected researchers from think tanks and research institutes, as well as policymakers who are strongly committed to improving the use of development research in policymaking in Latin America. The program also seeks to promote South-South cooperation on linking research and policy between Latin America, Asia and Africa.

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Shattered global wisdom

Today is UN Day for South-South Cooperation

Did you know that as of 22 December 2011, the General Assembly decided to declare 12 September- instead of December 19th– the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation?  The General Assembly decision 66/550 endorsed the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries . (United Nations website)

Time 4 Learning-K Samsonu New

We take so much for granted . .

I am very happy to seize this opportunity to raise awareness and provoke curiosity of international community about the value of ‘Connecting the South’. South-South collaboration is a very important ingredient  to international development. Southern research provides a resourceful pool of research that is considered a viable source of innovative ideas to current global challenges and uneven lumpiness in development.

In days where we see a deadly food crisis where hunger and drought spread across Africa; a daily human Massacre in Syria for the past two and half years where reactions to both parties cannot be more polarized (almost 110,000 people were killed mainly civilians including women and children and over 2,000,000 Syrian displaced- Business Insider); and instances where governments are willing to invest monies to go into war against other countries. How can this reality become a sustainable path to equal development opportunities for all?

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The Future of Aid

As 2010 comes to an end, the effectiveness of the fundamental mechanisms of the current foreign aid system has become a much discussed and ever more pertinent issue. Robert Riddle in his 2007 book Does Aid Really Work? highlights the traditional principle that underpins all foreign aid as:

Those who can should help those who are in extreme need…What could be simpler?

However, as Riddle elaborates, the realities of foreign aid are far from simple. Indeed, the current global financial crises, climate change challenges, natural disasters and political volatility are all contributing factors in an increasingly complex international concern.

These issues have resulted in an extensive diversity in both the attitude and approach to aid.  Some, such as William Easterly and Dambisa Moyo, argue that foreign aid has stunted the growth of countries in Africa and instead created a circle of aid dependency, corruption and further poverty.

Other aid practitioners believe that aid can be successful, but only if delivered correctly.

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South-South and North-South Cooperation: The New Dynamics of the Global Economy

One of the first parallel sessions of the conference attracted 20 participants to hear three speakers presenting an ongoing joint research project between UN-CRIS and UN-WIDER. The session, entitled ‘South-South Integration in a North-South Context’ explored the development impacts of South-South trade agreements compared to the alternative, and often more favoured North-South Integration.

South-South trade agreements continue to grow in popularity despite the argument that they do not provide the same socio-economic benefits as North-South agreements (of 61 Regional Arrangements studied by the project, 40 are south-south). In reality, there is little evidence to support this view. Read more of this post