Triangular co-operation supports the goals, objectives, and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda. According to data collected by the OECD and the Iberoamerican General Secretariat (SEGIB), triangular co-operation is on the rise globally with an increase in the number of triangular co-operation projects and budgets allocated to this modality. In the past, triangular co-operation only involved three development actors: a traditional provider, an emerging economy, and a beneficiary partner. In the current development landscape, triangular co-operation is expanding its scope to include multi-stakeholder relationships between governments, international organisations, civil society, and the private sector. It provides comparative advantages by complementing North-South and South-South co-operation. All partners transfer knowledge and expertise which encourage innovation and co-creation leading to shared collateral benefits. Triangular co-operation is a modality of its own that requires at least three roles being represented; with each potentially having more than one actor:
- The facilitator helps to connect countries and organisations to form a triangular partnership and gives financial and/or technical support to the collaboration.
- The pivotal partner often has proven experience and shares its resources, knowledge and expertise through triangular co-operation. It can sometimes provide a bridge between South-South and North-South.
- The beneficiary partner seeks support to tackle a specific development challenge in line with its national development priorities and needs. It is responsible for ensuring that results are sustainable.
Partners can take on various aspects of all roles throughout the lifetime of the collaboration. Triangular co-operation allows for flexible financing and working arrangements.
Mexico and Canada, with the support of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), launched a Global Partnership Initiative on Effective Triangular Co-operation at the Second High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) in Nairobi in December 2016. The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and Japan subsequently joined the core group, still in 2016. In the following years, the Ibero-American Programme for the Strengthening of South-South Co-operation (PIFCSS), the United Nations Office for South-South Co-operation (UNOSSC), Chile, the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and Norway have also joined the core group, and more than 50 additional countries, international organisations, civil society organisations, representatives from the private sector, and research institutions became GPI members.
The Second High-Level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) in Buenos Aires (March 2019) was a milestone for triangular co-operation and the GPI. For the first time, a UN official document recognised the efforts and the importance of the initiative, and GPI received a mandate to implement the BAPA+40 Outcome Document.
The GPI objective is to bring together development stakeholders to promote and ensure that triangular co-operation projects and initiatives are effective, country-led and involve inclusive partnerships for sustainable development. The initiative has two aims:
At the policy level: To mainstream triangular co-operation in development co-operation systems globally and to promote the Voluntary Guidelines for Effective Triangular Co-operation for governments, international organisations, civil society and the private sector to agree to and use in their triangular co-operation programming.
At the operational level: To compile and, on-demand, develop better tools to ensure effectiveness in the implementation of triangular co-operation.
GPI governance is structured as follows:
The GPI members include governments, international organisations, civil society organisations, and private sector representatives, among others. GPI members will engage in substantial discussion of the drafts prepared by the three workstreams, both remotely and in face-to-face meetings. The GPI members are expected to provide data, offer their inputs to the text, and contribute sharing their own experiences.
The GPI core group members, as of October 2020, are African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), Canada, Chile, Ibero-American Program for the Strengthening of South-South Co-operation (PIFCSS), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Japan, Mexico, Norway, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).
The Focal Point supports the GPI core group and work streams in achieving the GPI objective, further developing its activities, implementing the Action Plan 2.030 and the BAPA+40 Outcome Document.
The GPI workstreams are co-chaired by one core group member and one GPI member. They meet regularly to implement the GPI Action Plan 2.030 and report to the core group, ensuring the synergies and coordination among them.
- The advocacy workstream will promote the work of the GPI, specifically the Voluntary Guidelines for Effective Triangular Co-operation and the GPI understanding of triangular co-operation that better reflects the contemporary landscape of development and the multi-stakeholder nature of this modality.
- The analytical workstream will collect and analyse cases and identify different models of triangular co-operation to extract lessons. This work will help to clarify the value-added of triangular co-operation, the comparative advantages of various partners involved and challenges encountered when implementing projects. It might also be useful to pick out specific projects that contribute to tackling global challenges and achieving the SDGs.
- The operational workstream will compile existing operational guidelines and create a space to share lessons in a consistent and consolidated manner. These efforts might lead to the development of a toolkit that can guide for implementing effective triangular co-operation projects. The operational workstream will promote the GPI Marketplace, and also pick up on some of the challenges identified by the analytical workstream and will provide support to practitioners when designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating triangular co-operation projects.
Method of Work
The GPI core group and GPI members will meet regularly, virtually and on the margins of other relevant international gatherings. The regularity of meetings:
- GPI core group members meet virtually once a month and have a strategic retreat
- GPI workstreams meet regularly once a month.
- GPI Members’ Meeting takes place annually.
- Review of relevant documents
- Discussion platform (GPI online community in Microsoft Teams)
- Formation of discussion groups
- Drafting exercise
- Regular meetings on the margins of relevant international gatherings
- Regularly revise and update the GPI Action Plan 2.030 and the Plan of work of the three workstreams.
- Members of the GPI contribute human resources according to their capacities
- Voluntary contributions (monetary or in-kind contribution – expert knowledge, human and financial resources)
Potential Back-to-Back Meetings Calendar
A calendar of technical visits and workshops will be programmed at the margins of international meetings and fora that could provide strategic opportunities for gathering key stakeholders in Triangular Co-operation.
GPI Action Plan 2.030
The GPI core group, focal point, and the three workstreams will work to implement objectives set out in the GPI Action Plan 2.030, which foresee the work of the GPI for the following three years.
The core group, with the support of the focal point and workstreams, will annually revise, adapt, during the Core Group annual retreat.
GPI Focal Point: Geovana Zoccal
African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD)
Hamady Diop and Bob Kalanzi
Chilean International Co-operation Agency for Development (AGCID)
Juan Fierro and Marco Ibarra
Global Affairs Canada
Ibero-American Programme for the Strengthening of South-South Co-operation (PIFCSS)
Islamic Development Bank
Japan International Cooperation Agency
Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID)
Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (Norec)
OECD’s Development Cooperation Directorate (OECD/DCD)
We bring development stakeholders together to ensure that triangular co-operation initiatives are effective, country-led and involve inclusive partnerships for sustainable development.