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The OAS and South-South and Triangular Cooperation: “An Integral Part of our Daily Work”

  November 17, 2014

The hemispheric institution will host from November 17 to 21 the Global South-South Development Expo, with the participation of more than 20 agencies and partners of the United Nations.

From the very essence of its foundation, development and cooperation between peoples have been at the heart of the mission of the Organization of American States (OAS). The OAS Charter, signed in 1949, states in Article 2 that among the nature and purposes of the institution is “To promote, by cooperative action” the “economic, social, and cultural development” of its member states. That cooperative action is demonstrated in the cross-cutting nature of the four pillars of the OAS to promote democracy, human rights, development and security.

That task has been accomplished over the years through multiple programs. Under the premise of promoting a "partnership," the Organization has complemented and supported the efforts of individual countries to meet their own needs and development priorities. This approach includes the participation of all member states, because all countries - and especially in a region as diverse and heterogeneous as the Western Hemisphere - have valuable experiences to share, and can learn from others to help reduce poverty and provide equal opportunities.

Thanks to the progress made by various countries in the Americas, especially in the last two decades, South-South and triangular cooperation have gained great importance in recent years. Many OAS member states have become world leaders in promoting these forms of cooperation, a trend followed by the OAS.

"For the OAS, South-South and triangular cooperation are not just aspirational concepts, but form an integral part of our daily work," said the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, in his welcome message to participants in the event. "The exchange of knowledge, experiences and best practices among our member countries is at the center of our work," said the head of the hemispheric Organization.

For Secretary General Insulza, "the increasing development of programs for South-South and triangular cooperation within the OAS is a precise response to the changes in the needs and methods of international cooperation, with the goal of achieving more effective and sustainable cooperation over time. The role of the OAS is to enable countries to share their experiences and to transfer their knowledge and lessons learned to other neighboring countries." The increasingly important role of this type of international cooperation in the region, he added, "confirms that many of our countries have already acquired skills and have policies and lessons that they can share."

Both South-South cooperation – referring to the process of sharing of knowledge, resources, and technology among developing countries – and triangular cooperation - collaboration between two or more developing countries with financial support from a donor in the North, international organization or other partner in development-are represented today in many programs of the OAS, whether through the mutual evaluation mechanisms of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and the Follow-Up Mechanism for its Implementation (MESICIC); the training and exchange of experiences in designing strategies for cybersecurity of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE); or the exchange and cooperation in the development of a comprehensive, balanced, and multidisciplinary approach to the struggle against the world drug problem of the Inter-American Commission against Drug Abuse (CICAD).

In recent years, some of the more concrete examples of this type of cooperation can be seen in the areas of electoral cooperation, civil identity, multidimensional security, human rights of women, and integral development.

Some Examples

Political Affairs

In the area of electoral cooperation, the Department for Electoral Cooperation and Observation (DECO) of the OAS promoted the signing of an agreement on October 18, 2012 between the Superior Tribunal of Electoral Justice of Paraguay (TSJE) and the Central Electoral Board of the Dominican Republic for the provision of technical cooperation on electoral matters, to implement a digital system for the transmission of preliminary election results. In April 2013, supported by a Task Force of the Dominican Republic to Paraguay, the transmission system for preliminary results allowed for the early dissemination of results in the general election, contributing to the calm of Paraguayan citizens.

In its efforts to secure the right to a civilian identity, the OAS has promoted South-South cooperation through the Central American Initiative. This initiative promotes the coordination and implementation of cooperative actions and good practices between institutions of civil registration of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica. Under an agreement signed between the four countries, the Technical Coordination Committee, which brings together officials from the institutions every three months to establish strategies and plans of action to eradicate under-reporting was created.

Multidimensional Security

The Secretariat for Multidimensional Security of the OAS supports the member states of the Americas to confront the challenges involved in the development and progress of our region. It concentrates its main efforts on laws; compliance; the prevention of criminal activity and drug use; assistance to victims; the rehabilitation of offenders and the general peace of the Hemisphere. This is the main reference framework for the development of South-South cooperation and strengthening of institutions in the Americas.

The examples of South-South cooperation programs of the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security include those of the Anti-Money Laundering Section, which uses the constant South-South exchange of best practices, knowledge and experiences for the administration of seized and confiscated goods and training of financial intelligence units. The Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) used by the Inter-American Commission for Drug Abuse Control (CICAD) that makes periodic assessment recommendations to member states for the purposes of improving their ability to control drug trafficking and abuse and strengthening multilateral cooperation.

In combating cyber crime, the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) has created a hemispheric network of experts working in the areas of response to cyber incidents through which information related to threats and incidents in their countries is exchanged. For example, officials from Trinidad and Tobago have shared their experiences in adopting national cyber security strategies with other Caribbean countries.

Integral Development

The Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI) of the OAS has extensive experience in promoting South-South and triangular cooperation and as a center for knowledge exchange among member states. In 2013 the Section for Technical Cooperation was established to position SEDI to effectively build and optimize partnerships and networks, promote development assistance and provide more specific technical cooperation initiatives. This includes promoting a partnership model that provides community-based cooperation, which is delivered locally to meet the specific needs of citizens.

Among the initiatives of SEDI are the Inter-American Teacher Education Network (RIED), the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC) the Inter-American Social Protection Network (RISP), the Inter-American Network for Labor Administration (RIAL), the Network of Regional Knowledge on Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (EducaSTEM), the Educational Portal of the Americas (EDUCOAS) and the Virtual Educa initiative.

Human Rights of Women

The Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) of the OAS is implementing a project with the support of the governments of Chile, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname to produce an updated evaluation of the national strategies of Eastern Caribbean countries to produce comparable data on violence against women. The project will provide a base line of statistics on the countries in question, from which surveys can be developed, with the ultimate goal of designing programs more appropriate to the specific needs of each country.

Also, through the International Conference "Human rights of women: good practices in gender justice," CIM connected the judiciary of Argentina with those of El Salvador and Haiti for the repetition of its experience in training at the various levels of the judiciary in matters of the human rights of women and gender equality.

Global South-South Development Expo 2014

The Global South- South Development Expo will bring together more than 20 United Nations agencies and partners, development agencies, representatives from the private sector and civil society to promote development projects.

Exhibition participants will discuss topics such as "South-South Cooperation in Poverty Eradication - Responding to Ebola as a Development Crisis;” "Accelerating the Impact of South-South and Triangular Cooperation on Food Security Post-2015;” "Global Partnerships for Infrastructure Development;” "Accelerating Green Technology Transfer for Sustainable Development;” "South-South and Triangular Cooperation and Decent Work Post-2015;” "South-South and Triangular Partnerships for Sustainable Industrial Development;” "Green Economies are Sustainable Economies;” and "Global Health." Also, the event will include lectures led by various agencies, and a final forum that will feature the participation of Ministers, municipal leaders, CEOs, and investors. The full agenda of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: S-015/14