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South-South Cooperation for Sustainable Development (Conceptual Theme)

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› Benin, Bhutan, Costa Rica

The PSSC partner countries actively participated in the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD, 2002, Johannesburg), and formalised the Strategic Partnership Agreement for promoting sustainable development on South-South basis.

The Strategic Partnership Agreement is registered under the UN global partnership as “Type II Partnership”, of which the implementation progress is monitore from time to time by the UN. As soon as the PSSC Fund is operationalised, the status of the partnership is updated.

Representatives of Bhutan, Benin and Costa Rica met and discussed common interests, at the conference on Climate Change in Montreal, Canada, December 2005; an indicator that the Strategic Partnership Agreement is a living matter.

The National Mechanisms contributed to the preparation/revision of the Beninese, Bhutanese and Costa Rican National Strategies for Sustainable Development (submitted to the WSSD), and contributed -amongst many other actors- to mainstreaming sustainable development concepts in national planning processes. In co-ordination with other national organisations, the National Mechanisms participate in the process of reviewing the progress of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPoI).

South-South cooperation has a great potential for complementing North-South cooperation and providing an alternative for the traditional donor-recipient dialogue. The global sustainable development debate has been dominated for a long period by donor countries. However, the rise of emerging economies currently challenges conventional international relations. Nations such as China, India and Brazil demand a voice in international forums.

However, the global debate on sustainable development is not only a matter of economic power, but should rather optimise vision, experience and knowledge on the subject. Smaller countries such as Bhutan (Asia), Benin (Africa) and Costa Rica (Latin America), each with a particular history, different cultures and religions, can make a valuable contribution to the global debate by presenting innovative approaches and common views, thus challenging dominant development paths.

Since 1994, Bhutan, Benin and Costa Rica have co-operated in the field of sustainable development. The three countries share trust and understanding thereby making it possible to enrich and contribute to each other’s development. The modalities are in place to facilitate the exchange and cooperation among actors from the government, civil society and the private sector. These fundaments, to be further developed during the PSSC, could evolve in an asset that could be used to explore the potential of the South-South cooperation concept between societal sectors, free from donor domination or geopolitical interests.

› Immediate PSSC Objective 6

Explore the potential of the South-South partnership between Benin, Bhutan and Costa Rica: as concept for fruitful national and international alliances between civil society actors, private sector, research institutions and government institutions; as vehicle for greater international commitments and co-operation between governments of the partner countries; and as autonomous channel for North-South-South development cooperation and funding.

› Expected results

  • Joint plan / programme of the National Mechanisms strengthened.
  • Numerous reciprocal projects identified, implemented or in process of implementation.
  • Documentation and disclosure of valuable experiences.
  • Joint participation and positioning at international conferences and meetings on sustainable development issues.
  • Administrative structure and PSSC Secretariat in process of consolidation; perspectives for sustainability.
  • New collaborators and eventually partner countries join the partnership.