South-south and triangular cooperation - ADB

South-south and triangular cooperation - ADB

Information dated: 2017
South-South Cooperation Initiatives

South-South cooperation initiatives are part of the partnerships and regional cooperation TCB-related services. Regional cooperation, which is how ADB terms South-South cooperation, is a strategic agenda as well as a core area of the Bank’s operations. South-South cooperation and partnerships thrive because they provide opportunities for developing countries to jointly find solutions to common problems.

ADB has found that project-based cooperation among neighboring developing countries results in more market opportunities, access to information for landlocked countries and remote areas, and increased interaction among people and communities. To illustrate, ADB’s subregional programs provide strong support for trade facilitation initiatives. South-South cooperation and peer-to-peer learning among developing countries are emerging as relevant, effective and efficient, with good chances of sustainability. As such, South- South cooperation should be seen as complementary to North-South cooperation, rather than a “competitor” or “substitute” model.

The Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF)

The Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF) has been jointly organized by ADB and UNESCAP together with a local partner in the past six years to promote trade facilitation as an important component in national and regional development strategies. Countries benefit from participating in the APTFF platform by sharing experiences with one another and with other regions on trade facilitation initiatives and learning about the latest trends and tools to improve efficiency in this area. The APTFF was held annually until 2015. It is now agreed between ADB and UNESCAP that the Forum will be organized every two years. The next event is scheduled for 2017.

The SASEC Information Highway project

The SASEC Information Highway project supported by ADB provides, among other things, broadband access to 110 rural communities in four countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal) and directly connects communities for local networking and information sourcing and trade facilitation. The project will enhance the availability of affordable broadband Internet connections, skilled manpower, and local content and Internet applications by establishing the SASEC Regional Network, SASEC Village Network, and SASEC Research and Training Network.

A project to identify and promote regional supply chains

A project to identify and promote regional supply chains, with funding of US$ 400,000 from the Commonwealth Secretariat and ADB was completed in 2012 for South Asia. Studies conducted identified potential supply chains in the region in two sectors, namely, the agro-processing industry and the leather industry. At the regional industry consultation organized by The Economic Cooperation and Integration of Developing Countries (ECIDC) unit of UNCTAD in Chennai, India, the first-ever regional industry association -- the Leather Industry Association of South Asia (LIASA) -- was established to pursue regional supply chain and other collaboration.

Communities of Practice (COP) models such as the Capacity Development for Development Effectiveness initiative

Communities of Practice (COP) models such as the Capacity Development for Development Effectiveness initiative and the COPs for Managing for Development Results in Asia and Africa are excellent examples of South-South cooperation. Countries in both regions have supported each other through various initiatives as a part of these gatherings.


Junkyu LEE

Principal Economist (Regional Cooperation)

Regional Cooperation and Integration Division (ERCI)

Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department
Asian Development Bank

Tel: +632 632 6494; Fax: +632 636 2183

E-mail: jklee [at] adb.org

ADB and IDB joint South-South cooperation initiative

The ADB and IDB launched in 2012 a joint South-South cooperation initiative to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and best practices between their respective regions. Areas of cooperation to date include high-level economic policy forum, Asia-Latin America customs collaboration, inclusive connectivity for development, conditional cash transfers, inclusive business, sustainable cities, and improving development outcomes.


The two regional development banks have decided to undertake this joint initiative to expand their catalyzing role in the exchange of knowledge and best practices between the countries and subregions of Latin America and the Carribean and those of developing Asia. This South-South cooperation will be undertaken through joint capacity-building initiatives and training programs, interregional policy dialogue, expert forums and communities of practice, sharing of best practices, and professional and operational exchanges between countries of the two regions. This partnership will seek to add value to the strategic operations of both banks in the context of their respective general capital increases with a particular emphasis on project identification and design, further catalyzing the transmission of knowledge to client countries.

The ADB also funded a technical assistance project that seeks to enhance research alliance and South-South development policy cooperation between Asia and the Pacific and Latin America. To harness the benefits of the TA for both regions, the TA will explore ways to promote and share relevant information and exchange data on international trade and investment agreements via an exchange platform such as the RTA Exchange—a virtual portal coordinated by IADB where users can access data, news, and analysis—and connect and share information related to RTAs. A database on BITs and FTA investments chapters will also be developed.