South-South and Triangular Cooperation - UNIDO

South-South and Triangular Cooperation - UNIDO

Information dated: 2017
South-South and triangular industrial cooperation mechanisms

South-South and triangular industrial cooperation (SSTIC) is a form of cooperation for the promotion of UNIDO’s mandate in inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID). SSTIC aims to contribute to the achievement of ISID, as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9.

It involves multi-stakeholder partnerships, bringing together ministries of industry, private-sector organizations and influential southern institutions. Partners exchange knowledge and technology to help countries reap the benefits of industrialization. The role of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is to coordinate partners and facilitate exchanges between them.

SSTIC was originally included under point 18 of UNIDO’s Medium-Term Programme Framework, entitled “Promoting South-South Cooperation” in 2003 (GC.10/5). This sentiment was reiterated a decade later by UNIDO’s Member States at the 15th Session of UNIDO’s General Conference, when the importance of the engagement of emerging countries in South-South and triangular cooperation was recognized and highlighted (GC.15/INF/4).

In response to Member States’ repeated requests for heightened South-South engagement, UNIDO developed and approved its first Operational Strategy for South-South and Triangular Industrial Cooperation in 2016. The Operational Strategy envisions the operationalization of SSTIC in such a way as to facilitate the fulfillment of SDG 9, as well as ISID.

UNIDO has established and oversees the daily operations of the UNIDO Centre for South-South Industrial Cooperation in China (UCSSIC/China). UCSSIC/China aims to:

  • Provide a platform to encourage closer industrial cooperation among developing countries, so as to ensure that the less developed can benefit from the expertise and experience of the more developed among the developing countries.
  • Design practical and innovative projects to facilitate the transfer and diffusion of appropriate technologies, and the replication of best practices, and to promote training, skill development and capacity enhancement in entrepreneurship, trade and investment, either in established fields or in new ones, with social and economic development potential for developing countries in general and least developed countries (LDCs) in particular.
  • Act as a catalyst by leveraging various ongoing national-level and UNIDO projects and channelling them into coherent initiatives to enhance their effectiveness and to sharpen their SSTIC-related component(s).

Modes of development cooperation include, but are not limited to:

  • Awareness-raising and knowledge-sharing;
  • Replicating and upscaling “good practices”;
  • Technology transfer and diffusion;
  • Capacity-building;
  • Vocational training and skill development;
  • Entrepreneurship and investment promotion among small- and medium-sized enterprises;
  • Fostering sustainable industrial development via the establishment of Green Industrial Parks.


Plans are underway for the establishment of similar South-South centres in Iran and Uruguay.

Promoting ISID through Partnership Building for Trade and Investment Flows along the Maritime and Continental Silk Road (2015 – 2018)

This project serves as UNIDO’s contribution to achieving the objectives of a common project, entitled “Maritime-Continental Silk Road Cities’ Alliance: Unlocking trade, investment and cooperation at the local level”, which is being jointly implemented by five United Nations agencies, including UNDP, UNOSSC, UNIDO, UNESCO and UNWTO.

This project has two expected outcomes: (i) to facilitate the development of a vision and strategy for cooperation among policymakers of Maritime and Continental Silk Road (MCSR) countries, including the prioritization of industrial sectors and industrial infrastructure development projects; and (ii) to develop investment projects in MCSR countries with investors from multinational development banks, the private sector and other financial institutions, either jointly or individually.

At the conclusion of the project, it is expected that greater awareness of ISID will have been raised among countries located along the MCSR, green industrial growth patterns will have been promoted and Green Industrial Parks will have been established.

Building Partnerships for South-South and Triangular Industrial Cooperation between China and Other Developing Countries for Technological Upgrading (2016 – 2019)

The goal of the project is to advance ISID in developing nations via partnership building for technological upgrading within the broader framework of SSTIC. Specifically, the project is conducting outreach and promotional activities to improve private-sector awareness of available technologies and business opportunities, and to help transfer and apply the best international practices for realizing technological upgrading in as many developing nations as possible.

At present, China is intensifying technological cooperation with developing countries in order to address the challenges of climate change and to ensure sustainable development. During the inception phase of this particular project, the geographic focus will be on Africa, in particular UNIDO’s two Programme for Country Partnership pilot countries – Ethiopia and Senegal.

UNIDO’s annual “Belt and Road Inclusive and Sustainable City Exhibition and Dialogue”

UNIDO’s first annual “Belt and Road Inclusive and Sustainable City Exhibition and Dialogue” (Belt and Road) event was held at UNIDO Headquarters in Vienna, Austria from 17 to 21 October 2016. Twenty-seven event activities, including a high-level forum, exhibition, study tours, cultural performances and matchmaking activities, offered participants a comprehensive overview of the urban-industrial development challenges facing cities located along the Belt and Road. More than 450 participants took part in the various activities held during throughout the week, with approximately fifty cities from twenty-five countries represented.

In light of the success of the first Belt and Road event, the event will be held annually for a subsequent four years, with the possibility for extension. This year’s event will focus on sector-specific urban-development challenges, which will aid in the development of concrete project-based opportunities for business matchmaking, financing and investment.

Prior to the main event, sector-specific city assessments will be conducted in different cities to facilitate sector-specific regional assessments, the codification of case studies, and the identification of priority sectors and business opportunities. To this end, investment-opportunity portfolios, informed by the unique urban-development context of each city assessed, will also be developed to better facilitate partnerships between cities, private-sector enterprises and financial institutions.

The event itself will comprise an exhibition, at which selected cities and organizations can showcase their development achievements daily, city-to-city, city-to-business and business-to-business matchmaking activities, which will be conducted throughout the event, and a study your, as well as a high-level forum, mayoral dialogue and side sessions.


Weixi Gong

Senior Coordinator for South-South and Triangular Industrial Cooperation

Email: W.Gong [at] unido.org ()

Networks, platforms and partnerships with a focus on South-South cooperation

International Centre for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (IC-ISID)

The UNIDO International Centre for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (IC-ISID) is the result of the merger of two previously existing UNIDO centres in India – the International Centre for Advancement of Manufacturing Technology and the UNIDO Centre for South-South Industrial Cooperation in India. IC-ISID aims to increase industrial competitiveness through technology upgrading, innovation, the generation of decent jobs for men and women, and environmental sustainability initiatives by promoting the introduction of advanced manufacturing technologies, by identifying and transferring the best technology-led solutions from India to other developing countries, in particular the LDCs, within the framework of South-South cooperation, and by serving as a model for the promotion of targeted interventions in select industrial and manufacturing sectors.

Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Network (RECPnet)

The primary objective of the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Network (RECPnet) is to contribute to the effective and efficient development, application, adaptation, scaling up and mainstreaming of RECP concepts, methods, policies, practices and technologies in developing countries and economies in transition. Additionally, RECPnet aims to facilitate North-South, South-South and South-North-South collaboration, including the transfer of RECP-relevant knowledge, experiences and technologies. RECPnet follows a three-pronged strategy to promote RECP globally. It consists of (i) capturing and promoting best practices, information and knowledge, (ii) improving the knowledge and skill bases of members, and (iii) advocating for the relevance, needs and benefits of RECP for enterprises and other organizations. The network accomplishes these objectives by facilitating innovation and knowledge-sharing, institutional capacity-building, awareness-raising and advocacy, and quality assurance and branding.

Investment and Technology Promotion Offices (ITPOs)

The Investment and Technology Promotion Offices (ITPOs) guide potential investors, from both host countries and developing countries, at each stage of the investment cycle, from project identification through to appraisal and implementation. In doing so, ITPOs offer a full package of up-to-date information on screened and validated investment opportunities, including manufacturing facilities and technology supply sources. ITPOs also offer firsthand knowledge on how to conduct business in local environments, including legal and economic aspects. Within this programme, ITPOs host officials from developing countries and economies in transition to provide hands-on training in investment promotion techniques. Thereafter, delegates act as contact points between their countries and potential foreign partners.

International Solar Energy Centre for Technology Promotion and Transfer (ISEC)

The International Solar Energy Centre for Technology Promotion and Transfer (ISEC) aims to facilitate the promotion and transfer of solar and other renewable-energy technologies. ISEC also helps to strengthen energy-management structures, to improve energy conservation and reduce emissions, to mitigate climate change, and to protect the environment. The Centre promotes South-South cooperation for the sustainable economic and social development of developing countries. ISEC transfers mature, practical and advanced solar and other renewable-energy technologies and products to developing countries, conducts workshops on solar and renewable-energy technologies, organizes regional and international conferences and exhibitions, engages in solar-energy research, maintains a database on renewable energy products and technologies, and publishes an annual report on solar research and its application.

International Centre on Small Hydro Power (IC-SHP)

The International Centre on Small Hydro Power is uniquely positioned to facilitate South-South, triangular, technical and economic cooperation between developing countries, developed countries and international organizations. It aims to supply rural areas in developing countries with environmentally sound, affordable and adequate energy. Through provision of clean and reliable energy, the goal is to alleviate poverty, improve quality of life and promote ISID.

Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres

UNIDO coordinates the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres in cooperation with various regional economic communities and organizations. The Centres respond to the urgent need for increased regional cooperation and capacities to mitigate existing barriers to market access and investment in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency. They complement and strengthen ongoing national activities in the areas of policy and capacity development, knowledge management and awareness-raising, as well as investment and business promotion. The Network currently comprises various centres in Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and other regions and offers a convenient platform for the promotion of South-South cooperation in participating regions.

Subcontracting and Partnership Exchange (SPX)

UNIDO established the Subcontracting and Partnership Exchange programme with the objective of helping local enterprises meet the challenges of globalization and take advantage of emerging opportunities that arise from industrial subcontracting, outsourcing and supply-chain opportunities. This network originally offered an information portal for matchmaking suppliers and buyers and has proven effective in dealing with short-term buying contracts. In response to the changing dynamics of international business operations, however, UNIDO has now revised the SPX programme to improve SPX services for buyers and suppliers and to better complement the matchmaking function of the programme.

Industrial Knowledge Bank (IKB)

The Industrial Knowledge Bank is an innovative, tripartite cooperation mechanism forged between donor institutions, institutions in developing countries and UNIDO, which aims to exchange knowledge and expertise in the area of industrial development in countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The mechanism operates through the provision of free technical assistance and consultancy services, offered by countries in the region, in accordance with specific terms of reference, as agreed between the country requesting and the country offering technical assistance and UNIDO.