South-South cooperation has gained prominence in global development policies as a result of its inclusion in the Accra Agenda for Action, the September 2008 agreement which reinforces the aid effectiveness principles of the Paris Declaration. This opens up an important arena for boosting South-South cooperation as a mechanism for horizontal learning and for promoting the development of national capacities. However, strengthening South-South cooperation at the conceptual and operational levels still poses major challenges, as does improving the measurement of its configurations and impact.
Looking to the new task team on South-South Cooperation within the Working Group on Aid Effectiveness (WP-EFF), this document aims to analyse the opportunities and challenges of South-South cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean. As a region containing countries with numerous similarities in their political and institutional history and patterns of social and economic development, Latin America and the Caribbean present a privileged environment where a number of shared agendas are already evolving. However, the operationalisation of South-South cooperation within the framework of the Accra Agenda for Action and the Paris Declaration also faces a series of specific circumstances that future political decisions and analytical work need to address in concrete ways.
The ideas expressed in this document stem from the joint reflections of two researchers from the Colombian organisation Enlaza and the European think tank FRIDE, respectively. The analysis has benefited particularly from bilateral talks with Latin American and European experts over the past three months, on the one hand, and a workshop held on 6 March 2009 in Bogota, on the other. Both authors wish to express their deep gratitude to all interviewees for sharing their vision on South-South cooperation, a cooperative mechanism of increasing relevance to Latin America and the Caribbean.