In 1974, the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 3251 (XXIX), endorsed "the establishment of a special unit within the United Nations Development Programme to promote technical co-operation among developing countries". With the endorsement of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries by the General Assembly in 1978 (resolution 33/134), the Special Unit was strengthened in order to fulfil its primary mandate, set forth in BAPA: to promote, coordinate and support South-South and triangular cooperation globally and within the United Nations system.
The UN Office for South-South Cooperation:
- mainstreams South-South cooperation across the UN system and throughout the international development community by leveraging its global reach as well as its policy and institutional capacities to assist UN agencies and developing countries in strengthening their South-South cooperation capacities. It works to support countries’ efforts to manage, design and implement South-South cooperation policies and initiatives through the identification, sharing and transfer of successful Southern-generated development solutions. It also advocates for support to South-South initiatives, including through its organization of the UN Day for South-South cooperation;
- engages a wide range of partners, including Member States, UN entities, multilateral bodies and private-sector and civil society organizations in order to provide the most efficient, effective and comprehensive support for South-South cooperation;
- innovates by continually seeking, showcasing and transferring forward-thinking Southern development solutions to development partners to meet the critical development challenges of today;
- enables countries of the South – emerging, middle income and least developed – to work together to use their wealth of resources, tangible and intangible, in support of national, regional and global development efforts;
- serves as the secretariat to the High-level Committee (HLC) on South-South Cooperation, a subsidiary body of the General Assembly, which provides policy directives and guidance and reviews worldwide progress in South-South cooperation. In this context, it monitors trends in South South cooperation among UN agencies as well as globally, preparing reports for various intergovernmental bodies, including the report of the Secretary-General on the state of South-South cooperation; and
- manages the UN Fund for South-South Cooperation and the Pérez-Guerrero Trust Fund for Economic and Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries.