South-South Cooperation

The UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) uses a series of innovative economic tools, knowledge products, and institutional capacity-building approaches to achieve its goal - to mainstream poverty-environment linkages into national, sub-national, and sectoral development planning, from policymaking to budgeting, implementation and monitoring.

One of these approaches is South-South Cooperation (SSC), a broad framework for enhancing collaboration among countries of the South and building institutional capacity on poverty-environment issues. SSC is planned and programmed based on country demand and is supported by PEI. These country exchanges aim to improve the sharing of lessons learned from mainstreaming poverty-environment in national policy-making and budgeting processes, and contribute to capacity development of government partners. PEI’s specific role in this process is as:

  • knowledge broker, to help identify, share and adapt scalable Southern solutions that are tested, cost-effective, and sustainable;
  • capacity builder, to support developing countries to better undertake and engage in South-South cooperation, in partnership with governments, civil society organizations, and private sector;
  • facilitator, to help initiate collaborations and scale up innovative ideas.

Selected achievements and highlights

Nepal-Bangladesh: At the 2013 Global South-South Development Expo, the 2013 Annual Leadership Award for South-South Cooperation was awarded to the Government of Nepal’s National Planning Commission and Ministry of Local Development, for its exemplary and innovative work on the Climate Public Expenditure and Institutional Review (CPEIR) supported by PEI. The pioneering work on CPEIRs in Nepal and also in Bangladesh has already been replicated in an additional five countries in the Asia-Pacific region (Cambodia, Indonesia, Samoa, Thailand and Viet Nam) with support from other donors.  In Nepal and Bangladesh the recommendations of the CPEIRs have triggered the development of climate change budget codes to track spending on a more continuous basis across all sectors; Bangladesh is also taking further steps to implement sophisticated National and Local Climate Fiscal Frameworks to increase transparency and accountability of climate change related expenditures. Read more.

Rwanda-Lao PDR-Nepal-Thailand: On the basis of Rwanda’s growing emphasis on private sector development as an engine of sustainable economic development, PEI in 2011 supported a cross-regional exchange where Rwandan officials visited three PEI countries in Asia (Lao PDR, Nepal and Thailand) to learn from their experiences of P-E mainstreaming, while also presenting their own achievements.

The South-South exchange between Rwanda and the three PEI Asia countries introduced Rwanda to the positioning of PEI Asia within planning and investment departments as a key entry point to subnational planning for poverty-environment outcomes. The Lao PDR case was of particular interest to Rwanda, given its growing emphasis on private sector development as an engine of sustainable economic development. Government officials and national PEI teams exchanged expertise on local development planning, sustainably managing private and public investments, and greening budgeting processes. In particular, Lao PDR’s draft National Investment Strategy—developed with PEI support— was discussed.

Rwanda shared its experiences on how Public Environmental Expenditure Reviews, environmental fiscal reform, valuation of integrated ecosystem services and poverty-environment indicators have made a case for the creation of a sustainable financing mechanism for environmental sustainability and climate resilience- FONERWA, its National Climate and Environment Fund.

Burkina Faso-Mauritius-Senegal: PEI has supported exchange visits for government officials from Burkina Faso to Mauritius (2011) and to Senegal (2012). The visit to Mauritius was supported to learn from their experience on programme based budgeting within the environment and natural resource sector. Further, as the private sector is playing an increasing role in Burkina Faso, representatives from the ministries of environment, mining, economy and finance, agriculture, and commerce participated in an exchange visit to Senegal in 2012 to learn about private sector support to sustainable development through corporate social responsibility.

Following the visit to Mauritius, Burkina Faso developed and adopted a national investment programme on natural resources and sustainable development in 2012 and a more comprehensive budget programme to improve its planning and budget cycle, including the introduction of a budget code for environment. Mauritius has in turn learned from the positive PEI experience in Burkina Faso, and is now looking to formulate a PEI programme using the One UN programme framework.  Inspired by the exchange visit to Senegal, Burkina Faso has started developing a CSR Environment Fund in which companies can contribute with resources earmarked for sustainable environment and natural resource activities.