Background: South-South cooperation

The story of South-South cooperation began in 1974 when a broad framework for collaboration among countries of the South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains was formally recognized by the United Nations (UN).

The UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) promotes, coordinates and supports South-South and triangular cooperation by:

Key documents

  • Buenos Aires Plan of Action PDF, Buenos Aires Plan of Action
  • Nairobi Conference Outcome Document PDF, Nairobi Conference Outcome Document
  • Study on Management Practices in South-South CooperationPDF, Study on Management Practices in South-South Cooperation
  • UNOSSC Strategic framework for 2014-2017 PDF, Study on Management Practices in South-South Cooperation

[South-South cooperation is a] vital force for initiating, designing, organizing and promoting co-operation among developing countries so that they can create, acquire, adapt, transfer and pool knowledge and experience for their mutual benefit and for achieving national and collective self-reliance, which are essential for their social and economic development

Buenos Aires Plan of Action (paragraph five)


WIPO works closely with the UNOSSC to strengthen South-South cooperation in the field of intellectual property and development by coordinating and following up on UN system-wide South-South cooperation initiatives. With this objective in mind WIPO actively participates in South-South cooperation conferences and other events organized by the UNOSSC.

(Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

Global South-South Development Expo

Organized annually since its inception in 2008 the Global South-South Development (GSSD) Expo was developed with the objective to be the first ever expo solely from the South and for the South. Each year, with the support of the UN system and other partner organizations, the GSSD Expo provides an opportunity for developing countries to showcase and exchange successful, innovative and replicable solutions to development challenges in the South. WIPO participated in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions. In 2014, WIPO led a Scaling Up Session on "Accelerating Green Technology Transfer for Sustainable Development" in which the WIPO GREEN marketplace and network for the promotion and diffusion of innovative green technologies and solutions was introduced and in which WIPO GREEN partners showcased concrete projects and discussed the role of intellectual property in the successful diffusion of green technology.

(Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation

The High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, is the main policy making body on South-South cooperation in the UN system. WIPO participated in the 17th session, held in New York from May 22 to 25, 2012. The session reviewed the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action PDF, Buenos Aires Plan of Action, and provided an opportunity for delegations to share their achievements and introduce new South-South cooperation and triangular initiatives.

The 18th session of the High-level Committee took place in New York from May 19 to 22, 2014, and focused on the theme of "The Contribution of South-South and Triangular Cooperation to the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda". Intellectual property issues were touched upon in the context of the importance of technology transfer, knowledge sharing, access and benefit sharing, and the role of science, innovation and technology in sustainable development. Full report of the 18th session of the High-level Committee PDF, Study on Management Practices in South-South Cooperation.