Panama - May 8 to 10, 2012
During the session “South-South Cooperation to advance the Social and Sustainable Development Agenda” experts analyzed the best way to approach South-South Cooperation (SSC) in order for it to help advance in the regional development. More specifically four essential elements that should be taken into consideration were identified:
1. Social inclusion and, thereby, the reduction of inequalities are the central challenge in Latin America and the Caribbean. The conditions of inequality in the region have led many of the proposed SSC proposals to focus on the principle of improving conditions for the integration and participation of various sectors of the population. These experiences also demonstrate the need for political inclusion of the most vulnerable populations, leading to the second essential element.
2. The development of collective and individual opportunities and capacities in conditions that take into consideration demographic diversity and the political or administrative decentralization processes necessary to attend to specific needs of the local area.
3. The sustainability of the experiences of SSC, understood in terms of political will, continuity, the allocation of public resources for financing and formulating legal and regulatory frameworks. This sustainability is also understood as the incidence in formulating state policies and the creation of alliances between institutions and social actors.
4. Finally, social learning, which involves strengthening the mechanisms and tools of SSC, the institutionalization of the procedures that makes it possible, the continuity, the creation and systematization of the knowledge acquired to facilitate access to the accumulated experience in the region.
Likewise, the thematic round tables discussions of the session " South-South Cooperation to advance the Social and Sustainable Development Agenda”, identified, among many others, the following priorities to advance in a regional development agenda through SSC initiatives:
• The creation of a regional bank of knowledge powered by the countries of the region to guide the formulation of public policies,
• The use of public participation as a mechanism for the sustainability of the SSC initiatives,
• Orienting the investment in education and technology towards the increase of productivity.
In the presentations and dialogue sessions, prominent issues also emerged among which are the following:
• Challenges of the academia in research: (i) the potential of academia as a strategic partner to inform decision making in public policies through applied research in partnership with the professionals and experts in the topic, (ii) the need for greater public investment in research and development.
• The experience of the Ceibal Plan shows us, conclusively, the importance of political will as a determining factor in the success and sustainability of a SSC experience. Additionally, this experience illustrated the importance of acting in an integral manner and orienting that action towards the promotion of social inclusion, which is in line with the SSC approach discussed in thematic round tables.
• Finally in the session designed for the exchange of experiences, the value of having spaces for dialogue in our region such as those offered at this fair: Spaces to share experiences among national technical teams involved in SSC initiatives was made evident. The exchange session also showed that the countries of the region have had the vision and interest in creating new opportunities for the projection and transfer of their significant experiences to other countries and to broaden the spectrum of sectors and population groups that these experiences serve.
• Throughout the first day, the need to strengthen the capacities of entities responsible for managing cooperation policy became evident, particularly the capacity to systematize existing knowledge and experiences as well as to articulate supply and demand for SSC.
• The importance of building capacities to strengthen the M&E systems of the SSC initiatives and to generate effective mechanisms for the dissemination and transfer of knowledge, experiences and practices was highlighted.