December 2018: A joint publication by the UNFCCC Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), lunched during the Katowice Climate Change Conference, presents good practices in climate technology cooperation to implement nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and national adaptation plans (NAPs). The report highlights emerging trends and models of South-South and triangular cooperation, which UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa notes in the foreword as being viable for replication and scaling up at the global level.

UNOSSC Director Jorge Chediek describes South-South and triangular cooperation as “critical means of implementation that complement North-South cooperation.” Similarly, the report titled, ‘Potential of South-South and Triangular Cooperation on Climate Technologies for Advancing Implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans,’ highlights growing recognition of the potential for South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation to facilitate technology development and transfer for climate action in developing countries.

Pointing to the upcoming UN Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) to be held from 20-22 March 2019 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Chediek emphasizes the linkages between the SDGs, Paris Agreement on climate change and the potential for collaboration under the first UN Action Plan on South-South Climate Cooperation. Based on review and analysis of countries’ NDCs, NAPs, national communications, biennial update reports (BURs) and biennial reports to the UNFCCC, the report finds “promising” thematic linkages for South-South and triangular cooperation in areas of agriculture, disaster risk reduction (DRR), renewable energy and energy efficiency, forestry, transport, water resources and waste management.

While the publication flags that a variety of models for South-South and triangular cooperation exist, it notes that common stakeholders involved include: local governments, civil society organizations, research and training institutions, and the private sector. With the UN system increasingly coordinating support efforts, the report underscores that initiatives commonly feature peer-to-peer learning, endogenous capacity building and cultural exchange, and that bottom-up approaches, which utilize local practices and indigenous knowledge as a starting point, are becoming the norm in both types of cooperation.

Technologies originating from developing countries are likely to be more suitable or cost-effective.

Country-level case studies on South-South cooperation feature projects in Cuba, Samoa, and Ethiopia, while city-level cooperation is explored across India, Indonesia, and South Africa. Triangular cooperation cases include regional-level initiatives on water and livelihoods in the Middle East and North Africa, country studies on Benin, Bhutan and Costa Rica, and a renewable energy and technology transfer programme that includes China, Ghana and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

Across the case studies, the publication notes that technologies originating from developing countries are likely to be more suitable or cost-effective due to their being more “attuned to similar geoclimatic, cultural or socioeconomic conditions.” However, TEC and UNOSSC emphasize that lack of financial resources can hinder the upscaling and regional replicability of climate technologies, as well as projects’ long-term sustainability.

Additional challenges include limited or inaccessible information on approaches, mechanisms and tools used to initiate, design and implement South-South cooperation. Information on triangular cooperation initiatives, the publication notes, is more readily available. Other common constraints include differences in time zones, languages, traditions, cultural patterns, and business practices, and disconnects or lack of coordination between the national and city-level actors.

To address challenges and limitations, TEC and UNOSSC recommend the enhancement of knowledge sharing through platforms’ increased accessibility, including compatibility with mobile devices, as well as the identification of suitable technologies through existing regional networks and online knowledge management platforms hosted by developing countries. To increase future projects’ efficacy, the publication recommends the inclusion of components on research and development; adoption of policies and regulations; creation of local value chains; and a transparent monitoring and evaluation framework.

Launched in 2017, a series of joint TEC publications, guidance papers and brochures, including on South-South and triangular cooperation around climate adaptation technologies, laid the groundwork for this latest report. At sector level, a June 2017 TEC brief explores South-South and triangular cooperation on technologies for adaptation in the water and agriculture sectors.

The Katowice Climate Change Conference convened in Poland from 2-14 December 2018. [Publication: Potential of South-South and Triangular Cooperation on Climate Technologies for Advancing Implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans] [TEC Homepage on South-South and Triangular Cooperation]