Civil Society Organisations from the BRICS countries and Mexico are leading a huge range of South-South Development Cooperation (SSDC) initiatives. New research shows how these initiatives are promoting social accountability, supporting post-disaster reconstruction and effectively sharing rural and urban development knowledge. Given this experience and expertise, these organisations have a significant role to play in the post-2015 development cooperation landscape as envisaged by the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) and other global policy initiatives.
However, in order to realise this potential, more systematic documentation of the evidence on the positive impacts of their SSDC efforts is required as well as greater recognition by traditional donors, rising power country governments and fora such as the GPEDC of the important role that these organisations can play in shaping a more global approach to international development policy and practice.
- Civil society organisations from middle-income countries need to generate more evidence on how their SSDC-led initiatives are making a difference, including more systematic process documentation and participatory evaluation of short-term results as well as longer-term catalytic effects.
- The development research community needs to work with middle-income country CSOs to produce a robust evidence base on the role of CSO-led SSDC, with appropriate methodologies for capturing the complex longer-term impacts that solidarity-based initiatives can have on communities, organisations and policies.
- Traditional donors need to consider replacement funding mechanisms to ensure that middle-income country CSOs are able to continue both triggering innovation domestically and sharing innovation internationally.
- Rising power country governments need to recognise the value that CSOs can add to the quality and impact of their South-South Development Cooperation activities. This includes acknowledging civil society’s contributions to domestic policy innovations, and learning from fellow rising powers who have established funding mechanisms and institutionalised spaces for policy dialogue on international development cooperation.
- Global civil society fora like the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) need to move beyond North/South and donor/recipient binaries to reflect the multiple roles played by CSOs from middle-income countries. There is an opportunity for CPDE’s Working Group on South-South Cooperation to lead the way by highlighting the roles played by Southern CSOs in providing development cooperation themselves, as well as in demanding accountability from governments and businesses.
- The Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation needs to become an enabling platform for CSO-led SSDC to fulfil its potential as a key part of the ‘how’ of delivering the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. This includes creating more multi-stakeholder learning opportunities with CSOs who are involved in SSDC in different regions and sectors, and promoting dialogue on enhanced funding mechanisms for civil society-led development cooperation.