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In light of the increasing prominence of emerging economies in global sustainable development, the UN Conference of Sustainable Development (RIO+20) stressed the importance of working towards an inclusive Green Economy, that results in improved social equity and environmental quality. To achieve this, RIO+20 identified South-South Cooperation as a key enabling tool for developing countries to work along these lines. The UNEP Governing Council highlighted this link between Green Economy and South-South Cooperation by requesting UNEP to collect initiatives and experiences on different pathways for reaching a resource-efficient, low-carbon and socially inclusive economy, and to disseminate them, and facilitate information sharing among countries, so as to support them to promote sustainable development and poverty eradication.

South-South Cooperation is a broad framework for collaboration and exchange among countries of the South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains. Part of the value of South-South Cooperation lays in its primary purpose to empower countries to shape home-grown responses rather than relying on external interventions to development problems.

Green Economy as a tool enables countries to mobilise a more efficient allocation of resources to achieve sustainable development, particularly by shifting investments from business-as-usual to greener economies. South-South Cooperation can be a valuable source of investments into green economies. Further, the rising flows of foreign direct investments mean a great potential for developing countries to work together to ensure that such investments are building the foundation for a greener economy. However, in order to trigger and support investments for sustainable development, policy reforms and regulatory changes are necessary requisites. UNEP is currently leading two projects within the framework of South-South Cooperation:

The first project, “Enhancing South-South Cooperation – Building the Capacity of Developing Countries to Promote Green Economies” provides a forum for countries from the ASEAN region to share their experiences with national-level initiatives for transitioning to resource-efficient, low-carbon and socially inclusive economies. The second project, entitled “South-South Cooperation in Mongolia and Central Asia Countries: Sharing Knowledge on Inclusive Green Economies and Ecological Civilization” aims to support Mongolia and Central Asian countries in developing research capacity in these areas, with a particular focus on green investment in the water sector.