South-South Cooperation policies can be drivers of the SDGs

Trade unions will participate in the in the United Nations’ Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA +40) in their role as central development actors, leading and running development projects in the world. The event will take place in Buenos Aires on 20-22 March 2019

The global trade union delegation that participates in the BAPA+40 Conference will advocate the establishment of a New Social Contract between governments, businesses and workers. This is an essential necessity to ensure that development cooperation policies deliver benefits to those who need them most.

In addition, trade unions will present the labour movement’s key asks on South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SST Cooperation). The delegation will also promote trade union’s own model of SST Cooperation, which is in line with the Development Effectiveness Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


A New Social Contract

In order to achieve sustainable development, the trade union movement calls for a New Social Contract for governments, businesses and workers, with a universal labour guarantee floor for all workers. This means rights are respected, jobs are decent with minimum living wages and collective bargaining, workers have some control over working time, social protection coverage is universal, due diligence and accountability drives business operations, and social dialogue ensures Just Transition measures for climate and technology.


Key asks on SST Cooperation

Trade unions advocate a development cooperation model that will keep the SDGs and the Decent Work agenda - incorporated in SDG 8 – at its centre, and will be built upon the Development Effectiveness Principles, which underline the importance of accountability, transparency, the Global South’s ownership of the SST Cooperation, and focus on results.

These two elements will make sure that development cooperation will deliver in terms of rights, sustainability and – under the overarching legal frame of the New Social Contract – make sure that there is a balanced relationship between the three pillars of sustainability, namely, the environmental, the social and the economic pillar.

Trade unions are key development actors. Their role of workers’ rights promoters is essential to ensure that no one is left behind.

- Lais Abramo, Director of the Division on Social Policies at the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Trade union led SST Cooperation

Trade unions have a long-standing experience in SST Cooperation. Their work builds upon the Trade Union Development Effectiveness Principles and, since 2015, focuses on contributing to the SDGs. The trade union delegation at BAPA +40 will present a new advocacy brief on this topic entitled: Trade Unions’ South-South & Triangular Cooperation: Our contribution to the SDGs. In this brief, the labour movement recommends all South-South and Triangular Cooperation actors to:

- Prioritise the Decent Work Agenda and Climate Justice-related SDGs, such as SDG 1, 5, 8, 10, 13 and 16, in all projects and programmes;

- Involve trade unions and social partners in policy dialogues when defining priorities and implementation strategies, as well as when monitoring and evaluating results.

- Support social partners’ capacity building in implementing the SDGs.



Related resources

- Statement: Trade Unions’ key asks to the BAPA +40

- Advocacy brief: Trade Unions’ South-South & Triangular Cooperation: Our contribution to the SDGs