The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and South South Cooperation in Health

The Pan American Health Organization, serves both as the specialized organization for health of the Inter-American System and as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization. Consequently, PAHO is part of the Inter-American System and of the United Nations System. PAHO has provided Technical Cooperation among Countries (TCC), as a singular instrument for solidarity, horizontal cooperation, understanding, and strengthening of the institutional capacity of the countries to meet their health needs since early ´80s and as a concrete response to Buenos Aires Plan of Action.

Technical Cooperation among Countries (TCC) is understood as the execution and management of activities and development projects among countries, which involves the sharing of experiences and technical capacities as well as the countries’ own resources, with external assistance and financial support when necessary.

PAHO counts on several success stories about South-South Cooperation. For almost 30 years the Organization has supported projects of TCC from a special fund attached to the country program of work. More recently member states have approved a third level of program budget to join the regional and country budget level, and this is the sub regional level oriented to strengthen the integration processes in the Region. This is allowing countries to build capacity, to strengthen partnerships and to identify collaborative solutions to common problems.

Apart from this, PAHO has been interacting very actively with the UNDP Special Unit for South South Cooperation (SU-SSC) in relation to: the Global South South Development Expos which have been co sponsored by many partners and other UN Agencies as well; and the Interagency Focal points meetings which are organized by UNDP SU-SSC.

With regards to the third Global Expo (International Labor Organization (ILO) HQ, December 2010, Geneva, Switzerland) PAHO and UNDP Special Unit for SSC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will allow and facilitate the exchange of technology solutions to common health problems in developing countries. This platform combines PAHO´s specialization in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for healthcare with UNDP SS-GATE’s operational platform to create a dynamic synergy to improve global health.

PAHO also participates at the UN Interagency Focal points meetings which take place in NY, USA every year, where UN partners exchange information and agree on a plan of action to implement south south cooperation activities focusing on mainstreaming this approach in all UN programs, as per the Nairobi outcome Document (adopted at the High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation, Kenya 2009), which was endorsed by the UN General Assembly by Resolution 64/222 of December 2009.

Additionally, PAHO participates and exchanges information with the Task Team on SSC, sharing evidence and participating in the analytical work carried out to conduct case studies. Thanks to the support of Spain (AECID) PAHO is taking part in this process and is conducting two case studies: the Technical Cooperation among Countries Program itself and the Human Milk Banks Network.

The way SSC is shaping the international cooperation scenario is transforming the way UN Agencies and other stakeholders deliver and is also forcing them to pay attention and to understand and support SSC.

The Millennium Declaration (2000), Paris Declaration (2005) and the Accra Plan of Action (2008) provided the international community with a framework for action oriented towards new targets and effectiveness. At the same time there are new partners from “emerging economies”, as well as specific and extensive contribution from different countries from the south. There are also diminishing resources for international cooperation, especially for the Middle Income Countries. As new capacities and economies emerge a new paradigm arises in terms of equitable and symmetrical partnerships, based on respect for national sovereignty, no pre-conditions and the creation of platforms for sharing good practices or joint ventures to develop new products.

As stated before, the international cooperation scenario is being transformed and triangular cooperation is emerging as an opportunity for the so called donor countries. In the region of the Americas, there are many experiences and good practices derived from triangular cooperation.

To learn more about the experiences supported by PAHO see:

PAHO documents: “Technical Cooperation among Countries: Pan Americanism in the Twenty-first Century” (1998):

“Technical Cooperation among countries in the Region” (2005) which advanced the concept of TCC and served as a progress report on TCC to its Governing Bodies:

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