Author:Rathin Roy, Melissa Andrade
South South

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Abstract: This Poverty in Focus is being launched to mark important events for the Global South that will take place in Brasilia: the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) and the Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC) summits. The International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG), whose headquarters is in Brasilia, is privileged to be closely involved in a number of the activities associated with the summits, especially the organisation of the “Academic Forum: A Policy Dialogue” for the IBSA gathering. I expect these meetings to have great resonance for the future shape of South-South cooperation. The first decade of the twenty-first century has been marked by the intersection of three debates that previously had been conducted in separate domains with limited interaction. Traditionally, the debate on global economic governance has been situated in the G-8 and in discussions associated with the governance of the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation. The debate on development cooperation has largely been conducted from the perspective of donors, and has mostly been about aid, whether for or against. Foreign policy strategies have been viewed principally from the perspective of national strategic interests and, apart from specific initiatives rooted in the history of the Cold War, have been typically bilateral in scope and nature, other than for past and present superpowers. The rapid increase in the number of emerging economies as global players—leading to a significant re-examination of the fundamental assumptions regarding voice, domain and the agency of global economic governance—is closely related to their greater involvement in development cooperation. This is rooted in a deep historical engagement with the global South and is based on political solidarity with other developing nations. It is now apparent that foreign policy strategies will have to take account of the growing role of the emerging economies in shaping the future architecture of global economic governance and development cooperation. For that reason the IBSA and BRIC summits are front-page news in capitals across the world. The neat division between bilateral, regional and global foreign policy strategies has become more diffuse. There is a fork in the road. Will the rise of the emerging economies portend just a broadening of the “great game”, the only result being a little more elbow room for developing countries in their engagement with the G-20 economies? Or will the global South seize this opportunity to forge a new and more inclusive paradigm that secures faster and more sustainable development for all citizens? The articles in this issue of Poverty in Focus address different dimensions of this challenge. South-South cooperation has a specific history rooted in the “making of the Third World”. Will the opportunities of the moment translate into better voice for and more inclusive cooperation with least developed countries? Can we look forward to exciting paradigm shifts in the discourses on global trade, aid, development cooperation and the rhetoric of best practice? Will emergent regional and global plurilateral groupings afford new avenues for effective development cooperation? What does South-South cooperation look like from the perspective of the political economy of Sierra Leone, emerging from conflict and making heroic advances against tremendous odds, as it establishes institutions for governance and socioeconomic development? I am confident that the articles in this issue will stimulate “out of the box” thinking about the possibilities for South-South cooperation, and will inform policymaking on this important subject at a very critical juncture. Rathin Roy

keywords: South-South Cooperation – The Same Old Game or a New Paradigm?
Date Publication: 04/09/2010 (All day)
Type/Issue: Policy In Focus / 20
Language: English