Global Partnership Initiative on Effective Triangular Cooperation
Global Partnership Initiative on Effective Triangular Cooperation
A platform for the exchange of experiences, challenges and tools to work more effectively in triangular cooperation


Triangular cooperation supports the goals, objectives and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In the past, triangular cooperation only involved three development actors: a traditional provider, an emerging economy and a beneficiary partner. In the current development landscape, the modality is expanding its scope to include multi-stakeholder relationships among governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector. It provides comparative advantages by complementing North-South and South-South cooperation. Nevertheless, recent studies show there is still a lack of systematic and comparable data, analysis and debate about their experiences. Triangular cooperation is still considered a niche modality, not integrated into programme management systems, hence it is often underutilized and underreported. 

Towards a Solution

The Global Partnership Initiative (GPI) on Effective Triangular Cooperation was created in 2016 by the Governments of Mexico and Canada to bring together development stakeholders to promote and to ensure that triangular cooperation projects and initiatives were effective, country-led and involved inclusive partnerships for sustainable development. It contributed to the implementation of the SDGs, specifically SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals), supporting stakeholders to join forces and work together toward the global implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Since its creation, more than 60 members joined the initiative. Currently, the GPI core group members include the AUDA-NEPAD, the Governments of Canada and Chile, PIFCSS, the IsDB, the Governments of Japan, Mexico and Norway, the OECD and UNOSSC.

Its members include governments, international organizations, civil society organisations, private sector representatives, among others. The GPI members engage and contribute financially and with in-kind contributions through three workstreams: advocacy, operational and analytical. They engage in substantial discussion of the drafts prepared by the workstreams, both remotely and in face-to-face meetings. It is a member-driven initiative and became a relevant global platform for partners to meet and exchange.

The initiative has two main objectives:

  • At the policy level: to mainstream triangular cooperation in development cooperation systems globally and to promote the Voluntary Guidelines for Effective Triangular Cooperation for governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector to agree to and use in their triangular cooperation programming.
  • At the operational level: to compile and, on-demand, develop better tools to ensure effectiveness in the implementation of triangular cooperation.

At the policy level, examples of its initiatives include the co-creation and advocacy of nine voluntary guidelines for effective triangular cooperation. These guidelines represent a shared commitment to effectiveness, advanced in 2019 in close consultation with numerous GPI members. Additionally, the GPI collect and analyse cases and identify different models of triangular cooperation to extract lessons. In 2021 the analytical workstream dedicated its efforts to analysing triangular cooperation in the context of COVID-19.

Nine members (the BRICS Policy Center, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Trade Centre, the Governments of Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, and Palestine and the OECD) jointly co-created and published the brief “Leveraging triangular partnerships to respond to COVID-19 and build back better from the pandemic”. In 2022 the group is focusing on a series of short case studies to share evidence on how GPI members use triangular cooperation to implement the 2030 Agenda and the BAPA+40 outcome document.

At the operational level, the GPI regularly organizes a Marketplace, a matchmaking initiative for triangular partnerships. In September 2021, the Marketplace meeting focused on digital transformation, with more than 50 participants from all regions of the world sharing their experiences, identifying challenges and looking for solutions through triangular partnerships. Several follow-up meetings happened after the main event and possibilities of concrete partnerships identified.

An example of partnership emerging from this matchmaking exercise is a project between the Islamic Development Bank, the Palestinian International Cooperation Agency (PICA) and the Chilean International Cooperation Agency for Development for strengthening PICA’s institutional capacities delivering South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

The BAPA +40 in Buenos Aires (March 2019) was a milestone event for triangular cooperation and the GPI. For the first time, the GPI is mentioned in an official United Nations document – the BAPA +40 Outcome Document. This provides fertile ground for the GPI to grow and strengthen its function as a global “one-stop-shop” for triangular cooperation, implementing its ambitious Action Plan and maintaining its global relevance and visibility.

Since its establishment in 2016, the GPI has evolved from a small initiative spearheaded by a few committed countries and organizations to a truly global initiative and platform, receiving strong support and political backing at the highest level. The GPI raises awareness at the regional and global level on the value-added of triangular cooperation, creates space for knowledge-sharing among its members and the broader development cooperation community and promotes new partnerships to implement the sustainable development agenda.

Contact Information

Ms. Geovana Zoccal, Focal Point, Global Partnership Initiative on Effective Triangular Cooperation

Countries involved


Supported by

Governments of Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico and Norway, the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD), the Ibero-American Programme for the Strengthening of South-South Cooperation (PIFCSS), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).

Implementing Entities

Governments of Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico and Norway, AUDA-NEPAD, PIFCSS, IsDB, OECD, UNOSSC and more than 50 other members.

Project Status


Project Period


URL of the practice

Primary SDG

17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Primary SDG Targets


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