The European Union and Triangular Cooperation

The New European Consensus on Development is firmly based on the 2030 Agenda. In line with the principle of universality of this commitment, the European Union is convinced that solutions to today's sustainable development challenges can be found in all corners of the world. Within this framework, Triangular Cooperation facilitates the mobilisation of these diverse solutions and access to greater institutional expertise, more research, more capital and a greater incentive to innovate, learn and find solutions than possibly ever before.

In this sense, for the European Union, Triangular Cooperation provides the opportunity to develop an innovative development approach that is consistent with the universal vision of the 2030 Agenda, which fosters partnerships between countries in different stages of development, as well as coordinating and harnessing different resources and capacities in order to contribute to sustainable development quickly and efficiently, in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is why the EU is determined to promote Triangular Cooperation as an implementation mechanism for development cooperation, which is not an end in itself, but an instrument to achieve the SDGs.

Triangular Cooperation, therefore, must serve as a new paradigm, where diverse types of knowledge and experiences are recognized, valued and combined, working together as partners and as equals, and with mutual commitment among all actors, so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and the impact of the joint efforts on development has a multiplier effect.

For the European Union, the combination of the three roles inherent to the triangular modality (Beneficiary, First provider and Second provider) facilitates the joint creation of solutions, with high potential impact on development goals, as well as promoting complementarity, boosting coordination, enabling knowledge sharing and joint learning, facilitating ownership and trust, increasing the volume, scope and sustainability of the interventions, and enabling flexibility. In this regard, all partners are called upon to contribute and benefit.

Triangular Cooperation continues to evolve and may involve actors at the different levels of government, non-governmental organizations or regional entities. Therefore, its conceptualization within the EU framework must be flexible enough to allow for innovation and the emergence of new constructive partnerships, while maintaining a clear understanding of the essential nature of Triangular Cooperation, as this undoubtedly provides added value.

The evolution of Triangular Cooperation in the European Union.

Triangular Cooperation is not exactly a new modality for the European Union. For some time, initiatives within the European community have been encouraging this type of partnership with 'flexible' structures, allowing it to contribute this previous experience to the new Consensus.

It is primarily through the Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA) that the European Union has gained extensive experience in Triangular Cooperation. In Latin America, for example, this dates back to the late 1990s, when several regional initiatives were developed that involved sectors such as Information and Communications Technology (ICT), social development and the fight against illegal drugs.

This approach has led to activities that generally fall into four categories: cooperation as a network, the exchange of experiences, technical assistance and partnerships / twinning. Through these initiatives, EUROCLIMA+, PAcCTO (Europe Latin America Technical Assistance Programme against Transnational Organized Crime) and other programmes have effectively addressed matters related to Triangular Cooperation, contributing to changes in public policies through peer learning and the exchange of experiences between equivalent institutions in Latin America and Europe, as well as among Latin American countries themselves.

According to SEGIB, between the years 2011 and 2016, Ibero-American countries are said to have participated in up to 17 Triangular Cooperation actions, in which the Second provider was the European Union. Many of these actions were carried out under the umbrella of the EUROsociAL Programme, which was launched in 2005. This programme, currently in its third edition, aims to promote the exchange of experiences between the two regions, thereby contributing to institution building and stronger public policies in the countries of Latin America.

At the thematic level, the SOCIEUX Programme has responded to specific requests from public institutions in partner countries, in the areas of employment and social protection, and has provided joint teams of experts from EU member states and other partner countries for short-term missions.

In Asia, the READI Programme (EU-ASEAN Regional Dialogue Instrument) has facilitated political dialogue and the exchange of experiences between ASEAN and EU officials and experts on a wide range of thematic areas. At the same time, the EU-South Africa Dialogue Facility has enabled more than 50 political dialogue projects, primarily through peer exchanges. The cooperation activities between PALOP-TL and the EU, involving countries from across three continents, are another successful example of Triangular Cooperation.

However, a major step forward in Triangular Cooperation was the creation of the Regional Facility for International Cooperation and Partnership, at the initiative of the Directorate-General for International Partnerships in 2015. This facility was later named the ADELANTE Programme.

 

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