Executive Summary

   This document has been made available in electronic format
          by the Committee for the Promotion and 
               Advancement of Cooperatives

Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts on South-South Cooperation
                 31 July - 4 August 1995

                  SOUTH - SOUTH COOPERATION
                   OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR

    Background paper prepared by the United Nations Department 
       for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development

                     New York, July 1995

(Prepared for information purposes only.  Not an official
 document of the United Nations and not officially edited.)

Executive Summary

Papers prepared by the United Nations Secretariat for the
Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts have noted that the private
sector must be involved in South-South cooperation.

IN considering the actual and potential role of the private
sector its appears useful to distinguish between that segment
which is cooperatively organized - that is, which consists of
cooperative business enterprises - and the remainder.  The
utility of such a distinction rests on the fact that the
cooperative segment, organized as the international cooperative
movement, already has substantial experience of technical
cooperation among developing counties, a growing involvement in
economic cooperation, and a set of organizational structures and
procedures which predispose it to South-South cooperation.

Cooperative enterprises have a strong tendency to collaborate
with other cooperatives, and to build upon a local and sub-
regional base, both business partnerships and representative and
service providing structures.  They are characterized by a
bottom-up process of expansion.  Consequently they tend to build
partnerships and seek alliances at close hand first:  this
predisposes them to intra-regional collaboration.

This characteristic becomes significant because of the very large
dimensions of the cooperative movement - involving about
800,000,000 members world-wide; the substantial market
penetration in many sectors and countries; the expansion of many
cooperatives to status as major corporations and market leaders;
and a substantial contribution to GNP in many countries,
including all of the G-7 and most other developed market
economies, with a lesser but growing presence in the South.

Cooperative movements in the South have formed independent
regional organizations, reinforced by the regional structures
which exist within global cooperative organizations, notably the
International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and its specialized
bodies, organizations of cooperatives within certain sectors,

Of considerable importance have been the deepening of
collaboration between cooperative organizations and Governments
within regional and sub-regional contexts, which has served to
establish a positive environment for both technical and economic

Within the international cooperative movements, as an expression
of the basic cooperative principles of collaborating wherever
possible with other cooperatives, and also as an expression of
global solidarity, there are very substantial programmes of
technical cooperation.  Donors in the North are primarily the
specialist cooperative development agencies of national
cooperative movements, using funds raised within those movements. 
They are supplemented by funds channelled to such agencies from

The greater par of technical cooperation is organized on a
triangular system, with organizations in South retaining control,
and the relationship being characterized by a full partnership,
with emphasis upon the autonomy of the recipient and primacy of
their interests.

In addition there is a growing South-South technical cooperation

Economic cooperation includes trade primarily in agricultural
commodities, and exchange of financial services.  It is less
significant than technical cooperation, but growing in

Because of its experience and contemporary organizational
structures the international cooperative movement, composed of
the cooperatively organized segment of the private business
sector, can expand South-South cooperation by its own activities,
and at the same time serve as a model for greater and more
effective activities undertaken by other business enterprises in
the private sector.