IUKDPF Report: The ‘Measurement Politics’ of South-South Cooperation

In this report, IUKDPF Consultant Dr Laura Trajber Waisbich explores the measurement politics of South-South Cooperation. Both the full report and summary paper are available to download.

Executive summary

  • South-South Cooperation (SSC) partners have successfully resisted efforts to draw them into Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) definitions and practices of measuring development cooperation flows and assessing their impacts.
  • Southern partners have also rejected efforts, at the United Nations (UN) and beyond, to create common SSC standards.
  • As SSC has expanded over the last two decades, defining and measuring SSC has become a subject of debate between and within Southern countries; revealing that measurement and assessment is not just a threat, but also has potential value to different SSC partners for different purposes in different contexts.
  • How to define, measure and assess the quantity and quality of SSC is a hot topic within and across the South, encompassing a range of very different approaches and positions.
  • Southern-led experimentation with different forms of measurement and assessment is now opening up.
  • India has played an important role, in both diplomatic and para-diplomatic arenas, in resisting externally driven measurement efforts. India has also led debates and fostered policy spaces in which Southern countries and development experts could innovate with Southern-led solutions around the need to measure, report and justify SSC to a range of internal and external stakeholders.