Copyright© Thomas Imo/photothek.net
Triangular cooperation Pursuing new forms of cooperation
Triangular cooperation means a development project that is jointly planned, financed and implemented by three partners:
- a beneficiary developing country, which has requested support to tackle a specific development challenge;
- a pivotal partner, which has relevant domestic experience of addressing the issue and shares its financial resources and knowledge; and
- a facilitating partner, which may help connect the other partners, and supports the partnership financially and/or with technical expertise.
The Global Partnership Initiative on Effective Triangular Co-operation (External link) (GPI) applies the same definition. Pivotal and facilitating partners may be either industrialised or developing countries.
The roles in triangular cooperation are not set in stone; each of the partners involved may be the beneficiary, knowledge bearer or facilitator.
The partners develop their roles dynamically in the course of their cooperation. In doing so, they generate added value compared to bilateral cooperation: all sides learn, share their experience and knowledge, and take on responsibility. Ideally, this will create a win-win-win situation.
For instance when it comes to protecting coral reefs: In a trilateral cooperation project with Costa Rica and Germany aimed at protecting coral reefs, the Dominican Republic was able to benefit from Costa Rica's experience with financing mechanisms for coastal protection. Costa Rica and Germany, in their turn, found the Dominican approach of breeding corals and later placing them in the sea very interesting.
In another triangular cooperation project, Honduras took up this idea together with Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
Triangular cooperation has a proven impact at the project level, but also and above all at the partnership level. Jointly implementing a project offers ideal conditions for learning with regard to many practical questions concerning the coordination of development cooperation.
Possible partners for triangular cooperation (apart from the responsible agencies of the countries involved) include line ministries and specialised organisations, local and regional authorities, organisations from the private sector, civil society, and academia, multilateral and regional organisations, and private charitable organisations such as foundations.
This means that there is a considerable number of possible actors, and the number of countries involved need not necessarily be limited to three.
The BMZ strengthens joint action by donors. This also includes triangular cooperation, which Germany uses in its development cooperation to contribute to
- building global strategic partnerships for sustainable development, and
- improving the effectiveness of development measures in recipient countries.
Germany views its role as that of a learning partner, too, and intends to further strengthen that aspect in the future. Engaging in trilateral cooperation is an opportunity for Germany to enhance its political and strategic credibility and legitimacy and to help make development more participatory, sustainable and effective.
At the international level, Germany participates in various multilateral forums on triangular cooperation, in particular at the United Nations (UN), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Global Partnership Initiative on Effective Triangular Co-operation (GPI) and the Ibero-American Program for Strengthening South-South Cooperation run by the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB).
Germany is one of the largest bilateral donors in the field of triangular cooperation. It has now been involved in more than 150 projects, through which it has helped to launch many development processes and achieve tangible results.