South-South cooperation is a broad framework of collaboration among countries of the Global South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains. Involving two or more developing countries, it can take place on a bilateral, regional, intraregional or interregional basis. Developing countries share knowledge, skills, expertise and resources to meet their development goals through concerted efforts. Recent developments in South-South cooperation have taken the form of increased volume of South-South trade, South-South flows of foreign direct investment, movements towards regional integration, technology transfers, sharing of solutions and experts, and other forms of exchanges. (


All 22 countries of the Arab region, albeit with varied development trajectories, currently belong to the Global South. This report provides an overview of current South-South processes and modalities of cooperation in the Arab region.


Although the size, strength, and forms of South-South cooperation (SSC) have been rising steeply in recent years, knowledge gaps are still present. There are significant deficiencies in the availability of data and quality research on scale and impact among South-South partners. The missing knowledge is imperative to improve results and foster peer learning. Therefore, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) collectively supported the establishment of the Global Coalition of Think Tank Networks for South-South Cooperation (GCTTN) to address these knowledge gaps. One of the goals of the GCTTN is to build partnerships with major think tank networks, to deepen the understanding of South-South and Triangular cooperation.


MENAPAR in its intrinsic nature is a model of South-South cooperation for knowledge creation and exchanges that occur among member organizations and individuals from government and the civil society. MENAPAR envisions itself as a model of SSC through the facilitation of its goals and dissemination of its Arab-centric research and knowledge base to further foster sustainable development.Within the MENAPAR institutional membership is a network of Arab think tanks which comprise the MENAPAR Think Tank Network (TTN). In 2018, the MENAPAR TTN became a member of the GCTTN by the signing of an MoU between the MENAPAR NGO and the UNOSSC.


In 2018, MENAPAR participated in two research projects with the GCTTN related to Multi-Stakeholder Engagement and Renewable Energy in the Arab region. The latter was launched at the BAPA+40 Conference in Buenos Aires in March 2019 and is published at the UNOSSC site. The BAPA+40 produced an outcome document which can be read here.


MENAPAR has attended the following GCTTN related events:


  • GSSD Expo (New York, USA - November 2018): UNOSSC held the 2nd GCTTN Steering Committee meeting at the 10th GSSD Expo in New York at the UN Headquarters during the last week of November 2018. MENAPAR presented the results of its 2018 GCTTN research as well as proposals for 2019 at this meeting. MENAPAR also had a poster presentation among the hundreds of solutions presented at the Expo. MENAPAR was also a panelist at the Peace & Development side-event.

  • Peace & Development Meeting (Guatemala - October 2018): Upon invitation, MENAPAR joined the Peace & Development sub-group of the GCTTN to further the cause of the SDGs in the Arab region given the interdependent relationship between sustainable peace and inclusive development. MENAPAR travelled to Guatemala in the first week of October 2018 to attend their first kick-off meeting and also contributed to the review process of their first research document on the topic, which was later launched at the BAPA+40 Conference in Buenos Aires. This mission also included a Conference hosted by another think tank from the GCTTN on the topic of SDG scoping for the Latin America region. This was a capacity building exercise for MENAPAR as it is expected to host a similar SDG scoping for the Arab region in 2019.

  • (Prague, Czech Republic – May 2018): Dr. Raed BenShams, MENAPAR President attended a UNOSSC Conference in the Czech Republic which held the signing ceremony of the MoU between MENAPAR and UNOSSC on May 15th, 2018. This made MENAPAR an official member of the GCTTN.

  • GSSD Expo (Antalya, Turkey – November 2017): MENAPAR attended the November 2017 GSSD Expo in Antalya, Turkey where they participated in the 1st Steering Committee meeting of the GCTTN and maintained a MENAPAR booth for the duration of the conference.