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UNICEF Brazil's TSSC: Lessons Learned and Reccomendations

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melissa pomeroy

on 5 October 2016

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Transcript of UNICEF Brazil's TSSC: Lessons Learned and Reccomendations

UNICEF's role in South-South Cooperation

Lessons Learned and Recommendations
SSC and TrC have gained a central place in development cooperation and are set to play a critical role in the 2030 agenda. UNICEF has been ahead of the curve in supporting horizontal trilateral partnerships.
What has the organization achieved and learned so far? How can UNICEF better support and leverage SSC and TrC so that the rights of every child are realized?
Promoting horizontal partnerships
The Brazil-UNICEF TSSC adheres to SSC principles and adopts a human rights-based approach. Horizontality relates to the shared leadership and management of projects and actions, from the planning phase up to results' monitoring and evaluation. Ideally, it should also involve mutual learning and gains. Ultimately, horizontal partnerships imply more equal power relationships .
Improving strategic engagement
TSSC would benefit from more strategic engagement globally. Although UNICEF Brazil has a clear approach to SSC, UNICEF globally has not yet developed a system to consistently apply SSC programmatically.
The Current Context
Brazil’s development trajectory in the last decade, which led to a decrease in poverty and inequality levels, has drawn the world’s attention to the country’s social policies.

To tap into the wealth of development innovations, knowledge, skills and resources available in Brazil, UNICEF has joined efforts with the Government of Brazil to foster horizontal TSSC partnerships with other developing countries.

Progress Results
The study indicates a number of positive changes that have taken place as a result of TSSC. It reflects the perspective of partners regarding what has been achieved generally and specific progress results. Further research is needed to ascertain to what extent changes can be attributed to particular initiatives.
Promoting Southern ownership
Ownership relates to the capacity to generate endogenous and sustainable solutions and include elements such as: alignment with national, organization and community priorities; political support and commitment to the process; partner leadership; role and level of involvement of local actors (stakeholders); and adaptability, applicability and integration of knowledge into relevant systems and policies.
The Way Forward
Important results from TSSC were achieved in a very short timeframe. It is clear that UNICEF has carved a niche within trilateral cooperation. Yet, the potential for SSC and TrC in terms of contributing towards sustainable development and poverty eradication has not been fully leveraged by UNICEF at the global level. UNICEF should build on the success achieved so far from Brazil country office and the lessons learned in the process, to more strategically engage in SSC with a view to truly attaining its programmatic objectives. These efforts become even more significant with the current context in Brazil, which point to a decreased political support to SSC.
To support knowledge sharing
To enhance UNICEF’s understanding of its strategic value
To inform policy and practice of UNICEF globally, regionally and at country-office levels, as well as those of peer organizations and relevant stakeholders
Phase 1 (UNICEF Brazil): Systematization of background info and history; interviews with UNICEF representatives and government partners

Phase 2 (Articulação SUL):
Analysis and write-up of results, lessons learned and recommendations
Topics covered
(1) Context: SSC in the UN system, UNICEF and Brazil

(2) Progress results

(3) Lessons learned

(4) Recommendations
SSC in the UN System
Brazil and SSC
UNICEF Strategic Plan commits to leveraging a growing diversity of partnerships with government, civil society, the private sector and others. The document also recognises that important new partnership opportunities are emerging, including new models of South-North learning, in which countries adopt, adapt and help to refine effective innovations from the South.

Increased political buy-in and mobilisation of coalitions for change to promote children’s rights

“It is only possible to fight poverty with a set of policies. All intersectoral governance experiences have something in common: the political will of those in charge of the nation."
Minister Tereza Campello (Ministry of Social Development and the Fight against Hunger, Brazil)

Improved national capacity to ensure availability of and access to services for boys, girls and women

TSSC supports the development of capacities and institutional strengthening of relevant actors to better elaborate and implement policies, including the delivery of services. Such capacities are crucial to implement complex programmes. The practical experience of Brazilian civil servants that have developed, implemented and learned through trial and error, is highly valuable for their peers in other developing countries.
Enhanced enabling environment to realise children’s rights

The existence of governmental policies and programmes is essential for the sustainability of TSSC efforts. It is still unclear what has been the direct contribution of TSSC to the various policies and programmes cited during this study, although numerous examples were mentioned by UNICEF's country-level staff and by government representatives. Brazilian partners feel that this is the outcome area that presents less evidence, thus further research and analysis are needed to explore issues of policy change attribution to TSSC.
Further exploration is needed regarding what Brazil can learn from other Southern countries, as well as what UNICEF gains from these partnerships

The principles behind SSC should be internalized by international organizations, and countries should have more leeway to negotiate and set the agenda of development cooperation beyond the specific TSSC initiative

SSC Unit within UNICEF Brazil has contributed to a much more structured design of the cooperation exchanges, with clear objectives and well-coordinated actions, and activities undertaken in a timely fashion

UNICEF globally has not yet developed a system to consistently apply SSC programmatically
Funding constraints are a major obstacle, as the funding currently available is not sufficient to ensure longer-term initiatives
An important challenge is to ensure that resources are invested where they can truly generate the greatest changes in children’s lives

Language barriers are seen as a persistent obstacle

Slowness in the implementation process and lack of response from Brazilian counterparts were mentioned as stumbling blocks

1. Consolidate UNICEF’s legitimacy in trilateral cooperation to leverage resources and knowledge towards the realization of child’s rights
1.1. Continue to carry out the roles that have led to more effective cooperation programmes (such as preparatory support, mobilization of stakeholders, funding and ensuring continuity of TSSC initiatives)

1.2. Find Southern champions, within government and civil society, for key and/or sensitive advocacy areas that can help UNICEF further its mission and establish TSSC initiatives

1.3. Clarify and communicate the role and comparative advantage of UNICEF vis-à-vis other bilateral and multilateral organizations in line with UNICEF’s global mandate

1.4. Develop a monitoring, evaluation and learning framework and system that allows for country offices and government partners to record and share what has been achieved and learned, and improves transparency and accountability

1.5. Create virtual and face-to-face spaces for knowledge-sharing and reflection to improve programme quality and relationships

1.6. Systematize and disseminate the outcomes and lessons from TSSC initiatives as a means to improve programme quality and shape global policy and practice regarding trilateral cooperation

2. Facilitate horizontal partnerships that lead to shared learning, country ownership and more equal power relations amongst partners
1.1. Invest time in building a common agenda and securing a cooperation agreement that represent the various stakeholders' interests, capacities and needs

1.2. Encourage partner countries to negotiate and set the development cooperation agenda, beyond the specific TSSC initiative

1.4. Ensure high-level political commitment to guarantee the implementation of activities

1.5. Facilitate the building up of relationships between Ministers across countries to foster good will and effectiveness in the cooperation

1.6. Develop guidelines to ensure horizontal partnerships, such as the guidelines agreed between UNICEF and the Brazilian Government, to identify mutual benefits as well as clearly define responsibilities and coordination mechanisms

1.7. Allocate enough time for discussions and informal exchanges during missions, so that technical counterparts are able to interact around specific issues

3. Maintain UNICEF Brazil’s SSC Unit and improve UNICEF’s strategic engagement to SSC globally, within the organization, the UN system and with partners
1.1. Develop a clear organization-wide SSC system, especially with regards to monitoring and evaluation, within UNICEF to consistently engage in SSC, building institutional knowledge and leading to clearer outcomes.
1.2. Carry out a strategic planning exercise within UNICEF Brazil’s SSC Unit, and define a theory of change, to ensure that resources are invested where they can truly generate the greatest changes in children’s lives.
1.3. Prepare a structured project document for each TSSC that clearly defines the partners’ commitments towards long-term objectives.
1.4. Country offices, regional offices and headquarters must work collaboratively to map out demands, develop programmes and policies in each country and build a roster of key technical partners and consultants by areas of expertise.
1.5. Systematize the priorities and demands from each country and establish clusters of policies and experiences that could be shared, which partners could add most value and the various stakeholders’ capacities.
1.6. Explore the possibilities to establish more umbrella programmes and sub-regional cooperation agreements and initiatives.
1.7. Establish dedicated South-South cooperation units in key SSC countries to promote effective workflow processes and the identification of TSSC opportunities.
1.8. Support better coordination amongst the various UN agencies by assessing priorities and capacity to engage in TSSC and devising joint strategies and programmes when suitable.
1.9. Mainstream SSC as a strategy for capacity development, with funding proposals being developed by COs and ROs so that TSSC could be included in programming right from the planning stage, with funding allocated under a specific budget line.

Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures
The Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA)
The first UN Conference on TCDC adopted the BAPA for promoting and implementing TCDC, so that developing countries are able to advance towards self-reliance through the harnessing and utilization of capacities found in the South. It emphasizes that TCDC is complementary to traditional North/South development cooperation. The Plan specifically states that the entire UN development system must be permeated by the spirit of TCDC and all its organizations should play a prominent role as promoters and catalysts.
Special Unit for TCDC
Special Unit for South-South Cooperation (2004)
Primary mandate: to promote, support and coordinate SSC and trilateral cooperation on a global and UN system-wide basis
Nairobi outcome document of the High-level UN Conference on SSC

Normative principles: respect for national sovereignty and ownership, partnership among equals, non-conditionality, non-interference in domestic affairs, mutual benefits

Operational principles: mutual accountability and transparency, development effectiveness, coordination of evidence- and results-based initiatives, multi-stakeholder approach

Priority objectives for the UN to support SSC: (1) support national and regional development efforts; (2) strengthen institutional and technical capacities; (3) improve the exchange of experience and know-how among developing countries; (4) respond to the specific development challenges of developing countries; and (5) increase the impact of international cooperation.
The State of South-South Cooperation Report of the Secretary-General
Overview and analysis of trends and significant developments in SSC (2009 to 2011)

UN SSC roles: convener/advocate; knowledge broker; partnership builder; analyst; and progress monitor.

Recommendations include:
To clarifiy operational definitions and develop meaningful performance indicators so as to measure the scale and impact of SSC and TrC;
To enhance SSC and TrC coordination and complementarity of efforts within the UN system as well as with relevant partners;
To harness the role of the private and civil society sectors.
Framework of operational guidelines on UN support to SSC and TrC
Priority actions and performance indicators for United Nations organizations and agencies, including regional commissions, towards mainstreaming their support for South-South and triangular cooperation at the global, regional and national levels.
UNICEF’s approach to SSC
Programme Guidance Note
UNICEF’s value added: convening power, global reach/country presence, technical expertise, credibility, facilitating civil society involvement, and broker of partnerships to leverage resources.

Most common activities are study tours and best practice documentation

Its primary role is seen as facilitator and convener to match supply and demand of SSC and help to address cross border and regional issues
UNDAF Brazil (2012-2015)
Considers SSC in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication (UNDAF Outcome 4), i.e. one among four key priorities

Strengthening the culture of inter-sectorial cooperation between Brazilian institutions by consolidating mechanisms for SSC: central, regional and local government, as well as the civil society and the private sector
Expanding mechanisms for systematized knowledge management
Expanding the agenda of SSC based on comprehensive and complementary planned guidelines

ILO included SSC / TrC in its programme and budget for 2016/2017
UNIDO incorporated SSC in its framework for 2014/2015 and will do so in the 2016-2017 framework
WFP has developed its first policy on SSC/TrC, whereas SSC featured as a strategic objective on the Strategic Plan 2008 - 2013
FAO provides support and is developing a guide to SSC at the country level
WHO considers SSC / TrC in its 2016-2017 general programme, and facilitates technical support on SSC

Ensuring UNICEF’s legitimacy
UNICEF’s legitimacy in engaging in TSSC depends on how partners see its role and value added, as well as the evidence of results
The role of UNICEF Brazil SSC Unit in terms of better defining the demands, facilitating the planning of the cooperation initiative, mobilising key stakeholders, and ensuring the continuity and progress of the TSSC have been mentioned as a key contribution to ensure more effective cooperation programmes

TSSC can be critical to get countries to focus the agenda around sensitive issues that are central to UNICEF’s mission

More clarification is needed regarding the role of UNICEF versus other bilateral and multilateral organisations

Monitoring, evaluation and learning needs to be embedded to improve programme quality and impact

SSC and TrC in other UN agencies
Falls under the Ministry of External Relations

Responsible for negotiating, coordinating, implementing and monitoring technical cooperation, based on agreements signed with countries and international organizations

Identifies and mobilizes Brazilian institutions to participate in technical cooperation
Coordinating body for humanitarian cooperation and focal point for: Food and Nutrition Security; Agricultural Development; Dialogue with Civil Society

Active advocate in international forums, covering thematic areas such as Nutrition and Food Security, Social Protection, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Civil Society Participation
UNICEF Strategic Plan (2014-2017)
UNICEF Brazil Country Programme (2012-2016)

Aims to develop the partnership between UNICEF and Brazil for the promotion of South-South technical cooperation regarding children’s rights with equity and related issues.

Outcome 6:
by 2016, child rights, equitable and sustainable development results for boys, girls and women, through a results-focused exchange of knowledge, skills, resources, including technology and information between and among stakeholders and partner countries, are key themes contemplated in Brazilian Government Horizontal cooperation triangular initiatives.

1. Content curation
: Enabling efficient access to relevant examples of policy and practice outside a particular country or knowledge area

2. Matchmaking
: Brokering one-to-one partnerships for knowledge exchanges and technical assistance between individuals and institutions. This may be for quick sharing of advice or as a start to developing a long-term engagement

3. Network building
: Supporting the development of communities and practioners' networks, so that they can reach out to each other, ask questions and share experience and resources. This might include UNICEF-initiated or led networks, as well as partnering with and supporting existing technical networks

4. Relationship support
: Stewarding country-to-country exchanges (physical or virtual) by serving as a trusted intermediary, helping to structure fruitful interactions, to organize funding visits, to access complementary technical support etc.

5. Influencing/advocacy
: Enhancing the child rights focus of South-South cooperation conversations, and leveraging resources for children including through influencing external development policies and spending of emerging donors. 

UNICEF role in SSC
(SSC Task Team workshop Oct/15)
In 2004, UNICEF Brazil started implementing the Laços Sul-Sul programme (South-South Ties), which turned out to be a very successful TSSC initiative

To promote a more strategic approach to SSC, UNICEF Brazil created a SSC Unit and integrated SSC as a programme component within its programme structure

In 2011, UNICEF and the Brazilian government signed an MoU and jointly developed guidelines for TSSC

In 2014-2015, UNICEF facilitated 14 TSSC initiatives
UNICEF Brazil and SSC
Sensitised government authorities thus leading to stronger commitment

Increased collaboration between countries and among national stakeholders

Strengthened UNICEF’s ability to influence governments

“The exchanges between
and Brazil have yielded a series of considerable results, including a process of sensitization of Jamaican Government authorities, which in turn has led to a stronger commitment around sensitive issues of child protection and adolescent friendly health services”
Mark Connolly (UNICEF Representative, Jamaica)

: the government agency that traveled to Brazil was dismantled shortly after the exchange, but the team leader at the time is now a member of the National Economic and Social Council. He has convinced the council's president, who responds directly to the country’s President, of the value the Brazilian
redistribution model

: an indirect result was the organization of a workshop for all the government departments and regions of the country in order to plan for the new government transition. The workshop sought to ensure that the progress made and results achieved by the National Policy of Integrated Rural Development, inspired by
Brasil Sem Miséria
, are maintained through different government structures post-elections.

Greater understanding of the value of youth participation in the development and implementation of public policies has been mentioned by a few countries as an important outcome of the TSSC with Brazil. The
South-South Links
programme is a great example, as it had a specific focus on mobilising youth.

: increased intersectoral collaboration within the Government as well as with the Civil Society

amaica and Belize
: increased collaboration around the issue of adolescent health and HIV/AIDS, including enhanced SSC dialogues and exchanges between government institutions and the civil society of these two countries.

“SSC allowed us to better appreciate the value of the involvement of key populations… What we will definitely be investing in and we saw work very beautifully in Brazil is to empower young persons to be their own advocates.”
Joan Burke (Belize National AIDS Commission & Belize Family Life Association)

“It is notable that the the advocacy effect is different when a Government encourages another Government to follow a child-centered approach to social development, as compared to when UNICEF does the same”
Arthur van Diesen (Regional Advisor on Social Policy, UNICEF MENA Regional Office)

“Coming from Brazil, sensitive issues have been included in the discussions in Jamaica. If it was not for the voice of Brazil, Jamaica would not have listened in the same way”
Mark Connolly (UNICEF Representative, Jamaica)

Development of individual and organisational capacities to develop policies and programmes

Development of individual and organisational capacities of relevant actors to implement policies, including the delivery of services

Tunisia’s new National Constitution, signed on 27 January 2014, followed a process of political transition and a series of reforms. Tunisia requested cooperation with Brazil to strengthen its social safety net programmes.

Exchanges took place during study tours and missions and via virtual interactions, focusing on a work plan to ensure universal access to public services. The Tunisian Government is now equipped with in-depth technical knowledge that will allow the country to build on its existing knowledge to implement focused social protection programmes.

: MIDES and MAGA, are said to have improved their knowledge and capacities regarding the approaches to the implementation of the National Policy of Integrated Rural Development (PNDRI).

: expansion of the capabilities of the NGO “Eve for Life” to provide a broader range of healthcare services, which are to be implemented in close collaboration with public health services in key facilities and surrounding communities.

: building local capacity to enhance policies and programmes to control water systems and sanitation.

Contributing to new policies and programmes

Restructuring related systems and policies

: in 2014 the Ghanaian Cabinet approved
a draft national policy on sustainable social protection

: creation of intersectoral council to promote an interinstitutional Early Childhood Development agenda and Medium Term Plan for the State of Yucatán

National Plan for Social and Economic Development (2016-2020)

: Child Grant Programme and other initiatives such as the current single registry

: developed a national action plan that promotes the integration of social services towards enhanced nutrition interventions

: developed a work plan to stop the vertical transmission of HIV

Programme for Administrative Reform and Integral Protection of Children and Adolescents

“All the knowledge that UNICEF already have about the issue and the cooperating countries – that’s the added value. They know what is happening in the country, have a better grasp of what might or might not work, the culture etc., and also know what is happening in Brazil. UNICEF has the expertise, and a consolidated relationship with the partner country. UNICEF’s capacity to conduct research, identify and systematize best practices is really special. If you think of Jamaica, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Tunisia - the COs can convey all that to us, they completely take care of this kind of ‘translation job’, and their assistance in this regard has been impressive.”

Cecilia Malaguti do Prado (Manager of Trilateral Cooperation with International Organisations and Partners) & Anna Maria Graziano (Projects Analyst), ABC

“We want to strengthen our analysis of the results of our cooperation (…) how we can follow-up the projects’ progress. This is a priority area for future support from UNICEF”.

Celso França (Head of International Division of the Ministry of Social Development and the Fight against Hunger (MDS), Brazil

A crucial first step is the construction of a common agenda

Securing a cooperation agreement between cooperating countries is also essential to guarantee the development of activities

High-level political commitment from the government side is essential to advance with a concrete agenda and follow up

The demand-driven aspect of TSSC and Brazil’s “inspirational factor” are important pillars for establishing horizontal partnerships

“I believe that the Brazil CO has, to some extent, done amazing and you’re really ahead of any other CO in that way. The kind of support we got from your dedicated SSC team made a difference in terms of attention to detail, response, in-depth and dedicated work. We need your help as a country, because I really think that you’re the furthest ahead by quite a long shot, to really help us as an organization to build into that.”
Thomas Davin (UNICEF Algeria Representative)

“From our perspective, a specific SSC unit is a positive thing to have, because we know that we can make quick progress when we need to. Especially because, if we don’t know our partners in the other country, it is more difficult to reach them without the support of the unit.”

Hafedh Bouktif (Director at the Tunisian Centre of Social Research and Studies-CRES)

Choosing the right people to participate is critical to ensure buy-in and institutionalisation of lessons

Learning experiences that put together government stakeholders from different sectors make a huge difference in the ability and willingness of government partners to work together across thematic and administrative divisions

Whenever there is a lack of government support or competing priorities, other kinds of partnerships, in particular with civil society, should be explored

“The field visit exposes us, we see it on the ground... looking at the implementation (of policies and programmes) makes it easier to bring colleagues on board.”
Mawutor Ablo (Director of Social Protection, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ghana)

"One of the solutions is to develop closer ties between government bodies and civil society, namely ourselves, young people, and empower these same young people to undertake projects to help society.”
Nicaraguan member of the South-South Youth Links Network
4. Promote Southern ownership to ensure TSSC leads to adapted and sustainable solutions to development
1.1. Ensure the right people, both technically and politically, are engaged to ensure buy-in and institutionalisation of lessons

1.2. Organize multi-stakeholder missions as a way to promote closer ties and collaboration between different ministries, sectors and stakeholders’ group

1.3. Facilitate direct communication between collaborating governments

1.4. Engage embassies in each collaborating country to contribute to more dynamic bilateral dialogues

1.5. Promote partnerships beyond government, in particular with civil society, to support democratic ownership

1.6. Support countries that have benefitted from TSSC to become multipliers of the learnings and share how they have adapted to local reality

Brazil offers inspiration in terms of: political commitment, for instance due to the priority conferred to ending hunger; policy ideas i.e. national policies, programmes, institutions and processes that proved successful in the country’s development trajectory; technical expertise, resulting from its consolidated experience in implementing policies and programmes.   

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