Sharing What Works Through South-South Cooperation: The Case of the Risk Reduction Management Centre Replication Project
MA in Sustainable Development
The Risk Reduction Management Centre (RRMC) Replication Project, an initiative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), aims to take a Cuban best practice in disaster risk reduction and adapt it to the local context of five other Caribbean countries. This project differs from most development projects in that the individuals and institutions providing the assistance (in this case technical training and know-how) are themselves from a developing country (Cuba). This model, wherein developing countries provide resources, information, and training to other developing countries, is known as South-South Cooperation (SSC).
This capstone uses the case of the RRMC Replication Project to offer recommendations for SSC. The questions that it specifically aims to address are: What are the advantages and disadvantages of technical SSC? How do the general advantages and disadvantages found in the literature apply to the RRMC Replication project? Are there additional advantages and disadvantages that can be drawn out from the RRMC Replication Project? And how can the RRMC Replication Project best use the advantages of SSC, and address its disadvantages, for the remainder of the project (scheduled to conclude in December 2013)?
Using the case study methodology, this capstone assesses the RRMC Replication Project through a review of primary and secondary documents and video footage, reflections on the author’s personal experience as a UNDP intern, and in-depth interviews with individuals involved in the Project. The study finds that using the lens of the RRMC Replication Project many of the advantages of SSC are revealed, including the ability to share proven solutions among similar countries that results from the similar contexts of receiving and providing countries; the emphasis on adapting projects to the local context of the receiving country; the value of having an extensive and two-way exchange of knowledge that benefits all parties involved and leads to increased regional solidarity; the empowering effect that SSC can have on both receiving and providing countries; the humility and respect for national sovereignty shown by the providing country; and the lower costs of SSC–all leading to more efficient and more sustainable development. Disadvantages and challenges of SSC seen in the RRMC Replication Project include lack of capacity for the providing country to share the information effectively and for the receiving country to take on the information effectively, the assumption that because a model works in one place it will automatically work in a neighboring country, and not being able to avoid issues that all development projects seem to have.
This research shows in practical terms the strengths and challenges of SSC technical exchange and explains why UNDP is in a unique position to advocate and facilitate such exchanges. The RRMC Replication Project has facilitated the meaningful exchange of knowledge about disaster risk reduction among six countries and among multiple government agencies, professional institutions, and individuals, leading to increased understanding and increased preparedness across the Caribbean. The author concludes that the RRMC Replication Project demonstrates the value of SSC and provides an example of the possibility of bringing the best of the North-South and South-South models together to promote truly sustainable development on a regional level.
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Cohn, Rachel M., "Sharing What Works Through South-South Cooperation: The Case of the Risk Reduction Management Centre Replication Project" (2013). Capstone Collection. 2627.
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