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This document was prepared by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Development Centre of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), following the discussion at the high-level meeting “Next Steps for Development in Transition”, which took place in Brussels in May 2017. The opinions expressed and arguments employed herein do not necessarily reflect the official views of ECLAC, OECD, its Development Centre or the member countries of either organization.


The international economy is going through a period of major transformations that demand new policy responses. The emergence of new actors in the global arena, the environmental impacts of economic growth, the technological revolution, increasingly globalized trade and financial flows, rising migration flows and high inequality in some countries have made traditional economic paradigms and policy strategies inadequate in many respects. This inadequacy is compounded by the interdependence of international challenges and new and persistent domestic vulnerabilities. The concepts of development and development cooperation are not immune to these changes. Therefore, the need is growing to reconceptualize international cooperation that “leaves no one behind”. This is particularly the reality in countries whose incomes are growing while, at the same time, quality of life is not necessarily increasing in all its dimensions. Such “development in transition” thus requires a multidimensional approach to international cooperation for development that adopts effective policies to address new and persistent structural challenges. This paper briefly presents new perspectives on development, their implications for international cooperation for development, and the need to remain engaged with all Latin American and Caribbean countries, as good examples of economies experiencing development in transition. 

This paper discusses how to think about international cooperation for development. It proposes that new narratives of development cooperation should move from graduation to gradation, using a toolkit based on five pillars. First, international cooperation for development should measure development beyond per capita GDP. Second, the cooperation strategies and focus of development should be linked to national strategies and reflect a multidimensional approach. Third, the focus of the multilateral agenda should be based on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development promoting better global public goods. Fourth, the governance and financing approach to cooperation should look beyond official development assistant (ODA) and be multilevel in nature, taking into consideration South-South and triangular cooperation as well as horizontal cooperation across different levels of government. Finally, international cooperation should go beyond traditional instruments and include such modalities as innovative instruments of knowledge-sharing, capacity-building and technology transfers. 

The new global context and challenges in the Latin American and Caribbean region call for new international cooperation perspectives based on common interests, shared values and strong complementarities, including the partnership between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean. Although discrepancies and heterogeneities remain across emerging and developing economies, the policy implications in this document are useful for other regions.