Evaluation in Transition: The Promise and Challenge of South - South Development Cooperation


  • Zenda Ofir




Over the last two decades, evaluation in the Global South has grown by leaps and bounds. Yet a vast majority of the theories and practices in evaluation emanate from the Global North, often shaped by North-South cooperation (NSC) ‘aid’ financing. It is only recently that South-South cooperation (SSC) has become a force to be reckoned with as a result of shifts in economic power from West to East. A collaboration shaped by shared histories, socioeconomic conditions and a set of principles very different from those underlying NSC, the group of around 140 countries in the Global South known as the ‘G77+China’ holds significant potential for changing the dominant, often destructive narratives and practices about development that have shaped much of the world today. Yet this potential is largely underreported and underexplored, and therefore undervalued. The field of development evaluation has been largely absent from, and also at times caught up in the often highly charged political and technical forums where SSC and its evaluation practices are being shaped. Instead, development evaluation continues to be shaped by North-South interactions, diminishing the potential value of innovative engagements with efforts to advance South-South cooperation as well as South-South cooperation in evaluation for the benefit of both the Global South and the global challenges that humanity faces in the era of the Anthropocene. This article introduces some of the key dynamics in South-South cooperation, and highlights some of the opportunities that can inspire more dynamic engagement and collaboration between the global evaluation community – especially those from, and working in the Global South - and the researchers, economists, financiers and decisionmakers involved in South-South cooperation. This can help accelerate efforts to transform the field of evaluation to be more suited to this era.






Thematic segment: Transforming evaluation practice for ‘Business Unusual’