Américas Política Internacional

International Organizations diffusion in South development: The Uruguayan case as a Southern cooperative partner , by Carla Morasso & Lorena Lamas

The beginning of 21st century denoted some changes in the International Development Cooperation (IDC) system due to the rise of emerging countries from the South and power redistribution. In the article International Organizations diffusion in South-South Cooperation dynamics: Notes on the Uruguayan case in the 21st Century, published in  the special issue International Development Cooperation and Multipolarity: Scrambling North and South? of Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional – RBPI (Vol. 63 – N. 2 – 2020), the authors draw attention to the fact that before the questioning views on the IDC system and certain loss of influence on Southern conceptions, the developed countries started to take part in South-South Cooperation (SSC) activities through IO, particularly OECD and UN, as well as through an increase of Triangular Cooperation (TC) proposals to maintain their influence in the South.

From a critical theory perspective, the authors feature power relations in the world of cooperation, questioning its instruments and procedures, in which they identify both donor’s power and interests and IO ideas for the maintenance of the status quo in the international system. They argue that in order to do so, IO promoted initiatives aimed at generating “points in common” between the North and the South, as well as replicating institutional mechanisms and know-how within the governance of IDC, which eventually tend to make SSC adopt similar perspectives to ODA’s.

In this sense, the authors analyze the ways in which developed countries are capable of influencing the policies of multilateral organisms related to the development and the way in which the latter, in turn, can influence SSC thought diffusion mechanisms, without neglecting the fact that SSC dynamics have the potentiality to influence international cooperation too, but problematizing about the SSC influence capacity in the IDC system as diffusion direction and implications are consider representations of international power.

The paper draws the case of Uruguay, describing its participation in the IDC system as a “global adaptive actor” —framed in a process of graduation based on DAC/OECD criteria, and the consolidation of the Uruguayan role as an SSC provider— and the process of institutional strengthening of Uruguayan cooperation. The paper outlines the influence of multilateral programs in the rise of the Uruguayan International Cooperation Agency (AUCI): first, the UN “Delivering as One” (DaO) program and afterward, the establishment of the Technical Unit of the Ibero-American Programme for South-South Cooperation Enhancement (PIFCSS) of SEGIB.

The authors also outline the stimulation of TC initiatives, particularly with the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). The authors highlight that all actions implemented in the programs regarding institutional strengthening, recruitment and training of technical human resources and transference of good practices explain the evident institutional isomorphism of AUCI, altogether with the national bureaucracy interest and the reformist character of the government at the time.

The article also presents some considerations on the new ‘Development in Transition’ (DiT) approach and the European Union facility, presented as a multidimensional approach and an opportunity for “graduated” countries to continue receiving ODA, and analyses the Uruguayan approach in line with the arguments deployed by ECLAC, the OECD and SEGIB. At the same time the authors stress the fact that DiT approach has the risk to depolitizise the IDC Agenda and the SSC debate which needs to put into account the international power asymmetries and the political capture that blocks the possibility of pushing systemic change.

The paper concludes that the ideas and knowledge shared by traditional donors through IO and TC shaped the expectations and behavior of Uruguay as a country already “graduated” from ODA and as an emerging SSC provider. In this way, the authors highlight that, on the one hand, Uruguay has strengthened its institutionality, international image and cooperation system through these programs and on the other hand, developed countries managed to stimulate the convergence of regulations and practices between the DAC and a new Southern cooperative partner. In this sense, authors perceive a clear intention of the developed countries to co-opt the actors of the South to gain legitimacy and maintain the IDC system status-quo where IO has a central role in the diffusion of ideas and practices performing as transmission belts between North and South.

Read the article

Morasso, Carla, & Lamas, Lorena. (2020). International Organizations diffusion in South-South Cooperation dynamics. Notes on the Uruguayan case in the 21st Century. Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional63(2), e005. Epub July 22, 2020.

About the authors

Carla Morasso – 1Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Facultad de Ciencia Política y Relaciones Internacionales, Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina ( –

Lorena Lamas – Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Facultad de Ciencia Política y Relaciones Internacionales, Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina ( –

How to cite this article

Cite this article as: Editoria, "International Organizations diffusion in South development: The Uruguayan case as a Southern cooperative partner , by Carla Morasso & Lorena Lamas," in Revista Mundorama, 27/07/2020,