Guidance and Timeline for South-South Exchange


Read here for detailed guidelines on how to best prepare for your own South-South Policy Exchange.


Enabling conditions 

Have a good relationship with multiple ministries and experts in both host country and participant country. 


Key factors in identifying good country candidates for an exchange include:

  • Country commitments to international accords: Country has national climate, biodiversity, and  sustainable development plans in place or being developed.
  • Country shares similar ecosystems and environmental and social challenges: Effective approaches have good potential to be transferred from host country to a similar national circumstance.
  • Good relationship between countries involved in the exchange.
  • Financial support: To support with resources for the exchange and follow up in-country.
  • Participants in a decision-making position: Exchange participants are in a role where they can spark change in their national circumstances and represent diverse perspectives from the participant country.


Four months out  

  • Contact interested participant country to determine interest, supplying one pager description of exchange. Ensure country contact has broad enough oversight to objectively evaluate and invite participants from various ministries and stakeholder groups; otherwise, have predetermined list of likely participants. 
  • Set general objectives and expectations for budget and funding in writing.
  • Discuss potential participants with in-country contact to determine diverse and engaged group.  
  • Contact known travel agent in host country to determine availability and rates.
  • Confirm if there are any major holidays in either country that may affect exchange. 
  • Check if visas are available upon arrival, if they need to be applied for, or if a proxy visa (e.g. an American multi-entry visa) could be used.
  • Draft travel agreement, confirming per diem rate and method of dispersal (e.g., cash or bank transfer).


Three months out 

  • Structure agenda with general themes by day.
  • Share invitation letter, confirm participants, secure travel permission from government if needed, and collect participant information with an exchange travel form
  • Request signed travel agreement from all participants
  • Hold hotel rooms at any overnight stops on itinerary.
  • Confirm if translation support will be needed. 


Two months out

  • Provide visa letters (and possibly hotel confirmation) to all participants.
  • Purchase plane tickets for participants after travel agreement has been secured. 
  • Centralize all participant information, provide to travel agent and tour operator.


One month out 

  • Gather information on any dietary restrictions, bank information if needed for money transfer, and any remaining contact information for all participants.
  • Make plans for any stopover (hotels, airport transfer, itinerary for meetings)  
  • Plan for any information packets for arrival 


Two weeks out 

  • Send updated, detailed agenda with any packing suggestions, including mention of weather conditions.  
  • Confirm visas and remind participants to bring additional documentation (e.g., yellow fever card). 
  • Suggest participants bring a small gift for any high-level officials. 
  • Plan cash disbursement to participants if needed for per diem. 


One week out 

  • Confirm participation of speakers and any logistics for stopover.
  • Send additional logistical information, including airport transfers. 
  • Start WhatsApp group if needed 


During the stopover (if relevant)  

  • Ensure airport transfer for participants who may not have cash/card.
  • Disperse cash allowances if needed.
  • Provide sightseeing or shopping recommendations for participant free time.  


During the exchange 

  • Take notes during sessions and take photos or video when possible. Collect quotes from participants.  
  • Introduce group and objectives to presenters, collect presentations and other materials from presenters. 
  • Create work plan during the final day based on previous conversations detailing actions and who is responsible for follow up. 


One week after   

  • Share photos and presentations with participants. 
  • Share any additional resources discussed during the exchange 
  • Draft report, share with any reviewers if needed. 
  • Encourage participants to reach out to local media outlets to discuss what they’ve learned. 
  • Confirm any wire transfers of funding and payment to travel agent. 


Two weeks after 

  • Share report with participants.  
  • Complete any outstanding budget and expense needs.  


One month after 

  • Check in on progress on commitments to work plan. 
  • Share any refined communications products, e.g. video.