About Us

Our story

SouthSouthNorth (SSN) came into being during the climate change negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany, in late 1999. At that stage the Kyoto Protocol was in negotiation. A mechanism within the Kyoto Protocol, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), was aimed at bringing the developing nations and the developed world into a partnership to create greenhouse gas emission reduction credits through projects in the developing world. Little was known about the rules which would be imposed under the CDM and particularly about how the requirement of sustainable development contained in Article 12 of the Protocol would be institutionalised, determined or measured.

Three friends met at the fifth Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Bonn in 1999. Hélène Connor of HELIO International, Emilio La Rovere, a Brazilian professor from the Engineering Institute of the University of Rio de Janeiro (COPPE UFRJ) and Steve Thorne, a South African energy consultant of Energy Transformations, Cape Town, to present a paper at the 1999 Conference. With them was a newcomer, Stef Raubenheimer, a process and development facilitator from South Africa. The paper set out a theoretical tool for appraising the sustainable development contribution of potential CDM project ideas according to a list of criteria and indicators. The idea of the tool found favour with Paul Hassing, a representative of the Netherlands’ Government, and a panelist at the meeting, who supported the suggestion that the tool be tested through experimenting with actual projects in a number of Southern countries. This collaborative idea brought institutions dealing with climate change in the Netherlands, France, Brazil, South Africa, Bangladesh and Indonesia into a new partnership. A new institution, with a new name reflecting this partnership, was created.  Find further information on our 2000 – 2008 projects here.

By the end of 2008 SSN had diversified and added a number of new projects to its portfolio. These ranged widely between training, support practice, and facilitation, all in the fields of climate and development. For the years 2009 and 2010 this broad-range portfolio included work with many donors and organizations, including the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Danish Government, Foreign and Common Wealth Office (FCO) and others.

In 2010 SSN bid as part of a consortium for the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINBUZA) project that became known as the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). The tender interested international competition, but after a tough selection process the group, which SSN was part of, was awarded the 5-year, £60m project. This became a major part of SSN’s operations. At about the same time SSN and the Energy Research Centre (ERC) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) were approached by Kate Hampton of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and the Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (MAPS) Programme was formed.

SSN Team02_web

Our structure

The SSN Group is composed of two separate entities; the SSN Trust and SSN NPC (non-profit company). Our legal structure enables us to collaborate with various entities through flexible networks.

In 2011 the section 21 company automatically became a non-profit company, by operation of law. SSN NPC has adopted a new Memorandum of Incorporation (MoI), consistent with the 2008 Companies Act. In accordance with its MoI, SSN has Directors and Associates, but no Members. In South Africa our implementing agency is SouthSouthNorth (NPC), where all the work is done.  SouthSouthNorth has Public Benefit Organisation status that entitles it to tax exemptions as stipulated under the (South African) Income Tax Act (Act 58 of 1962 as amended). The SouthSouthNorth Trust is an international entity, which enters into agreements with donors and administers funds. The Trust is regulated by the Trust Property Control Act (Act 7 of 1988 as amended). The Trust has administered more than €20m over its 12-year lifespan.