The South Commission’s report “The Challenge to the South” was launched in 1990
3 August 1990: The Report recommended creating a South Secretariat that would provide the technical foundation (analysis, research and negotiation support) needed by the South for working collectively. The South Centre was established in November 1990 to follow-up the Report’s recommendations and became an intergovernmental organization established by treaty in 1995.
31 July 1995: The Agreement to Establish the South Centre entered into force
The South Centre was established as a permanent intergovernmental organization mandated to provide policy advice, undertake research and analysis, support coordinated actions by developing countries in negotiating processes, and promote South-South cooperation.
“As the premier source of research on issues affecting the South, and growing out of the work and experience of the South Commission, the (South) Centre plays a role whose value for the developing world cannot be underestimated”
Nelson Mandela, in his speech to the Second Meeting of the Council of Representatives of the South Centre held in New York, in 1998.
The South Conference reviews the challenges ahead
The annual South Conference of the South Centre has become a major event for developing countries to review the state of the world, their development prospects, and the continuing and emerging challenges that the South faces.
The South Centre seeks to promote North-South dialogue on issues of common global concern on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
Promoting the South at international events
The South Centre participates in major international conferences, particularly those supporting South-South cooperation such as summits of the G77 and China, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Asian-African Conference. In the organizations where the South Centre holds observer status (UN General Assembly, WHO, UNCTAD, UNFCCC, WTO, WIPO among many others) it promotes the views and perspectives of the South.
Providing analysis on global macroeconomic and financial issues
The South Centre carries out forward-thinking analyses of global macroeconomic and financial issues, highlighting the development implications and prospects for the South and providing recommendations for appropriate action.
Addressing the challenges of climate change
The South Centre is actively engaged in the climate change and sustainable development negotiations where it promotes the development rights and interests of developing countries.
Making the global trade system fairer and inclusive
Making the trade and investment systems fair and inclusive to the benefit of all its members has always been one of the main priorities of the South Centre. In this regard, the South Centre assists developing countries in understanding the development implications of WTO, free trade and investment agreements.
Innovation, health, and development of the South
Innovation, health and development are inter-linked issues that affect the peoples of the South. These are areas in which the South Centre continues to engage in to identify specific concerns of developing countries (such as access to medicines, transfer of technology, antibiotic resistance, biodiversity protection, intellectual property rights).
Helping create future leaders of the South
Creating an informed South for the future depends on providing information and analyses to young future developing country policymakers.
The South Centre provides seminars and workshops to expose students, policymakers, and other professionals from the South to multilateral policy issues that affect the development of their countries.
South Unity in diversity, South Progress through cooperation
Promoting South-South cooperation through cooperation with the South’s other institutions such as the G77, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and regional organizations is an important part of the South Centre’s work.
South Unity in action
Promoting South-South cooperation in practice at multilateral policy negotiations is a key aspect of the South Centre’s work, as it seeks to build South unity and progress.
From the South Commission to the South Centre
The journey continues in strengthening the multilateral intergovernmental policy research institution of the South towards South Unity and South Progress.
Innovation and the Global Expansion of Intellectual Property Rights: Unfulfilled Promises
The incorporation of intellectual property into trade agreements has not proven to bring about the promised benefits. The premises that have underpinned the global strengthening and expansion of intellectual property through such agreements – namely that the same standards of protection are suitable for countries with different levels of development and that innovation will be boosted – do not match the reality. (more…)
The boundaries between scientific and technological knowledge are nebulous in some technical fields, such as the biological sciences and their applications. This has led to the appropriation under patents of knowledge (such as on specific genes) of scientific nature, which may not only have negative effects for the further development of science and new technological contributions, but also encroach on the fundamental right of access to science. (more…)
Approaches to International Investment Protection: Divergent Approaches between the TPPA and Developing Countries’ Model Investment Treaties
While the international investment treaty regime is at a conjuncture, States face the challenge of designing reforms that would result in systemic solutions, and not merely cosmetic changes, to the challenges emerging out of the existing regime and the ISDS mechanism it embodies. (more…)
Innovation and Global Intellectual Property Regulatory Regimes – The Tension between Protection and Access in Africa
This paper discusses the participation of African countries in global intellectual property (IP) regimes centred on the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the implications of the expansion of the scope of IP regimes through bilateral trade and investment agreements. (more…)
The Bolar Exception: Legislative Models and Drafting Options
The basic principle of patent law is that once the term of a patent has expired, the protected subject matter becomes a part of the public domain. Hence, it can be freely used, including for commercial purposes, without the interference by the former patent owner. This allows competitors to enter the market immediately after such expiry, eventually leading to lower prices for consumers and welfare gains. (more…)
The Rise of Investor-State Dispute Settlement in the Extractive Sectors: Challenges and Considerations for African Countries
African countries have been active in concluding international investment treaties. They are increasingly subject to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) cases, including claims that challenge regulatory actions of host countries in a wide range of areas, including public services and race relations. At the same time, African States have developed the ‘Africa Mining Vision’, which is aimed at introducing policy (more…)
Implementing Pro-Competitive Criteria for the Examination of Pharmaceutical Patents
This document discusses criteria for implementing the patentability requirements in relation to patent applications covering products and processes, as well as the use of pharmaceutical products. The adoption of rigorous criteria with this purpose is important for four main reasons. (more…)
Foreign Direct Investment, Investment Agreements and Economic Development: Myths and Realities
Foreign direct investment (FDI) is one of the most ambiguous and the least understood concepts in international economics. Common debate on FDI is confounded by several myths regarding its nature and impact on capital accumulation, technological progress, industrialization and growth. It is often portrayed as a long term, stable, cross-border flow of capital that adds to productive capacity, helps meet balance-of-payments shortfalls, transfers technology and management skills, and links domestic firms with wider global markets. However, none of these are intrinsic qualities of FDI. (more…)
Intellectual Property in the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Increasing the Barriers for the Access to Affordable Medicines
Most free trade agreements signed by the United States, the European Union and the members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in the last 15 years contain chapters on intellectual property rights with provisions applicable to pharmaceuticals. Such provisions considerably expand the rights recognized to pharmaceutical companies under the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) established in the context of the World Trade Organization. (more…)
Guidelines on Patentability and Access to Medicines
Until recently, the link between the examination of patents carried out by national patent offices and the right of citizens to access to medicines was not at all clear. They were two functions or responsibilities of the State that apparently had nothing to do with each other. Examining the growing literature on intellectual property and access to medicines, it seems that the analysis of one actor has been left out: the patent offices. (more…)
Internationalization of Finance and Changing Vulnerabilities in Emerging and Developing Economies
After a series of crises with severe economic and social consequences in the 1990s and early 2000s, emerging and developing economies (EDEs) have become even more closely integrated into what is widely recognized as an inherently unstable international financial system. Both policies in these countries and a highly accommodating global financial environment have played a role. Not only have their traditional cross-border linkages been deepened and external balance sheets expanded rapidly, but also foreign presence in their domestic credit, bond, equity and property markets has reached unprecedented levels. (more…)
Transition Period for TRIPS Implementation for LDCs: Implications for Local Production of Medicines in the East African Community
Article 66.1 of the WTO TRIPS Agreement grants the least developed countries (LDCs) a transition period during which they do not have to provide intellectual property rights protection according to the minimum requirements of the TRIPS Agreement. This transition period has been granted to LDCs to ensure that LDCs are not constrained by the existence of IP rights from taking suitable measures to develop a sound and viable technological base in different industrial sectors. (more…)