The Board and Council of the South Centre Hold Meetings in Geneva
The end of January and the beginning of February 2013 saw the South Centre organising a series of events centred around the 30th meeting of its Board and the XIVth meeting of its Council of Representatives, and included a reception for the Member States and a holding of a South Conference on the global economic crisis and review of multilateral negotiations.
Board meeting and reception
Under the chairmanship of South Centre Board Chairman Benjamin William Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Board of the South Centre held its 30th meeting on 29 and 30 January 2013 in Geneva. The Board is the governance body of the South Centre that is tasked to review and approve the work programme and the annual budget of the South Centre, and report on these to the Council of Representatives of the member States of the South Centre which serves as the highest policymaking body of the organisation.
At its 30th meeting, the Board reviewed the Centre’s activities that were undertaken in 2012 and approved the work plan for 2013. The Board also reviewed the Centre’s financial status and approved its budget for 2013. The Board also agreed to nominate two new Board members. They are Mr. Ransford Smith who was the Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations and a former Ambassador of Jamaica to the UN and WTO in Geneva, and Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz of the Philippines, Founder and Executive Director of the Tebtebba Foundation (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education).
A reception was hosted by the South Centre at its office on 29 January. It was attended by the Board members, many ambassadors and senior officials from the permanent missions of the member States of the South Centre and other developing countries, and of international organisations and NGOs based in Geneva. At the reception, Chairman Mkapa stressed the crucial importance to the South Centre of the continuing support being provided by its member States and other developing countries in enabling the South Centre to carry out its mandate to strengthen South-South solidarity and unity in today’s global context. Chairman Mkapa expressed his appreciation for the work of the Board and of the Secretariat. Many ambassadors also made speeches appreciating the South Centre’s work and reaffirmed to continue providing support to the Centre.
Meeting of the Council of Representatives
The 14th meeting of the Council of Representatives of the member States of the South Centre took place on the afternoon of 31 January 2013 at the Palais des Nations, and was attended by the ambassadors and senior officials of the member States. It was chaired by the Convenor of the Council, Ambassador Abdul Minty of South Africa.
The Council elected Mr. Dilip Sinha, Ambassador of India to the UN in Geneva, to serve as the Vice-Convenor of the Council for a three-year term.
The Council then heard the report of Mr. Martin Khor, Executive Director of the South Centre Secretariat, on the Centre’s activities and financial situation. The Convenor and the Chairman of the Board encouraged all member States to ensure their continued financial support to the Centre as the best means for strengthening the Centre’s ability to support the South in various multilateral forums.
Many representatives of the South Centre’s member States spoke in appreciation of the Centre’s work and its activities during 2012, particularly in terms of the assistance provided by the Centre to developing countries in negotiations at the WTO, WIPO, UNCTAD, UNFCCC, WMO, and on issues relating to the global economy, the global financial crisis and the right to development. The research output of the Centre was appreciated by the representatives for their quality, usefulness, and ability to provide developing country perspectives on global issues. The member States also appreciated that the Centre’s financial situation had improved, with an increased operational surplus in 2012 following on from the operational surpluses generated in 2009-2011. Among the member States whose representatives spoke were the Philippines, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, Tanzania, South Africa, Algeria, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, China, Cuba, Barbados and Ghana.
The Chairman of the Board then put forward for the consideration of the Council of Representatives the Board’s nomination of Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Mr. Ransford Smith to serve on the Board of the South Centre. Their nomination was unanimously approved by the Council.