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.

North-South Dialogue

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.


Map shows South Centre Membership as of 2015.

Gamani COREA (Chairman, 2002-2003)

Gamani Corea, Sri Lanka, attended the University of Ceylon, following which he studied at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University and Nuffield College, Oxford University. He held a DPhil degree in economics from Oxford University.

His career at the national level had included tenures with the Planning Secretariat and eventually the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, where he held the post of Permanent Secretary (1965-1970), and with the Central Bank of Ceylon, where he held the post of Deputy Governor (1970-1973). Mr. Corea was ambassador of his country to the European Economic Community (EEC) and Benelux countries (1973).

His deep involvement in the multilateral scene and United Nations (UN) development agenda began with his engagement as a member of the team of experts which helped to prepare the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD I) under the leadership of Raúl Prebisch (1963-1964). He was a member of the UN Committee on Development Planning (1965-1972) and, following Professor Jan Tinbergen, the Chairman of the Committee (1972-1974). Mr. Corea was the Secretary-General of UNCTAD from 1974 to 1984.

Among many other important functions in the multilateral system, Mr. Corea was the independent chairman of the UN Cocoa Conference (1972), Chairman of the Founex Expert Group on Development and Environment (1971) that met in preparation for the UN Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE), Chairman of UNCTAD Expert Groups on International Monetary Issues (1965 and 1969), Chairman of the UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (1981), and Chairman of the UN General Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole on the International Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade (1989-90).

Mr. Corea had played a very active and central role in different domains of South-South cooperation. He was the drafter of the resolution which launched the Group of 77 at the conclusion of UNCTAD I in 1964.

Mr. Corea was a member of the South Commission (1987-1990), member of the Board of the South Centre (1995-1998), and Chairman of the South Centre’s Policy and Research Committee (1998-2001). Mr. Corea played an active part in directing and supervising the work of the South Centre.

He chaired the South Centre’s Group of Experts on Financing for Development (2001), and prepared a paper which was submitted to the Group of 77 to assist it in its participation in the work of the Preparatory Committee for the UN Conference on Financing for Development. He had chaired the NAM Ad Hoc Advisory Group of Experts on Debt (1993-1994) and the NAM  Ad Hoc Panel of Economists (1997-1998), submitting its report to the XII Non-Aligned Movement Summit held in 1998 in Durban, South Africa.

Mr. Corea had remained active on the multilateral scene. He had played an active role in the regional mechanisms for South-South cooperation, and in particular South Asian Association for Regional Co-Operation (SAARC). He addressed UNCTAD X in Bangkok (2000), in his capacity as a former Secretary-General of UNCTAD, and made a statement on the occasion of marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Raúl Prebisch (2001).

Mr. Corea had written extensively, and had published many articles and books. A Festschrift honouring Gamani Corea, edited by Sidney Dell, was published under the title Policies for Development, Macmillan in 1991.

Mr. Corea occupied many honorary, academic, civic and advisory posts in Sri Lanka, including that of the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Institute of Policy Studies and Chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka, as well as positions abroad, including that of Honorary Fellow, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University. He held several honorary doctorates, decorations and awards.

Mr. Corea passed away on 3 November 2013.

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