South Centre Statement to the High Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response
20 September 2023
The UN HLMs on health have helped drive the highest level of political commitment to key global health issues. The HLD on PPR today underplays the seriousness of the crisis the world experienced with the Covid-19 pandemic and fails to provide the level of political support and guidance to the critical negotiations taking place in Geneva for an international instrument and amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005).
The South Centre will continue to support developing countries in these processes and seek to promote constructive dialogue with other UN members and stakeholders.
The Right to Development: Principles, Realization and Challenges
By H.E. Mr. Ali Bahreini
The main theme of the 54th session of the Human Rights Council revolves around economic, social, and cultural rights, with a particular focus on the right to development. This article addresses the importance of the right to development, the Iranian perspective on it, and the impact of various challenges on its full and effective realization.
STATEMENT OF THE SOUTHCENTRE AT THE SUMMIT OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE G77 PLUS CHINA
Havana, Cuba, 09.16.2023
This summit can contribute to consolidate the cooperation mechanisms between G77 member countries and the Non-Aligned Movement for the reform of the United Nations system and the global financial, trade and fiscal architecture where the interests and rights of developing countries are respected. It is also necessary to make effective the financial and technology transfer obligations of developed countries in the fight against climate change, including the operationalization of the loss and damage fund agreed at COP27.
The South Centre, as an intergovernmental organization created by and for developing countries, has benefited from strong cooperation with the Group of 77+China since its inception. We remain firmly committed to such cooperation in a variety of areas where the Group focuses its efforts.
Financial Support for Civil Society Advocacy during World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW) 2023
The South Centre invites applications from the members of the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition (ARC), other civil society organizations and research institutions from developing countries for limited financial funding (maximum 2000 USD) to design and launch or extend advocacy campaigns engaging communities to address AMR.
The scope of the campaigns can be human health, the human-animal interface, use of antimicrobials in food production systems, and the role of the environment in the transmission and spread of AMR.
The campaigns should take place around the World AMR Awareness Week 2023. The WAAW 2023 Theme is ‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together”, to be celebrated from 18 to 24 November 2023.
Promoting Jordan’s Use of Compulsory Licensing During the Pandemic
By Laila Barqawi
This paper addresses the difficulties in utilizing Article 31 bis of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) on compulsory licensing for the export of pharmaceuticals during the pandemic through the case study of Jordan. This paper also recommends that Jordanian officials seek to capitalize on the pandemic whilst the Jordanian Defense Law and Orders are in effect to include Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as a direct ground for applying compulsory licensing, introduce clauses similar to those introduced by countries who have signed FTAs with the US, as well as deactivate harmful clauses within its national laws that prevent the application and utilization of a compulsory license. Further, Jordanian officials should seek the opportunity, considering the change of stance of the Biden administration towards compulsory licensing, to re-negotiate favourable terms in the Jordanian – US Free Trade Agreement (JUSFTA). Moreover, Jordanian officials should also form a syndicate that calls for the overhauling of TRIPS at Article 31 bis when an EUA is invoked in any country.
Least Developed Countries and Their Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals
By Peter Lunenborg
This Research Paper reviews Least Developed Countries’ (LDCs) collective progress on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), based on the available data on the indicators for the 169 SDG targets. It makes recommendations for LDCs and other States to consider advancing in relevant UN processes as well as the WTO’s.
LDCs made progress on 28% of the SDGs. This collective progress shows that these countries are far from achieving what were deemed achievable goals in 2015. With respect to trade-related SDGs, LDCs have not made progress on any of the five trade-related SDGs that mention LDCs specifically.
This paper does not delve into the causes of this gap, but it suggests that international cooperation and, particularly, the developed countries’ assistance, has been insufficient to address the needs of a large part of the world population that still lives in poverty and without hope of a better future. However, the Doha Programme of Action (DPoA), a development framework with targets specifically for LDCs -which overlap with SDG targets- appears to dilute several original SDG targets, in particular those in SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
Value Addition or Trade Misinvoicing: Coal Trading in the Asia-Pacific
By Manuel F. Montes and Peter Lunenborg
Statistics on coal trade between India, Singapore and Indonesia suggest that trade misinvoicing is used as a vehicle for illicit financial flows. At present this practice is not well addressed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s tax standards. Asia-Pacific countries should intensify cooperation on this issue. Other international organizations with a mandate in this area could also play a role, for instance the World Trade Organization. Ultimately, increased cooperation would help to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 16.4 which inter alia aims, by 2030, to significantly reduce illicit financial flows.
The 1944 “Bretton Woods Agreement” gave birth to the new international financial system marked by the centrality of the US dollar which is a crucial pillar of the global power of the United States. Over the past eight decades, the asymmetry of the shrinking US economic weight in the world economy and growing dominant role of the dollar has become more and more glaring. The disadvantages of overreliance on the dollar have been keenly felt, especially by developing countries. The recent moves to weaponize the dollar and the payment clearance system have triggered another wave of reassessment by national states and enterprises of the role of the dollar and led to the hitherto most broad-based de-dollarization process covering from Southeast Asia to Latin America and the Middle East. De-dollarization has been incrementally taking place in different forms and led by BRICS and some commodity exporting countries. However, there are many challenges to meaningful de-dollarization. Overall, de-dollarization efforts, despite important progress, have been limited and partial. There has been progress in reducing overreliance on the dollar through foreign exchange reserve diversification and trade invoicing as evidenced by the decline in the dollar’s share of allocated foreign exchange reserves and the increase of trade invoiced and transacted in currencies other than the dollar. However, on aspects requiring the deep financial market and wide network such as foreign exchange transactions, issuance of debt and payment clearance, the dollar’s share has not suffered a decline. To reform the international financial system, the BRICS in particular should continue to take the lead in furthering the de-dollarization efforts.
The GloBE Rules: Challenges for Developing Countries and Smart Policy Options to Protect Their Tax Base
By Emmanuel Eze, Sol Picciotto, Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, Abdul Muheet Chowdhary, Bob Michel and Tommaso Faccio
The OECD global minimum tax of 15%, known as the Global Anti-Base Erosion (GloBE) Rules, have meant that developing countries need to consider what policy responses to take to ensure they collect the minimum tax and not cede it to developed countries. One option being promoted by the OECD is the “Qualified Domestic Minimum Top Up Tax” (QDMTT), with the claim that it will help developing countries collect the minimum tax of 15%. This Policy Brief points out that under the QDMTT MNEs can still pay zero taxes, it does not guarantee tax collection, it is complex to administer, it curtails national sovereignty in the form of the “peer review” mechanism and it is relevant mainly for tax havens which are destinations of profit shifting. The Brief then outlines policy options relevant for developing countries, namely Alternative Minimum Taxes (AMTs) and reform of tax incentives.
COVID-19, Future Pandemics and the Africa Care Economy Index
By Salimah Valiani
In Africa, the care economy has long been unrecognised. At least since the last major pandemic in Africa, HIV-AIDS, caring work has been severely undervalued in the continent, and the redistribution of caring work, from females in the home and communities, is next to nonexistent. Undoing this structural inequality is crucial to improve health and wellbeing of girls and women in Africa, to be prepared for future pandemics, and to realise Africa’s demographic dividend for the benefit of the majority. To achieve this, the Africa Care Economy Index is offered as a policy, advocacy, and accountability tool.
Neglected Dimension of the Inventive Step as Applied to Pharmaceutical and Biotechnological Products: The case of Sri Lanka’s patent law
By Ruwan Fernando
Apart from the basic statutory definition in section 65 of the Intellectual Property Act of Sri Lanka, there do not appear to be any detailed statutory guidelines or judicial decisions to provide any framework for the assessment of inventive step in Sri Lanka. The current statutory definition is highly insufficient to evaluate the standard of obviousness in relation to biotechnological and pharmaceutical claims based on a combination or modification of a prior art reference.
The Courts in both developed and developing countries have adopted a variety of tests to evaluate the obviousness standard of a claimed invention based on a combination or modification of a prior art reference. Sri Lanka, as a developing country, should look at the development that has taken place in other jurisdictions and adapt the patent law to local conditions when developing tests or guidelines in a manner that is compatible with the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and its biotechnology/pharmaceutical policy guidelines.
This approach that is appropriate to Sri Lanka is twofold. First, it is most likely to prevent the issuance of patents on trivial or incremental inventions that do not provide any technical advance to the existing prior art and are a mere extension of what is already known in the prior art. Second, it is most likely to protect genuine technical advances to the existing prior art while at the same time enhancing competition and promoting local innovations so that the local researchers will be able to draw on the existing knowledge for the purpose of follow-on innovations.