In Focus

South Centre Quarterly Report, October-December 2018

South Centre Quarterly Report, 1 October to 31 December 2018

This report summarizes the programmatic activities of the South Centre during the period 1st October to 31 December 2018. It is intended to provide information, organized by Program and themes, about recent developments in the areas covered by the South Centre’s Work Program and publications made and meetings organized or co-organized by the Centre to examine particular issues or to provide analytical support for international negotiations taking place in various fora. It also informs about external conferences and other meetings where the Centre has participated.


Investment Policy Brief 13, December 2018

IP Licence, Trademarks and ISDS: Bridgestone v. Panama

Can an intellectual property right or a license authorizing its use be deemed an ‘investment’ under bilateral investment treaties? This policy brief discusses the arguments submitted by the parties in the Bridgestone Licensing Services, Inc. and  Bridgestone Americas, Inc. v. Republic of Panama case on questions regarding a trademark license agreement. Bridgestone Licensing Services, Inc. (BSLS) and Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) together initiated arbitration proceedings on the grounds that Panama’s Supreme Court decision was unjust and arbitrary, violated Panama’s obligations under the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA),  expropriated their investments, and violated the requirement of fair and equitable treatment (FET) to BSLS’s and BSAM’s investments.


Research Paper 90, December 2018

Compulsory Licensing Jurisprudence in South Africa: Do We Have Our Priorities Right?

Compulsory licences are generally available on a variety of grounds, most notably on patents where the patentee is found to have abused its rights in one manner or another. This research paper attempts to review South African case law on applications for compulsory licences since the inception of the current legislation, analyse the interpretations placed on the relevant sections, and draw conclusions about judicial reasoning, impediments to the grant of such licences, and generally the courts’ approach to disputes relating to patents.


In Memoriam – Bernarditas de Castro-Mueller

South Centre extends its condolences to the family of Ms. Bernarditas de Castro-Mueller, former Special Adviser for Climate Change of the South Centre



After a prolonged illness, retired Filipina diplomat and veteran climate change negotiator Ms. Bernarditas de Castro-Mueller passed away peacefully in Geneva on 14 December 2018. Ms. Mueller was a Special Adviser to the South Centre as well as an environmental adviser to the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines. She had represented the Philippines in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since its inception in 1994 and played important roles in representing and negotiating for her country and for developing countries in the negotiations for the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

Ms. Mueller was the Co-Chair representing developing countries of the UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance; she also served for a number of years as the coordinator and lead negotiator of the Group of 77 and China (the largest negotiating group for developing countries in the UNFCCC) on climate change finance-related issues in the UNFCCC climate change negotiations, including during the negotiations in Paris in 2015 that resulted in the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement.

Ms. Mueller was an amazing woman in her fierce commitment to climate justice and ensuring that developing countries had the tools they require to address the impacts of climate change and to ensure sustainable development and poverty eradication.  She has trained numerous developing countries’ negotiators on climate change issues.

The South Centre is proud to have been a part of Ms. Mueller’s life and to have benefited from her work and her experience in furthering the Centre’s objective of supporting developing countries in becoming more effective in their engagement in multilateral climate change issues.

The Centre extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Mueller in this time of great loss and grief.

Investment Policy Brief 12, December 2018

Investor-State Dispute Settlement: An Anachronism Whose Time Has Gone

Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) – a mechanism that allows foreign investors to bring claims against host governments to an international arbitral tribunal – is a relic that should be abolished. Its alleged benefits have not materialized and its costs – monetary and other – can represent a formidable obstacle to good economic governance. We recommend policymakers to terminate ISDS provisions in existing agreements and eschew them in future trade and investment treaties.


Tax Cooperation Policy Brief 5, December 2018

The Definition and Treatment of Tax Havens in Brazilian Tax  Law between 1995 and 2015

Over the years, a number of ‘tax haven lists’ have been created at the national and international level, with varying definitions and criteria used to identify jurisdictions falling under their scope. This policy brief presents the experience of Brazil in compiling their national list of tax havens, the road map they followed for its implementation, and the impact that it has had on their foreign investment flows. It also provides the lessons learnt from this experience, which can be positively utilized by other developing countries.



Vacancy Announcement – Communications Expert


* The Vacancy for the post of Communications Expert announced on 28 August 2018 is hereby cancelled. Thank you.

The South Centre is seeking to fill a position of Communications Expert to assist in the effective development and implementation of a communication and media strategy. The Communications Expert will work with substantive programs of the South Centre in particular with the Programme on Development, Innovation and Intellectual Property (DIIP) team in the context of a project to boost the capacity of governments from developing countries to use the flexibilities contained in the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to promote access to essential medicines.

For more information, please click here.


Request for Proposals for appointment of the Statutory Auditors (including the Terms of Engagement)

The South Centre is the inter-governmental policy research institution of developing countries, with a current membership of 54 developing countries from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The South Centre promotes more effective South-South cooperation and coordination, supports developing countries in participating in and voicing their development interests and priorities more effectively in various multilateral and regional development policy-related issues and fora, and provides policy advice and technical assistance to governments on their national development-related policies.

The audit will be conducted in accordance with the International Standards of Audit. The scope of the external audit engagement will include:

  • Opinion on the annual statutory financial statements;
  • Confirmation of existence of internal control systems over financial reporting; and
  • Opinion on the South Centre Provident Fund annual financial statements.

The external auditors are a key assurance service provider to the South Centre, extending to an on-going business advisory support in determining the accounting and reporting obligations due to changes in operational policies, internal control environment or as necessitated by the changes in accounting policies as well as any other applicable statutory obligations. To that effect, the external auditor will issue a management letter including recommendations for improvements in controls and procedures.

By virtue of the audit engagement, the external auditors will report to the Finance Committee and, if needed, to the Board on an annual basis. Other ad-hoc attendance at the Audit and Ethics Committee and the Board may also be required.

For more information, click here.

Research Paper 89, November 2018

History and Politics of Climate Change Adaptation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

This research paper provides a perspective on how climate change adaptation has progressed in the multilateral space, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It describes adaptation and financial institutions under the climate regime and the current scope of their activities. The paper highlights the challenges that lie ahead, particularly around financing, for developing countries to adapt to a rapidly warming world and presents recommendations for the governments to accord higher priority to adaptation.


Research Paper 88, November 2018

Assessment of South-South Cooperation and the Global Narrative on the Eve of BAPA+40

This research paper gives a brief account of the fast expansion of South-South cooperation (SSC) in volume, modalities and participating countries and institutions. Though SSC is a de facto development compact, there is a tendency to overstate the total concessional financial element of SSC compared to Official Development Assistance (ODA), as SSC constitutes only a small portion of the total ODA from traditional donors.   North-South cooperation (NSC) is still the dominant pillar of development finance; hence SSC needs to be regarded as a complement to and not a substitute for NSC. (more…)


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