Issues

Tax Cooperation Policy Brief No. 38, 15 May 2024

The Design of a UN Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation

By Sol Picciotto

The creation of a UN-led framework for international tax cooperation is an opportunity for an institutional and conceptual reset, to re-establish a global perspective that has been disrupted by the assumption of an increasingly dominant role in international tax by the OECD. The OECD’s expansive proselytisation of its approach, aiming to encourage foreign investment by restricting taxation of income at source where it derives, has paradoxically taken place in counterpoint with growing concerns about the evident dysfunctionality of that approach. The current process should learn from the past to design a global framework fit for the future, by embodying the aims and general principles that have come to be recognised especially in the recent period as essential guideposts for effective international tax reform.

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SC Statement – WIPO Diplomatic Conference on GRs & Associated TK, 13-24 May 2024

STATEMENT

Diplomatic Conference on Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge

Geneva, May 13-24, 2024

The South Centre at WIPO Diplomatic Conference urges strong improvements in Basic Proposal for IP and genetic resources treaty: clear minimum standards for patent disclosure, digital sequence information inclusion & WIPO website for monitoring claims. Searching consensus must not impede this vital treaty to incorporate effective measures against misappropriation.

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SouthViews No. 264, 10 May 2024

Understanding the Interconnected Threats to Global Sustainability: A Focus on Deforestation, Traditional Knowledge, and Biopiracy

By Marissa Costa De Castro

This paper examines the interconnected threats of climate change, deforestation, misappropriation of traditional knowledge (TK), and the detrimental phenomenon of biopiracy. It discusses the profound impacts of deforestation on climate change, with an illustrative case study centered on Brazil’s Matopiba region. Additionally, it investigates the intricate relationship between TK, land grabbing, and biopiracy within indigenous and local communities.

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G-24 South Centre Call for Papers

G-24 South Centre Call For Papers: Comparing tax revenues to be generated from United Nations and OECD Subject To Tax Rule (STTR)

Deadline – 1 July 2024

The G-24 and the South Centre have launched this Call For Papers providing funding for studies which can produce country level comparative revenue estimates of the UN and OECD STTR on the 65 combined Member States of the South Centre (available here) and the G-24 (available here). The data should clearly provide how much revenue each Member State will get if they opt for the UN STTR vs the OECD STTR. The objective is to help Member States of both intergovernmental organizations make informed decisions on adopting the version of the STTR which is more beneficial to them.

Member States of the G-24 and the South Centre are advised to wait till the publication of the results of this study before taking a decision on whether or not to sign the OECD STTR MLI.

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Policy Brief 129, 7 May 2024

The WIPO Diplomatic Conference for a Treaty on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge

By Viviana Muñoz Tellez

A new international legal instrument is set to be concluded under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in May 2024. Its legal nature should be that of an international treaty, given that a Diplomatic Conference, the last treaty making stage, will be held for its conclusion. The purpose of the instrument (hereinafter “the Treaty”) is to create an international minimum standard for patent applicants to provide information concerning the origin or source of the genetic resources or traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources as part of the patent application process. This Policy Brief provides an overview of the rationale for the Treaty and of the process and substantive issues to be negotiated, and advances recommendations towards ensuring a successful conclusion of the Diplomatic Conference.

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SouthViews No. 263, 1 May 2024

The Protection of Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions, Expressions of Folklore and Genetic Resources Within the African Continental Free Trade Area – Alignment with International and Regional Developments  

By Caroline B. Ncube

The adoption of the Protocol on Intellectual Property Rights under the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area presents an opportune moment to consider a continental framework for the protection of Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions, Expressions of Folklore and Genetic Resources. This SouthViews considers lessons which can be drawn from national laws, using South Africa as an example, for the relevant Annex to be negotiated under the protocol.

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Statements on IPRs of BBNJ, April 2024

Statements on Understanding on Intellectual Property Rights at time of Signature or Ratification of the BBNJ Treaty

South Centre

The Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) negotiations did not fully address issues of intellectual property rights (IPRs), but countries can make statements on IPRs at the time of signature and/or on ratification of the BBNJ. Read our recommendations:

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IsDB, SC, UNCTAD & UNOSSC Joint Publication, April 2024

Leveraging the Potential of South-South and Triangular Cooperation for the Decade of Action

A joint publication by Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), South Centre, United Nations Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC)

This document was prepared for a Side Event to the 19th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit and Third South Summit, held in Kampala, Uganda in January 2024.

This joint initiative is meant to provide a detailed look at the current state of South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTrC) and consider how international development cooperation and the role of developing countries can be enhanced in the future.

The paper aims to, inter alia, explore the landscape of SSTrC uncovered by the COVID-19 pandemic and recent global events; look at how the pandemic acted as a stress test for international cooperation; consider the national institution building necessary for effectively engaging in SSTrC; and suggest different ways forward for leveraging SSTrC towards building resilient societies and achieving national development priorities, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It considers the possibilities of leveraging SSTrC for enhancing the transfer of knowledge, experiences and technologies within the Global South and increased capacity building in developing countries.

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SCTI Annual Report 2023

2023 ANNUAL REPORT ON THE ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT BY THE SOUTH CENTRE TAX INITIATIVE

The South Centre’s interventions have had a significant impact in helping developing countries bring about major reforms to the international tax system in 2023. Key achievements include the passage of the historic resolution in the United Nations General Assembly for the initiation of a UN Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation, the successful end of a twenty year long negotiation in the UN Tax Committee for taxing computer software, the passage of an enhanced version of the Subject to Tax Rule in the UN Tax Committee for ending non-taxation in tax treaties, country level revenue estimates on the OECD digital tax solution vs Digital Services Taxes for the 85 combined Member States of the South Centre and the African Union, and extensive in-country capacity building for several South Centre Member States for taxing the digital economy and tax treaty negotiations.

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