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.
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.
The Financial Crisis and the Global South: Impact and Prospects
The world economy has not still recovered from the effects of the financial crisis that began almost a decade ago first in the US and then in Europe. Policy response to the crisis, the combination of fiscal restraint and ultra-easy monetary policy, has not only failed to bring about a robust recovery but has also aggravated systemic problems in the global economy, notably inequality and chronic demand gap, on the one hand, and financial fragility, on the other. (more…)
The failure of exceptional monetary measures pursued in response to the financial crisis in advanced economies to achieve a strong recovery has created a widespread concern that these economies suffer from a chronic demand gap and face the prospect of stagnation. This paper reviews and discusses the alternative views on the causes of the slowdown in accumulation and growth and the policies implemented and proposed to deal with it. (more…)
On the Existence of Systemic Issues and their Policy Implications
Systemic issues are issues that arise from the built-in features of the global system and the impact of the interaction of its parts; as implied in the chapter title in the Monterrey Consensus, it pertains to the coherence and consistency of the monetary, finance and trade systems. Systemic issues point at the weak points in the whole global financial “architecture,” the international structures and mechanisms that are beyond the control of individual countries. Systemic issues are a particular concern to developing countries, which have experienced their greatest development reversals during international payments crises. (more…)
The Chairman of the South Centre, H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, former President of Tanzania, has sent a letter to the President of Cuba H.E. Raul Castro to extend the Centre’s condolences on the passing away of President Fidel Castro, who was a friend and supporter of the Centre and the South Commission. Below is the letter.
Recovering Sovereignty Over Natural Resources: The Cases of Bolivia and Ecuador
This document analyzes the renegotiation process of oil and gas contracts in two Latin American countries, Bolivia and Ecuador, from 2003 to 2010 and the measures taken for sectorial policy reform in the hydrocarbon sector and our conclusions are that it has been favourable. (more…)
Debt Dynamics in China – Serious problems but an imminent crisis is unlikely
Recently, there have been many articles in the international media predicting that China is facing an imminent financial/debt crisis worse than the 2008 US sub-prime crash. However, a closer look at the debt dynamics in China highlights some fundamental differences be-tween the debt situation of the source country of the 2008 global financial crisis and that of China. (more…)
Investment Treaties: Views and Experiences from Developing Countries
About the book: This book discusses the relationship between foreign direct investment, investment agreements and economic development. It examines the experiences of five developing countries reviewing their approach to international investment agreements and seeking alternatives in this area, including South Africa, Indonesia, India, Argentina, and Ecuador. Through reviewing investor-state dispute settlement cases, the book highlights how investment protection rules and the way they have been interpreted by arbitral tribunals have undermined the states’ right to adopt measures to protect public health and challenged the use of policy tools essential for industrialization. The book also discusses options for rethinking investment-related dispute settlement, including the option to reform the arbitration rules that apply to the disputes, and poses the question “What should investment-related dispute settlement look like if we were to start anew?”.
Liberalization, Financial Instability and Economic Development
About the book: Weighing up the costs and benefits of economic interdependence in a finance-driven world, this book argues that globalization, understood and promoted as absolute freedom for all forms of capital, has been oversold to the Global South, and that the South should be as selective about globalization as the North. The book challenges the orthodoxy on the link between financial deepening and economic growth, as well as that between the efficiency of financial markets and the benefits of liberalization. Ultimately, the author urges developing countries to control capital flows and asset bubbles, preventing financial fragility and crises, and recommends regional policy options for managing capital flows and exchange rates.
Financial Crisis and Global Imbalances: A Development Perspective
About the book: This book examines – from a standpoint of promoting stability and growth in developing countries – key policy lessons to be drawn from the devastating global economic crisis of 2008-09. In this collection of papers on the 2008-09 Great Recession and its implications, leading economist Yılmaz Akyüz underlines the need for economic restructuring along the above lines with a view to more effective crisis prevention and intervention. Given their vulnerability to shocks and limited capacity to respond, he says, this reform process is an endeavor in which developing economies have a crucial interest.
The issues raised in this report reflect major ongoing concerns about food security in developing countries. Several of these issues were addressed in the “Rome Declaration on World Food Security and World Food Summit Plan of Action”. However, they were dealt with in a somewhat superficial manner. Moreover, Northern interests and the liberalization agenda embedded in the “Washington consensus” heavily influenced this Summit document. More serious for the interests of the South may be that no politically realistic strategy emerged for mobilizing popularly based movements and governments to eliminate hunger.
The purpose of this publication is to emphasize in an integrated manner a set of food security issues and policies of particular concern to peoples and governments of developing countries. The South Centre hopes it will contribute to more effective actions towards universal food security. An earlier version of this paper was prepared as a contribution to discussions at the World Food Summit held at FAO Headquarters, 13-17 November 1996.
The Right to Development, Small Island Developing States and the SAMOA Pathway
In 2015, the United Nations community reached agreements on updating the financing for development mechanisms, Agenda 2030 and an updated climate change regime. The SAMOA pathway is an important resource and an input to these efforts. (more…)