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.
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…)
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?”.
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…)
The outcome of the Third International Financing for Development Conference held in Addis Ababa on 13-16 July 2015 exposes the waning state of multilateral development cooperation today. In the outcome, which was nevertheless grandly called the “Addis Ababa Action Agenda” (AAAA), there were no new commitments and no proposed actions that can properly be deemed responsive either to (1) the flimsy state of international financing today or (2) the financing requirements of the UN’s new development agenda based on the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). (more…)
This policy brief is based on the working paper “The Decade of Adjustment: A Review of Austerity Trends 2010-2020 in 187 Countries” by Isabel Ortiz, Matthew Cummins, Jeronim Capaldo and Kalaivani Karunanethy, published by (more…)
The Decade of Adjustment: A Review of Austerity Trends 2010-2020 in 187 Countries
By Isabel Ortiz, Matthew Cummins, Jeronim Capaldo, Kalaivani Karunanethy. Geneva: ILO, IPD Columbia University and the South Centre.
This paper: (i) examines the latest IMF government spending projections for 187 countries between 2005 and 2020; (ii) reviews 616 IMF country reports in 183 countries to identify the main adjustment measures considered by governments in both high-income and developing countries; (iii) applies the United Nations Global Policy Model to simulate (more…)
Foreign Direct Investment, Investment Agreements and Economic Development: Myths and Realities
Foreign direct investment (FDI) is one of the most ambiguous and the least understood concepts in international economics. Common debate on FDI is confounded by several myths regarding its nature and impact on capital accumulation, technological progress, industrialization and growth. It is often portrayed as a long term, stable, cross-border flow of capital that adds to productive capacity, helps meet balance-of-payments shortfalls, transfers technology and management skills, and links domestic firms with wider global markets. However, none of these are intrinsic qualities of FDI. (more…)
Financing for Development Conference 2015: A View from the South
On 19 July 2014 the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations agreed on a draft of a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, taking the first steps toward a renewed development agenda for after 2015. The effort to agree on the SDGs was the follow up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), whose end-date is 2015. Aside from the 17 specific goals, the draft SDGs included 169 associated targets. (more…)
Globalization, Export-Led Growth and Inequality: The East Asian Story
Over the last three decades, several East Asian economies have grown by leaps and bounds. The success of their export-led growth model is regarded, and copied, by many emerging economies as a sure path to achieve high-income status. But with impressive growth came worsening inequality both in personal income and functional income distribution. (more…)