United Nations System

SouthViews No. 187, 11 October 2019

The Importance of “Developing National Ecosystems for South-South and Triangular Cooperation to Achieve Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” – on the occasion of launching the publication

By Yuefen LI

To maximize the benefits of South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTrC), it would be imperative to have an effective “national ecosystem” – an institutional framework at national level. Over the years, the pace of institutional improvements in conducting SSTrC by Southern countries has lagged far behind the fast expansion of SSTrC in size, making it a constraint for unleashing the full potential of SSTrC. On 26 September 2019, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the South Centre and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) launched the joint publication entitled “Developing National Ecosystems for South-South and Triangular Cooperation to Achieve Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development” on the side lines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. It discusses how to strengthen national ecosystems to promote SSTrC. The concept of national ecosystem advocates a bottom-up and incremental approach. It emphasizes that the national ecosystem is not meant to be prescriptive or a one size fits all model. Developing an effective national ecosystem for SSTrC requires understanding of the national realities and objectives and takes time, effort, commitments and financing. (more…)

SouthViews No. 186, 10 October 2019

Last chance for the Global South? Pursuing the South’s interests in reforming the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system in the multilateral arena

By Jose Manuel Alvarez Zarate and Maciej Żenkiewicz

The current Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system is mainly criticized for its lack of transparency, unbalanced rights and obligations between State and investors, and the expansive interpretation of arbitrators of the investment protection treaties’ vague rules. Any reform of the ISDS should benefit developing countries that are facing most of the ISDS claims. The decisions taken at the thirty-seventh session of the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group III (WGIII) on ISDS Reform (New York, 1-5 April 2019) are likely to influence the way in which the discussions about the reform of ISDS at the multilateral level will go. The developing countries should shape their agenda in such a way to facilitate consensus in the context of advancing their collective interests and perspectives. (more…)

SouthViews No. 183, 12 July 2019

BAPA+40 is an Impetus to the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

By Yuefen LI

The United Nations Second High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) not only gave an impetus to the further expansion of South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTrC) but also to the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Currently, the main task is how to implement the outcome document of BAPA+40. (more…)

SouthViews No. 181, 25 June 2019

UN tax committee gets a boost through new working methods

By Abdul Muheet Chowdhary

The UN in May published a document titled ‘Practices and Working Methods for the Committee Of Experts On International Cooperation In Tax Matters’. For those who believe that the UN should play a stronger role in the governance of international tax, this is a welcome development. The document further deepens the institutionalisation of the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters (henceforth UN tax committee) by developing new working methods and making several clarifications. Some of these are welcome while others are problematic. Overall, it is clarified that the working methods must be read in conjunction with the rules of procedure of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and in the case of inconsistency, the ECOSOC rules are to prevail. (more…)

SouthViews No. 179, 3 May 2019

2030 Sustainable Development Agenda with Focus on Education Goal – SDG 4

By Kishore Singh

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development must be considered bearing in mind the right to education as an internationally recognized right as well as the right to development. Below is the keynote presentation by Kishore Singh, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, at the Asian High-level Forum on Human Rights on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (more…)

SouthViews No. 176, 6 March 2019

South Africa’s South-South cooperation 40 years after BAPA

By Neissan Alessandro Besharati

As member states and the United Nations (UN) prepare to come together for the 2nd High Level Conference on South-South cooperation (SSC) forty years after the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA), this article reflects on the journey South Africa has made in implementing technical cooperation with developing countries (TCDC). Although the Apartheid government of Pretoria was excluded from the discussions in Buenos Aires, in the last two decades South Africa has played a major role in SSC, promoting capacity building, exchange of experiences, and TCDC in Africa and intra-regionally. The article will explore the degree of compliance by South Africa with the 38 recommendations (Recs. 1-38) set out in the BAPA, and the follow up work still required, both nationally and globally, to advance the SSC agenda. (more…)

SouthViews No. 175, 8 February 2019

24th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC: The US COP?

By Mariama Williams

Despite its stated intentions to leave the Paris Agreement, the United States negotiating team continued to dominate many of the negotiations of key areas of the twenty-fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) agenda of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The outcome of the meeting, branded the ‘Katowice Climate Package’, again showed developing countries sacrificing many redlines to save multilateralism. The Katowice Outcome reflects very little substantial advancement of the global climate protection agenda. However, the discussion and further refining of the rules will continue in the UNFCCC’s upcoming negotiating sessions in 2019 as well as COP 25. Hence, developing countries have a chance to regroup and push forward to ensure sustainable development objectives are ensured and protected.

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Policy Brief 48, June 2018

Collaboration or Co-optation? A review of the Platform for Collaboration on Tax

By Manuel F. Montes and Pooja Rangaprasad

The Platform for Collaboration on Tax (PCT), launched in April 2016, is an effort to intensify cooperation on tax issues among the staff of the OECD, IMF, World Bank and the United Nations.  The PCT’s stated objectives include the production of joint outputs, strengthening interactions between standard setting, capacity building and technical assistance and sharing information. PCT has since produced toolkits on issues such as tax incentives, transfer pricing, and taxation of offshore indirect transfers. The PCT also held its first global conference in February 2018 at the UN where a concluding ‘conference statement’, negotiated among the four secretariats, was produced.

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Statement, November 2017

South Centre Statement for the UNCTAD Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Financing for Development

Below is the statement by the South Centre during the first session of the UNCTAD Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Financing for Development (IGE Ffd) held in Geneva on 8-10 November 2017.

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SC Side Event to the UNGA 72, 21 September 2017

Title:              Rethinking Development in the Context of the 2030 Agenda – A South Centre interaction with developing country delegations on key issues and challenges ahead in the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the UNGA 72 session

Date:              Thursday, 21 September 2017, 16:00-18:00

Venue:           Conference Room D at the UN Headquarters, New York

Organizers:  The South Centre

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SouthViews No. 154, 4 August 2017

Public-Private Partnerships as the Answer . . . What was the Question?

By Manuel F. Montes

In discussions at the UN about achieving Agenda 2030, it has become de rigueur to highlight the role of the private sector. It is often introduced as the discovery of the idea that private sector investment and financing is indispensable to achieving Agenda 2030. For developed country diplomats and their associated experts this new celebrity treatment appears to be an article of faith, at least during negotiations on economic matters in the UN. They are foisting a misleading Trumpian exaggeration that is technically harmful to development policymaking and to Agenda 2030. (more…)

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