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 Need to Avoid “TRIPS-Plus” Patent Clauses in Trade Agreements
A recent article in a prestigious journal reminds us of how the intellectual property chapter of free trade agreements can prevent the sick from getting treatment. This article also critiques the TPP clauses and warns that they should not be translated to national laws or copied into other FTAs being negotiated. (more…)
This paper discusses the current negotiation issues in the context of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the position the African Group has taken in these negotiations. (more…)
Mitigating the Regulatory Constraints Imposed by Intellectual Property Rules under Free Trade Agreements
IP provisions in FTAs may have implications on a wide range of public policy areas. A vast academic literature has addressed the “flexibilities” available under the TRIPS Agreement and the negative impact of FTAs in relation to access to medicines. (more…)
South Centre Statement on the Amendment to the WTO TRIPS Agreement to Ease Access to Affordable Medicine
An amendment to the TRIPS Agreement that aims to facilitate the access to affordable medicines has entered into force upon approval by two thirds of the WTO members. The amendment reflects the recognition by WTO Members of the need for the continued enhancement of global intellectual property rules to allow Members to systematically take measures to protect public health.
South Centre Statement to the 18th session of WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property
The following is the statement delivered on 31 October 2016 by the South Centre to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) at its eighteenth session. The Centre highlights the importance of the WIPO Development Agenda.
South Centre Statement to the WIPO Assemblies 2016
The statement highlights that the greatest challenge for developing countries and LDCs in the area of intellectual property (IP) is the proliferation of regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements that impose IP obligations, together with the coercive external political and economic pressure to restrain from making use of the flexibilities in the IP system.
The WHO “Red Book” on Access to Medicines and Intellectual Property – 20 Years Later
About the book: The publication in 1998 by the WHO’s Essential Drugs Department of the document “Globalization and Access to Drugs: Implications of the WTO/TRIPS Agreement” marked a point in time in the movement to ensure access to essential medicines for all. The publication, often referred to as ‘the WHO red book’, marked the beginning of an international policy process to address the issue of innovation and access to essential medicines. It triggered a series of reactions from the pharmaceutical industry, the US Government and the WTO, reproaching WHO for stepping out of its role. In light of these attacks, the then Director General of WHO decided to send the document to be revised by three independent academics specializing in intellectual property. The letters and documents criticizing the WHO publication as well as the review by the three international experts are reproduced in this book.
Some Critical Issues Related to Access to Medicines and Intellectual Property
About the book: The international debate and negotiations over access to medicines in the last ten years have been one of the most important moments in the recent history of public health. This debate is taking place in UN specialized agencies like WHO, UNDP, UNCTAD, UNAIDS, WIPO, WTO, the Commission of Human Rights, NGOs working on health, philanthropic foundations, and the pharmaceutical industry. This book is a collection of papers by the South Centre between 2011 and 2014 on the deliberations and negotiations in the World Health Organization (WHO) on access to medicines and their relationship with other actors dealing with international trade and intellectual property regimes.
Author: Germán Velásquez is the Special Adviser for Health and Development at the South Centre, Geneva, Switzerland
Pharmaceutical Innovation, Incremental Patenting and Compulsory Licensing
About the book: This book examines patent trends and the use of compulsory licenses relating to pharmaceuticals in five developing countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, India and South Africa. It finds a number of common features and problems, and shows how the application of rigorous standards of patentability may contribute to protect public health by promoting local production and competition.
Editor: Carlos M. Correa is the Special Advisor on Intellectual Property and Trade of the South Centre and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies on Industrial Property at the Law Faculty, University of Buenos Aires.
About the book: This volume contains a selection of papers used in the course “Towards an Intellectual Property Regime that Protects Public Health”. They explore the principal issues in intellectual property as it relates to public health. They are comprehensive, though not exhaustive, as the field is a constantly evolving one.
This publication is intended to facilitate the conducting of further courses on the implication of intellectual property rights on access to medicines. However, it can also be used as a reference for readers who, having already acquired an understanding of the basic concepts in this field, would like to gain a deeper understanding of the issues.
IPR, R&D, Human Rights and Access to Medicines: An Annotated and Selected Bibliography
About the Book: The South Centre seeks to provide the appropriate technical assistance and country support to developing countries, within a comprehensive and coherent national IP Strategy, to promote the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement that is consistent with the protection of public health and promotion of access to medicines. To this end, the South Centre has prepared this selected and annotated bibliography to assist developing countries to implement IP policies and regulations consistent with development goals and public health principles.
Authors: Germán Velásquez, Carlos Correa and Xavier Seuba
About The Book: This book examines in detail the purpose and characteristics of the patentability standards and analyses typical claims in pharmaceutical patents. It provides recommendations on ways of implementing such standards in a manner that avoids the grant of patent right on developments which are genuine innovations or which are not properly described.
Author: Carlos M. Correa is Special Adviser on Trade and Intellectual Property at the South Centre, Geneva.