The 73rdWorld Health Assembly and Resolution on COVID-19: Quest of Global Solidarity for Equitable Access to Health Products
By Nirmalya Syam, Mirza Alas and Vitor Ido
The annual meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA) of the World Health Organization (WHO) held virtually on 18-19 May 2020 discussed the global response to COVID-19 and adopted Resolution WHA73.1 on “COVID-19 Response”. The Resolution reaffirms the role of WHO as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work and it recognizes that all countries should have timely and affordable access to diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines as well as to essential health technologies and equipment to respond to COVID-19. However, the Resolution does not define concrete actions to address the pandemic. Though the Resolution makes a commitment of ensuring access to medical products, vaccines and equipment for all countries in a timely manner, there are no concrete actions defined. In order to ensure global equitable access, WHO Members should make full use of the flexibilities of the Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and also enhance transparency of costs of research and development (R&D), openness and sharing of data, tools and technologies, and build more capacity through technology transfer.
US Claims under Special Section 301 against China Undermine the Credibility of the WTO
By Nirmalya Syam and Dr. Carlos M. Correa
The US action to place China in the Special 301 ‘Priority Watch List’ is unjustified and in contravention to the WTO rules. The claims made against China are based on standards self-determined by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), not on international standards. This is an example of a systemic problem that requires a concerted response. WTO members should unite to firmly oppose the imposition of unilateral measures that undermine the multilateral trading system and the credibility of WTO as a ruled-based institution.
Digital economy is a given, as much as industrialization was inevitable on invention of means of incorporating steam and later fossil fuel and electric power into manufacturing. It is not a matter of being for or against it. It is about what kind of digital economy we should have. A development agenda for digital economy needs to be articulated, based on a narrative that takes proper account of developing country interests. (more…)
There are several key social and environmental issues to watch out for in 2018 as they are close to reaching a tipping point, says this preview of the new year by the South Centre’s Executive Director Martin Khor. (more…)
South Centre Statement to the 26th Session of the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP)
The 26th session of the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) is meeting this week at the WIPO headquarters in Geneva. The South Centre is participating in the current session of the SCP as an observer. The following statement was delivered by the South Centre on the first day of the current session of the SCP.
The concept of Farmers’ Rights recognized the role of farmers as custodians of biodiversity and helped to draw attention to the need to preserve practices that are essential for sustainable agriculture. This paper examines one particular aspect of such rights, perhaps the most controversial. It deals with the component of farmers’ rights referring to the use, exchange and sale of farm-saved seeds. Although that concept was initially introduced in 1989 with the aim of balancing the rights of farmers as breeders and of commercial plant breeders, a specific reference to the rights relating to seeds was only introduced upon the conclusion of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in 2001.
Avoid patent clauses in trade treaties that can kill millions
By Martin Khor
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…)
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.