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 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.
Food Security and Access and Benefit-Sharing for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
About the book: A study prepared for the UN FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) on whether, and how, national and regional laws, guidelines and other arrangements on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS) may impact upon agriculture and food security.
Authors: Gurdial Singh Nijar, Gan Pei Fern, Lee Yin Harn and Chan Hui Yun
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.
Towards a More Coherent International Legal System on Farmers’ Rights: The Relationship of the FAO ITPGRFA, UPOV and WIPO
This Policy Brief outlines some key areas of interrelation among the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). (more…)
Subsidies and food security in WTO: a permanent solution is still pending
The current WTO rules applicable to public stockholding for food security purposes illustrate the imbalances present in the WTO rules on agriculture. The calculation of the level of subsidies on the basis of outdated fixed reference prices is a flaw that needs to be corrected. Moreover, the rigid limits imposed in the calculation of the AMS ironically penalize developing countries that did not subsidize agricultural production at the time the Uruguay Round was concluded, rather than those with a history of heavy subsidization. (more…)
Improving the Bali Peace Clause on Public Stockholding for Food Security
Since Bali and particularly in the last few months, there has been much attention on the Decision Ministers had taken at the WTO’s Bali Ministerial Conference (2013) on Public Stockholding for Food Security Purposes.
At Bali, Ministers had agreed to a Peace Clause for existing Public Stockholding programmes provided by developing countries for food security purposes. I.e. if they have these programmes, countries should not be brought to the WTO’s dispute settlement if they are going beyond their domestic support commitments under the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture rules. (more…)
Post-2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals: Perspectives of the South Centre
Post-2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development
The United Nations’ Post-2015 Development Agenda should not simply extend MDGs, or reformulate the goals, but focus instead on global systemic reforms to remove main impediments to development and secure an accommodating international environment for sustainable development. (more…)
10 documents were distributed to WTO Members on 26 November 2013 at the last General Council meeting before the Bali Ministerial Conference (MC9). These documents are being transmitted to Bali. (more…)
WTO’s MC9: Analysis of the Food Security ‘Peace Clause’ Text
The Peace Clause is time-limited (4 years) and partial in coverage (no inclusion of the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures- ASCM). Countries can still be taken to dispute. It also has onerous and intrusive transparency and information requirements and conditions. (more…)
The WTO’s Bali Ministerial and Food Security for Developing Countries: Need for equity and justice in the rules on agricultural subsidies
Food security in developing countries is a major issue in the WTO’s negotiations towards the Bali Ministerial Conference in December. A report drawn from meetings of trade expert group meetings organised by the South Centre has pointed to the importance of public stockholding for food security in developing countries, and some of the imbalances in the present rules on agricultural subsidies in the WTO. (more…)
Risks and Uses of the Green Economy Concept in the Context of Sustainable Development, Poverty and Equity.
There are many challenges and obstacles facing developing countries in moving their economies to more environmentally friendly paths. On one hand this should not prevent the attempt to urgently incorporate environmental elements into economic development. (more…)