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.

North-South Dialogue

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.

 

Map shows South Centre Membership as of 2015.

Health

Research Paper 74, February 2017

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…)

Policy Brief 36, February 2017

Gandhi: Walking with us today

Gandhi, his writings and his words are as relevant as ever today as when he lived.   This is the theme of the Sixth Gandhi Memorial Lecture presented by Gurdial Singh Nijar, a prominent Malaysian lawyer and former law professor, and organised by the Gandhi Memorial Trust, Malaysia.   The text of the lecture, which was presented in Kuala Lumpur in October 2016, is published in this policy brief.

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Statement, January 2017

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.

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Policy Brief 34, December 2016

Air pollution — the silent top global cause of death and of climate change

New research is showing that air pollution is a powerful if silent killer, causing 6.5 million worldwide deaths as well as being the major cause of climate change. (more…)

Statement, October 2016

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.

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Statement, September 2016

Statement by the South Centre on the Report of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Access to Medicines released on 14 September 2016

The South Centre endorses the report of the United Nations Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Access to Medicines and its call on governments, the United Nations entities and others including the World Trade Organization, to take action on the report’s recommendations. (more…)

Policy Brief 29, September 2016

Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance: Challenges for Developing Countries

On 21 September 2016,  a High Level Meeting was held on antimicrobial resistance at the sides of the United Nations General Assembly. It was followed by the adoption of a political declaration. This declaration paves the way for new coordinated actions on antimicrobial resistance backed by higher political commitment, on the basis of the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (GAP) of the World Health Organization (WHO).  (more…)

Book by the South Centre, 2015

The WHO “Red Book” on Access to Medicines and Intellectual Property – 20 Years Later

 

Bk_2015_WHO Red Book_EN_001About 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.

Authors: Germán Velásquez and Pascale Boulet

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Book by the South Centre, 2014

Some Critical Issues Related to Access to Medicines and Intellectual Property

 

Bk_2014_Some Critical Issues Related to Access to Medicines and IP_EN_001About 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

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Statement, May 2016

South Centre Statement to the Open-Ended Meeting of WHO Member States: Follow-up of the report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG)

At the open-ended meeting of WHO Member States on the follow-up of the report of the CEWG, the South Centre called for concrete discussions to start negotiations on a binding legal instrument on R&D financing and coordination. (more…)

Research Paper 66, March 2016

The Bolar Exception: Legislative Models and Drafting Options

The basic principle of patent law is that once the term of a patent has expired, the protected subject matter becomes a part of the public domain. Hence, it can be freely used, including for commercial purposes, without the interference by the former patent owner. This allows competitors to enter the market immediately after such expiry, eventually leading to lower prices for consumers and welfare gains. (more…)

Research Paper 64, February 2016

Implementing Pro-Competitive Criteria for the Examination of Pharmaceutical Patents

This document discusses criteria for implementing the patentability requirements in relation to patent applications covering products and processes, as well as the use of pharmaceutical products. The adoption of rigorous criteria with this purpose is important for four main reasons. (more…)


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