South Centre Statement to the High Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response
20 September 2023
The UN HLMs on health have helped drive the highest level of political commitment to key global health issues. The HLD on PPR today underplays the seriousness of the crisis the world experienced with the Covid-19 pandemic and fails to provide the level of political support and guidance to the critical negotiations taking place in Geneva for an international instrument and amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005).
The South Centre will continue to support developing countries in these processes and seek to promote constructive dialogue with other UN members and stakeholders.
Financial Support for Civil Society Advocacy during World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW) 2023
The South Centre invites applications from the members of the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition (ARC), other civil society organizations and research institutions from developing countries for limited financial funding (maximum 2000 USD) to design and launch or extend advocacy campaigns engaging communities to address AMR.
The scope of the campaigns can be human health, the human-animal interface, use of antimicrobials in food production systems, and the role of the environment in the transmission and spread of AMR.
The campaigns should take place around the World AMR Awareness Week 2023. The WAAW 2023 Theme is ‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together”, to be celebrated from 18 to 24 November 2023.
Promoting Jordan’s Use of Compulsory Licensing During the Pandemic
By Laila Barqawi
This paper addresses the difficulties in utilizing Article 31 bis of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) on compulsory licensing for the export of pharmaceuticals during the pandemic through the case study of Jordan. This paper also recommends that Jordanian officials seek to capitalize on the pandemic whilst the Jordanian Defense Law and Orders are in effect to include Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as a direct ground for applying compulsory licensing, introduce clauses similar to those introduced by countries who have signed FTAs with the US, as well as deactivate harmful clauses within its national laws that prevent the application and utilization of a compulsory license. Further, Jordanian officials should seek the opportunity, considering the change of stance of the Biden administration towards compulsory licensing, to re-negotiate favourable terms in the Jordanian – US Free Trade Agreement (JUSFTA). Moreover, Jordanian officials should also form a syndicate that calls for the overhauling of TRIPS at Article 31 bis when an EUA is invoked in any country.
COVID-19, Future Pandemics and the Africa Care Economy Index
By Salimah Valiani
In Africa, the care economy has long been unrecognised. At least since the last major pandemic in Africa, HIV-AIDS, caring work has been severely undervalued in the continent, and the redistribution of caring work, from females in the home and communities, is next to nonexistent. Undoing this structural inequality is crucial to improve health and wellbeing of girls and women in Africa, to be prepared for future pandemics, and to realise Africa’s demographic dividend for the benefit of the majority. To achieve this, the Africa Care Economy Index is offered as a policy, advocacy, and accountability tool.
Neglected Dimension of the Inventive Step as Applied to Pharmaceutical and Biotechnological Products: The case of Sri Lanka’s patent law
By Ruwan Fernando
Apart from the basic statutory definition in section 65 of the Intellectual Property Act of Sri Lanka, there do not appear to be any detailed statutory guidelines or judicial decisions to provide any framework for the assessment of inventive step in Sri Lanka. The current statutory definition is highly insufficient to evaluate the standard of obviousness in relation to biotechnological and pharmaceutical claims based on a combination or modification of a prior art reference.
The Courts in both developed and developing countries have adopted a variety of tests to evaluate the obviousness standard of a claimed invention based on a combination or modification of a prior art reference. Sri Lanka, as a developing country, should look at the development that has taken place in other jurisdictions and adapt the patent law to local conditions when developing tests or guidelines in a manner that is compatible with the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and its biotechnology/pharmaceutical policy guidelines.
This approach that is appropriate to Sri Lanka is twofold. First, it is most likely to prevent the issuance of patents on trivial or incremental inventions that do not provide any technical advance to the existing prior art and are a mere extension of what is already known in the prior art. Second, it is most likely to protect genuine technical advances to the existing prior art while at the same time enhancing competition and promoting local innovations so that the local researchers will be able to draw on the existing knowledge for the purpose of follow-on innovations.
Hacia una Agencia Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Medicamentos (AMLAC)
Por Germán Velásquez
El 26 de abril de 2023 en Acapulco, México, las Autoridades Reguladoras de Medicamentos de Colombia (INVIMA), Cuba (CECMED) y México (COFEPRIS) firmaron la “Declaración de Acapulco” para la creación de la Agencia Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Regulación de Medicamentos y Dispositivos Médicos (AMLAC). Esta declaración fué confirmada en Bogotá, Colombia el 16 de junio de 2023 en una reunión titulada “Convergencia regulatoria” por los responsables de las agencias reguladoras de medicamentos de Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba y México que acordaron la creación progresiva de una Agencia Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Medicamentos -AMLAC-.
La AMLAC fué creada para contribuir a la integración regional a través de la armonización y convergencia en materia de regulación sanitaria, la creación de un mercado regional de medicamentos en busca del acceso a medicamentos y dispositivos médicos seguros, eficaces y de calidad.
Assessing the State of Play in the WHO Pandemic Instrument Negotiations
By Viviana Muñoz Tellez
This Policy Brief discusses the state of play of the negotiations of the pandemic instrument at the World Health Organization. The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) is increasing its meetings as the target deadline for completion in the first half of 2024 draws closer. To advance, the political will needs to be scaled up in the next months. The expectations should not be lowered to focus on the lowest common denominator. Real progress needs to be made in priority areas of concern for developing countries to keep momentum.
Towards A Latin American and Caribbean Medicines Agency (AMLAC)
By Germán Velásquez
On 26 April 2023 in Acapulco, Mexico, the Medicines Regulatory Authorities of Colombia (INVIMA), Cuba (CECMED) and Mexico (COFEPRIS) signed the “Declaration of Acapulco” for the creation of the Latin American and Caribbean Medicines and Medical Devices Regulatory Agency (AMLAC). This declaration was confirmed in Bogota, Colombia on 16 June 2023 in a meeting called “Regulatory convergence” by the heads of the medicines regulatory agencies of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba and Mexico who agreed on the progressive creation of a Latin American and Caribbean Medicines Agency (AMLAC).
AMLAC was created to contribute to regional integration through harmonisation and convergence in health regulation, the creation of a regional medicines market in pursuit of access to safe, effective and quality medicines and medical devices.
Response to the Call for Inputs by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment
“Should the interests of foreign investors trump the human right to a clean,
healthy and sustainable environment?”
14 June 2023
To realize the right to clean, healthy & sustainable environment and reduce ISDS risks, States need to align their FDI policies with human rights, climate action and SDGs, including via reform of the international investment regime.
South Centre Statement to the Resumed session of the fifth meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response
12 June 2023
The South Centre appreciates the opportunity to address this INB. We remain available, here in Geneva or online, to present our views on specific draft provisions.
We recognise the work advanced so far.
In the Bureau text, not all options are yet on the table. All Member State proposals, existing and new ones as they come, should receive proportionate consideration, inclusion and discussion.
The consolidated text of February should remain complementary to the Bureau text.
There must be balance in providing options under various articles and in the approach for legal language under them. The Bureau text as it stands now would not deliver on equity.
The INB is moving towards consensus on principles of equity, solidarity, common but differentiated responsibilities, transparency and respect for human rights. We also support the proposal for a principle on global public goods. The INB needs now to better translate these principles into concrete legal provisions in the text.
The drafting group during this session of the INB could focus discussion on Articles 9 to 13 of the Bureau text, also drawing from the consolidated text.
A Response to COVID-19 and Beyond: Expanding African Capacity in Vaccine Production
By Carlos M. Correa
The unequal global distribution of vaccines against the deadly COVID-19 virus has cast a spotlight on the lack of access to vaccines on the African continent, and the vulnerability that such a lack places on both the economies of African nations and the health of their people. Various initiatives have been launched to overcome the dependence of African nations on vaccines produced elsewhere. If implemented in timely and effective ways, those initiatives will contribute to the diversification of African economies and strengthen the capacity of nations on the continent to address their public health needs during pandemics and at other times. While establishing a viable vaccine industry on the continent presents serious challenges, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) can provide the framework for leveraging economies of scale to stimulate the production of needed vaccines across the region.