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.
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…)
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.
Corporations, Investment Decisions and Human Rights Regulatory Frameworks: Reflections on the discussion pertaining to FDI flows and the impact of a potential International Legally Binding Instrument on Business and Human Rights
This brief explores the question pertaining to the impact of States’ participation in designing an Instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises in the area of human rights on attracting foreign direct investment, which has been a persistent issue of discussion since the mandate of the inter-governmental group on the mentioned Instrument was established. (more…)
A Prospective Legally Binding Instrument on TNCs and Other Business Enterprises In Regard to Human Rights: Addressing Challenges to Access to Justice Faced by Victims
The complexity of corporate structures in the current globalized economy has shaped a number of practical and procedural hurdles that victims of human rights abuses perpetrated by transnational corporations (TNCs) face when accessing judicial mechanisms in order to seek remedy, both in home and host States where TNCs operate. Some of these legal barriers include constraints in the jurisdiction of the host State due to the lack of adequate substantive and procedural laws to achieve the enforcement of effective remedy, and other obstacles related to international judicial cooperation for the collection of evidence, information and enforcement of judicial decisions, or uncertainty about the possibility of bringing claims in the home State of TNCs. (more…)
Approaching States’ Obligations Under a Prospective Legally Binding Instrument on TNCs and Other Business Enterprises In Regard to Human Rights
This brief discusses possible approaches to addressing States’ obligations under a prospective international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises. (more…)
Scope of the Proposed International Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with respect to Human Rights
The elaboration of an ‘International Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises with respect to Human Rights’ (hereinafter ‘the Instrument’), as mandated by the Human Rights Council at its 26th Ordinary Session (June 26, 2014), requires definitions about a multiplicity of issues. Many choices need to be made among possible policy options and properly reflected in treaty language. (more…)
The Declaration on the Right to Development, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1986 (as Document 41/128) is 30 years old. It is appropriate to celebrate this anniversary. For the right to development has had great resonance among people all over the world, including in developing and poor countries. Even the term itself “the right to development” carries a great sense and weight of meaning and of hope. (more…)
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
The Right to Development, Small Island Developing States and the SAMOA Pathway
In 2015, the United Nations community reached agreements on updating the financing for development mechanisms, Agenda 2030 and an updated climate change regime. The SAMOA pathway is an important resource and an input to these efforts. (more…)
International Investment Agreements and Africa’s Structural Transformation: A Perspective from South Africa
The brief describes the widening debate on the implications of international investment agreements (IIAs) for sustainable development. This debate is particularly relevant in Africa as the continent’s new economic development programme to effect structural transformation and achieve sustainable development may well be constrained by the terms and conditions imposed by IIAs. (more…)