South Centre Statement on the extension of the TRIPS waiver for diagnostics and therapeutics for COVID-19
Developing countries should consider options that can be implemented now to deal with IP barriers to expand production and access to COVID-19 therapeutics and diagnostics, while the so far elusive decision on whether to extend a TRIPS waiver to cover these products is taken by WTO.
The world was unprepared prior to the Covid-19 crisis and remains so for new ones. The Covid-19 response was faulty. Covid-19 recovery has been slow and painful, in particular for developing countries. Read the South Centre opening statement at the WHO, WIPO & WTO Trilateral Symposium 2022: Lessons from Covid-19.
WHO proposed instrument on pandemics: the Conceptual Zero Draft needs substantial improvement to address global public health needs
We welcome the discussions in the WHO on a new instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. While we appreciate the preparation and sharing with WHO members of the Conceptual Zero Draft (hereinafter ‘the Draft’), we note that more work is needed to address the insufficiency of the tools at the disposal of the WHO that became evident with the COVID-19 pandemic.
27th CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES (COP27) OF THE UNFCCC
STATEMENT OF DR. CARLOS CORREA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SOUTH CENTRE
We all are aware of the magnitude of the climate crisis the world is facing. We are also aware that its impact is not the same for all countries and populations. The disasters we are witnessing affect most severely developing countries which historically have not been responsible for the emissions that put at risk the life in the planet. Those countries, the most affected, have the lowest capacity to address the devastating effects of climate change events and to adapt to and mitigate them.
Climate change is a cross-cutting issue. However, the international system operates in silos and has been incapable of ensuring the adoption of the multiple and coordinated policies necessary to address it. The South Centre, as an intergovernmental organization of developing countries, attaches particular importance to and focuses its work on the intersection of climate change policies with other policy frameworks.
SOUTH CENTRE STATEMENT TO THE EIGHTH SESSION OF THE OPEN-ENDED INTERGOVERNMENTAL WORKING GROUP ON TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS AND OTHER BUSINESS ENTERPRISES
Human rights violations in the context of business operations, either directly by transnational corporations or through their supply chains, have disproportionately affected developing countries, as has been consistently highlighted in this OEIGWG.
A constructive participation from all members of the OEIGWG is necessary to achieve the mandate of HRC Resolution 26/9, that is, to establish a comprehensive and effective legally binding framework that can prevent the violation and abuses of human rights and provide effective remedies and access to justice individually or collectively for victims in those jurisdictions where the businesses are established.
Statement by Dr. Carlos Correa, Executive Director of the South Centre, to the Ministers and Governors Meeting of the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four (G24)
October 2022, Washington, D.C.
Amid multiple crises and facing gloomier global economic prospects for 2023, the Ministers and Governors meeting of the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development (G24) was held on 11 October 2022 during the IMF and World Bank annual meeting. The South Centre is an observer of the G24. The written statement of Dr. Carlos Correa, the Executive Director of the South Centre, was circulated at the meeting.
The South Centre invites applications from the members of the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition (ARC) and other civil society organizations or research institutions from developing countries for limited financial funding (maximum 2000 USD per campaign) to design and launch campaigns or support continuing advocacy efforts at the sides of the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2022.
We regret to inform that the South Centre event during the WTO Public Forum, Session 79, “The Future of the TRIPS Agreement: Part 2” on 29 September is cancelled. Session 120 “Mainstreaming Development in the WTO” on 30 September will be held as scheduled.
Over the years the South Centre has organized various events in the WTO Public Forum.
We have strongly supported the aim of the Public Forum to provide a platform for frank discussions among policy makers, civil society representatives, business people and researchers as they consider how to make trade work for more people and ensure that the trading system is as inclusive as it can be. The Public Forum in 2021 allowed in person and virtual participation of speakers and participants. This enabled many stakeholders from the Global South to engage, who otherwise would not have been able to do so.
Unfortunately this policy was not continued for the 2022 Public Forum.
We learnt at late notice that speakers were not allowed to join virtually and that our event would not be live-streamed.
No further explanations were provided, despite our repeated requests to the WTO Secretariat.
The WTO should be at the forefront of embracing use of telecommunications technology to open trade dialogue to all and reducing environmental impact of air travel.
This event will now be held as a South Centre webinar on 11 October at 10:00 am Geneva time.
Statement by the South Centre to the 2022 Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO
The South Centre is the intergovernmental organization of developing countries based in Geneva that supports developing countries’ efforts to build up a fair and inclusive multilateral system conducive to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are of the view that a central objective of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as part of the United Nations (UN) UN system should be to support the achievement of such goals through the promotion of a balanced international intellectual property (IP) system that reflects the interests of countries at different levels of economic and technological development, and in line with the WIPO Development Agenda.
TRIPS WAIVER: AN INSUFFICIENT MULTILATERAL RESPONSE. TRIPS-CONSISTENT NATIONAL ACTIONS ARE CALLED FOR
After almost 20 months from the submission of a “TRIPS waiver” request by India and South Africa, co-sponsored by 65 WTO member States (and supported by more than 100 WTO Members), a “Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement” (WT/MIN(22)/W/15/Rev.2) (‘the Decision’) was belatedly adopted by the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization on 17 June 2022.
This Decision does recognize that, as argued by developing countries and a large number of organizations and academics, intellectual property (IP) poses obstacles for the expansion of manufacturing capacity and timely access to health products and technologies to respond to COVID-19. The response to the pandemic required a rapid increase in the supply of countermeasures, while technology holders refused to share their technologies.
Not only developed countries successfully deviated the negotiations towards an outcome different from what was pursued by developing countries’ diplomats; the process for its adoption did not allow for the full and informed participation of the latter. The process leading to the Decision confirms the need to fully use the TRIPS flexibilities to address emergency and other situations where public health and other public interests are at stake, and to review the current international IP regime (including article 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement) to accelerate the sharing of technology, including know-how.