His Excellency Mr. Benjamin William Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania (from November 1995 to December 2005) and former Chair of the Board of the South Centre (2006-2018), passed away on the 24th of July 2020 in Dar es Salaam. The South Centre pays homage to his indefatigable work to fight poverty and entrench civil rights. A true statesman and leader of the South, Mr. Mkapa leaves behind a stellar legacy.
Statements and Press Releases
Reverse Linkage: IsDB’s Role in Deploying the Power of South-South Cooperation to Tackle COVID-19 Pandemic
Message from H.E. Dr. Bandar M. H. Hajjar, President, Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, on the occasion of the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation
Message from the South Centre at the launch of the “Solidarity Call To Action” by the President of Costa Rica and the Director-General of the WHO
The architecture for access to medicines and vaccines, which is already complex to manage in normal times, requires even more structured actions in times of a pandemic by the scale of the demand and the urgency in meeting it. This call for solidarity to bring together the technologies and treatments related to COVID 19 is part of the necessary solution. It complements other available instruments for States to facilitate access to prevention and treatment for the population, including through the use of the flexibilities of the WTO TRIPS Agreement.
South Centre Statement at the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA)
Today we are facing a global health, economic and social crisis, the most serious in the last hundred years. The resolution adopted by this World Health Assembly on COVID 19 should have been more ambitious given the dimension of the current crisis. The response to an exceptional challenge must be exceptional. The COVID 19 pandemic forces us to reflect on whether many health systems and the WHO itself were prepared to face this crisis.
South Centre Statement to the Ministers and Governors Meeting of The Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four (G24)
The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a major health calamity with mounting humanitarian costs but also the biggest economic crisis since the Second World War. Immediate debt relief is needed for poor countries with unsustainable debt. The global pandemic requires a global solution and solidarity.
Mr. Martin Khor, a stellar personality and intellectual of the South, passed away on 1st April 2020 in Penang, Malaysia. Mr. Khor served on the Board of the South Centre (1996-2002) and as its Executive Director (2009-2018). The South Centre mourns this big loss and extends our condolences to his family. His work and contribution for the South shall live on. Rest in Peace Martin.
South Centre Statement to the United Nations High Level Dialogue on Financing for Development
Four years after its adoption, Agenda 2030, “Transforming Our World,” the United Nations’ (UN) most recent and most ambitious development agenda, is off-track. Various estimates of the spending needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) range from $1 to $3 trillion. Domestically mobilized resources are critical to achieve these goals. A main source of the inadequate scale of public revenues are shortfalls in corporate tax collection, which are largely explained by international corporations hosted by or doing businesses in developing countries that take advantage of facilities offered by the international tax standards and practices to avoid full payment of taxes in those countries. A substantive global reform process involving a variety of multilateral platforms is underway. The question is not whether the system of global tax standards and practices will change, but in what direction it will change. Drawing lessons from the developing country context will be critical if the ongoing process of global tax reform will benefit developing countries and achieve substantial success in generating the income needed to effectively attain the SDGs.
South Centre Statement at the United Nations High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage
Access to health is a human right and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is essential to achieve health for all. States should ensure through public funding, based on solidarity and the fair redistribution of wealth, that nobody is deprived from health care. Policies that promote competitive markets for pharmaceuticals, particularly in the area of procurement, regulatory approvals (including biologicals) and intellectual property, should be implemented. Governments should make use of the available space in the TRIPS Agreement to apply rigorous definitions of invention and patentability standards and use other flexibilities allowed.Below is the South Centre’s Statement to the UN High-Level Meeting on UHC held on 23 September 2019 at the UN headquarters in New York. The Centre noted the recognition, in the draft political declaration, of the responsibilities of governments as well as of their right to choose their own path towards achieving UHC.
South Centre Statement on Access to Biosimilars/Biogeneric Medicines at the WHA 72
The revision of the guidelines on similar therapeutic products mandated by Resolution WHA67.21 is crucial for promoting the availability of and access to biosimilars. The reduction in prices ensuing from the introduction of these products has become essential to address public health needs in developed and developing countries. The WHO Document A72/59 under consideration by the WHA 72 (agenda item 21.3) states in paragraph 80 that “WHO expert committees have approved guidance on (…) biotherapeutics, including an update of the 2009 similar biotherapeutic products guidelines”. This statement is not accurate, as the guidelines were not updated as mandated by Resolution WHA67.21. Below is the South Centre statement in relation to this issue.
South Centre Statement at the Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Health Ministers
Dr. Carlos Correa, Executive Director of the South Centre, stressed the need to preserve the World Health Organization (WHO) as a public, independent agency that effectively addresses the health problems of developing countries, at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Health Ministers Meeting held on the occasion of the 72nd World Health Assembly. Below is the statement of the South Centre delivered at the Palais des Nations, Geneva on 21 May 2019.
Statement by His Excellency Thabo Mbeki on the occasion of the meeting of the Board of the South Centre
Below is the statement of His Excellency Thabo Mbeki, former President of the Republic of South Africa, and new Chair of the Board of the South Centre, upon conclusion of the 41st meeting of the Board of the South Centre, held on 11 October 2018 at the South Centre in Geneva.
Statement by the South Centre to the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit
At the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit , the South Centre highlighted Nelson Mandela’s battle against apartheid, which was a main obstacle to social development, and against actions by pharmaceutical companies to enforce intellectual property standards that would prevent access to HIV/AIDS drugs.