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.
This paper discusses the current negotiation issues in the context of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the position the African Group has taken in these negotiations. (more…)
The WTO’s Special and Differential Treatment Negotiations (Paragraph 44)
Paragraph 44 of the 2001 Doha Ministerial Declaration mandates the ‘strengthening’ of Special and Differential Treatment (S&D) provisions in the WTO Agreement, and making them ‘more precise, effective and operational’. This Note tracks the evolution of these negotiations from the start of the Doha Round in 2001 until the Nairobi Ministerial in December 2015. (more…)
The WTO has a 1998 Work Programme on E-commerce. This Work Programme provides for the discussion of trade-related issues relating to electronic commerce to take place in the relevant WTO bodies: the Council for Trade in Services; the Council for Trade in Goods; the Council for TRIPS; and the Committee for Trade and Development. The General Council was envisaged to play a review or oversight role. (more…)
The WTO’s Agriculture Domestic Supports Negotiations
The historical problems in agriculture continue today. Developed countries with the financial capacity continue to subsidise their farmers and export these agricultural products. This has also been enabled by the Uruguay Round through large AMS entitlements for mostly developed countries ($19 billion for US and now about $95 billion for EU27), as well as the Green Box (Annex 2 of the Agreement on Agriculture). (more…)
Key Substantive and Process Issues Arising from the WTO’s Nairobi Ministerial Conference (MC10)
Despite concerted attempts by major trading partners to bury the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda (DDA) in Nairobi, they were unsuccessful. Part I of this paper provides a legal reading of the Nairobi Ministerial Declaration (NMD) as it pertains to the DDA, and also discusses other legal questions regarding the conclusion of the DDA. (more…)
Discussions in the Working Group on the Relationship between Trade and Investment (2001-2003)
This Note reviews Members’ submissions in the Working Group on the Relationship between Trade and Investment (WGTI) between 2001 – 2003.
The Singapore Ministerial Declaration established the WGTI to examine the relationship between trade and investment. Subsequently, the Doha Ministerial Declaration tasked the WGTI to focus on the clarification of seven elements of a possible future multilateral investment agreement, as well as some other issues: (more…)
WTO’s MC10: The Call for ‘New Issues’ at the WTO and Implications for Developing Countries
Narratives concerning enhancing the participation of developing countries in ‘Global Value Chains’ (GVCs) and supporting micro, small and medium enterprises have featured prominently in the WTO
and other international organizations. These have intensified in the run up towards the Ministerial Conference in Nairobi. These discourses on GVCs and MSMEs have often been linked to (more…)
When launched in 2001, the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) had the objective of being a Development Round. However, substantive development concerns have often been sidelined in the course of the negotiations. Without the Doha mandate, developing countries have no guarantee that the important issues of disciplines on domestic supports, special safeguard in agriculture and cotton will feature in future negotiations on Agriculture. (more…)
WTO’s MC10: Agriculture Negotiations– Public Stockholding
Public stockholding programmes have over the past decades proven themselves to be very effective instruments for supporting domestic producers in agricultural production. Studies have shown that in
fact, countries that are still in the process of development, where markets are not well developed, need such public stockholding programmes to support their farmers.
Many developing countries do have these programmes. This non-exhaustive list (more…)
WTO’s MC10: Agriculture Negotiations – Special Safeguard in Agriculture for Developing Countries
The agricultural safeguard is important for developing countries. Most developed countries already have access to a special agricultural safeguard as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations, and
some of them have actively utilised this Special Safeguard Provisions (SSG) through the past 20 years.
Developing countries require a similar instrument because of the many agricultural import surges taking place. (more…)
This note provides a brief on Export Competition and the four issues that it covers:
With respect to export subsidies, the EU, the Member with the largest export subsidy entitlements applies zero export subsidies under its Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2020. Commitments to bind export subsidies at zero are therefore a step in the right direction but the extent of its value is limited. The Green Box remains undisciplined (more…)