Research Papers

Research Paper 89, November 2018

History and Politics of Climate Change Adaptation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

This research paper provides a perspective on how climate change adaptation has progressed in the multilateral space, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It describes adaptation and financial institutions under the climate regime and the current scope of their activities. The paper highlights the challenges that lie ahead, particularly around financing, for developing countries to adapt to a rapidly warming world and presents recommendations for the governments to accord higher priority to adaptation.

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Research Paper 88, November 2018

Assessment of South-South Cooperation and the Global Narrative on the Eve of BAPA+40

This research paper gives a brief account of the fast expansion of South-South cooperation (SSC) in volume, modalities and participating countries and institutions. Though SSC is a de facto development compact, there is a tendency to overstate the total concessional financial element of SSC compared to Official Development Assistance (ODA), as SSC constitutes only a small portion of the total ODA from traditional donors.   North-South cooperation (NSC) is still the dominant pillar of development finance; hence SSC needs to be regarded as a complement to and not a substitute for NSC. (more…)

Research Paper 87, November 2018

Stemming ‘Commercial’ Illicit Financial Flows & Developing Country Innovations in the Global Tax Reform Agenda

Illicit Financial Flows generated due to the commercial activities of multinational enterprises are quantitatively the most important challenge faced by developing countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Current efforts for stemming these illicit flows and reforming the international tax system are however being led by developed countries, with developing country interests poorly reflected in the reform agenda. This research paper highlights the tax issues of great priority for developing countries and how international tax cooperation can contribute to preventing such illicit flows.

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Research Paper 86, September 2018

US’ Section 301 Actions: Why They are Illegitimate and Misguided

This research paper examines the US’ Section 301 unilateral actions against China, stemming from the US’ concerns over China’s ambitious industrial policies and its rapid technological advancements. It outlines the accusations of the US regarding China’s conditions for technology transfer and what the US sees as overly intrusive Chinese government involvement in investments. It looks in detail at why the US’ actions are in fact illegitimate and misguided. (more…)

Documento de Investigación 85, Mayo 2018

Acceso a medicamentos: experiencias con licencias obligatorias y uso gubernamental – el caso de la Hepatitis C

El acceso a medicamentos está fuertemente condicionado por su precio y por los mecanismos de financiamiento que pueden aplicarse en cada país. […] Un factor determinante en la fijación del precio de los medicamentos es el grado de competencia existente en una particular clase terapéutica, la que a su vez es influenciada por la existencia o no de derechos de propiedad intelectual, como patentes de invención.

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Research Paper 84, February 2018

Playing with Financial Fire: A South Perspective on the International Financial System

Playing with Fire (PWF) is a continuation of the analysis of the integration of Emerging and Developing Economies (EDEs) into the international financial system which Yılmaz Akyüz has carried out in his roles as senior economist for many years responsible for UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Report and Chief Economist at the South Centre. The treatment covers cross-border financial flows, increased commercial presence of foreign financial institutions in EDEs and their increased participation in their local financial markets as well as policy and regulatory issues. PWF deploys data on major cross-border financial flows on a gross as well as a net basis. This innovative approach facilitates identification of financial stability issues posed by the increased participation of EDEs in international financial markets.

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Research Paper 83, November 2017

China’s Debt Problem and Rising Systemic Risks: Impact of the global financial crisis and structural problems

The fast expansion of China’s debt, in particular corporate and local government debt, has attracted international attention and has also become a major concern of China’s policy makers. Even though China can tolerate a higher debt level than many other emerging and developing economies owing to the sheer size and other special features of the Chinese economy, systemic risks for financial stability have been rising since the global financial crisis and the cushions built in the past decades to withstand a higher debt level have also been weakened. (more…)

Research Paper 82, November 2017

The International Debate on Generic Medicines of Biological Origin

The debate on generic medicines is not new. What makes it different today is that attacks levelled against biological products are couched in ever more “technical” and abstruse language that confuses even the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Research Paper 81, November 2017

Promoting Sustainable Development by Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change Response Measures on Developing Countries

Response measures arise in the context of developed and developing countries taking actions to combat climate change at global, national and regional levels, such as for the protection and stabilization of the climate, emissions leakages and/or the costs of environmental compliance. They may have unintended and adverse economic and social consequences for developing countries’ economies, most often on the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of those economies.

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Research Paper 80, October 2017

The Commodity-Finance Nexus: Twin Boom and Double Whammy

International commodity prices and capital inflows to developing countries are increasingly synchronized, subjecting commodity-dependent economies to double boom-bust cycles.  (more…)

Research Paper 79, September 2017

Access to and Benefit-Sharing of Marine Genetic Resources beyond National Jurisdiction: Developing a New Legally Binding Instrument

This paper examines the underlying principles and main elements of binding and non-binding international instruments relating to access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources. It discusses the gap left by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and some of the elements that might be considered in developing a new legally-binding instrument on access and benefit-sharing derived from the exploitation of marine genetic resources found in areas beyond national jurisdiction, as mandated by the United Nations General Assembly. (more…)

Research Paper 62R, July 2017

Intellectual Property in the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Increasing the Barriers for the Access to Affordable Medicines (revised)

Most free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by the United States, the European Union and the members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in the last 15 years contain chapters on intellectual property rights with provisions applicable to pharmaceuticals. Such provisions considerably expand the rights recognized to pharmaceutical companies under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) established in the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO). (more…)


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