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.

North-South Dialogue

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.


Map shows South Centre Membership as of 2015.

South Bulletins

South Bulletin 99, 2 May 2017

Need for South to use policy space to expand access to medicines

Access to medicines has recently been a major topic of intense discussion at various forums.   Representatives of developing countries and leaders of civil society and experts are advocating that more policy space and political empathy be given to countries of the South (as well as to people in the North) so that they can make use of flexibilities in the IP regimes and provide medicines at affordable prices.


South Bulletin 98, 17 March 2017

A new protectionist threat:  the US “border adjustment” tax

A new protectionist device, the US “border adjustment” tax, is being planned that could devastate the exports of developing countries and cause American and other foreign companies to relocate. The first article explains the complexities and implications  of this proposed measure. The major question of whether such a measure will violate the rules of the WTO is examined in the second article. (more…)

South Bulletin 97, 9 February 2017

Shocks for developing countries from President Trump’s first weeks

Mr. Donald Trump’s first weeks as US President have sent shockwaves around the world, and it is the developing countries that will be most affected. (more…)

South Bulletin 96, 30 November 2016

Big support for UN Access to Medicines High Level Panel’s Report

There is an urgent need not only to support but to undertake follow up activities relating to the recently released report of the UN Secretary General’s high level panel on access to medicines. (more…)

South Bulletin 95, 1 November 2016

Non-Aligned Movement Summit re-asserts its relevance in a turbulent world

The 17th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Venezuela in mid-September 2016 was an occasion to reflect on the movement’s history and to reaffirm its relevance in a world of great political and economic turbulence.   It adopted two documents which are remarkable for their comprehensiveness, showing the consensus of 120 countries for positions in a wide range of issues.   It faces the challenge of maintaining these positions in negotiations in the years ahead, and converting some of them into action. (more…)

South Bulletin 94, 19 September 2016

UNCTAD XIV succeeds in renewing UNCTAD mandate, after tough negotiations

Once in four years, UNCTAD holds a Conference to review the global situation and to set out UNCTAD’s work for the next four years.  UNCTAD XIV, held in Nairobi in July, renewed the UNCTAD mandates but only after long negotiations where developing countries under the G77 and China had to fight hard to resist attempts to dilute UNCTAD’s work.  (more…)

South Bulletin 93, 16 August 2016

The Right to Development at 30: Looking Back and Forwards

The Right to Development has had great resonance with people worldwide since it was adopted by the UN General Assembly 30 years ago.  It establishes the right of people to take part in the development process and to equitably enjoy the benefits of development.  Today this right is even more relevant, as the world faces manifold crises.  (more…)

South Bulletin 92, 4 August 2016

Facing up to the world’s critical health crises

The world is facing multiple crises in public  health, from how to cope with new and old epidemics and the explosive cost of new medicines, to the threats from antimicrobial resistance.  These issues were discussed at the WHO’s World Health Assembly held in Geneva. This issue of South Bulletin focuses on the WHA and health issues.  (more…)

South Bulletin 91, 18 June 2016

Improving Access to Medicines: What needs to be done

This South Bulletin provides a  summary of the South Centre’s three submissions to the UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel on Access to Medicines on some of the key actions that need to be taken to strengthen the access to medicines for people in developing countries: (more…)

South Bulletin 90, 16 May 2016

Foreign Investment, Investment Treaties and Development: Myths & Realities

The growing debate on investment agreements has underscored the importance of understanding the nature and effects of foreign investment. The issues of FDI, investment treaties and development are examined in this South Bulletin. (more…)

South Bulletin 89, 31 December 2015

United Nations Summit adopts the 2030 Development Agenda

The United Nations held a Development Summit on 25-27 September, attended by many top political leaders. The Summit adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which will have a major impact on how development will be dissected and monitored in the UN and at country level in the next 15 years. (more…)

South Bulletin 87-88, 23 November 2015

Business and Human Rights: Commencing discussions on a legally binding instrument

This double issue of the South Bulletin focuses on an important issue –  human rights, transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

More specifically, it publishes reports on the first meeting of the Human Rights Council’s Working Group on a legally binding instrument on TNCs and other business enterprises with respect to human rights.  (more…)

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