SEE A LIST OF SOUTH CENTRE COVID-19 RELATED PUBLICATIONS HERE.
Call for Action: Intellectual Property and Trade Measures to Address the Covid-19 Crisis by the South Centre (May 2020)
The South Centre views with concern the attempts by some governments and industry players to monopolize the availability of treatments, diagnostics, medicines, medical supplies and devices needed for their own nationalist agenda or to maximize profit, ahead of societal interest in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. The private enforcement of patents and government trade restrictions may pose a dire threat to the containment of this global public health emergency. Governments should act swiftly to put in place legislation and plans to ensure that patents and trade measures do not become barriers for access to those products.
COVID-19 PANDEMIC: ACCESS TO PREVENTION AND TREATMENT IS A MATTER OF NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY (May 2020)
Open letter from Carlos Correa, Executive Director of the South Centre, to the Director-Generals of the World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization.
Compulsory Licenses and Government Use of Patented Medicines: Precedents Relevant to Address COVID-19 (May 2020)
To meet public health needs, such as in the current COVID-19 emergency, governments can use compulsory licenses and government use as a tool for procurement and import of patented medicines. These mechanisms are provided for in most laws worldwide. The WTO TRIPS Agreement, as reaffirmed by the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, recognises the right of WTO members to grant compulsory licenses and their freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licenses may be granted. The table provides information of instances of their use.
Trade Measures Adopted by Countries in Response to COVID-19 (May 2020)
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many WTO members have adopted several measures affecting trade. Some are trade liberalizing; others are trade restrictive. South Centre has elaborated a worksheet that compiles these measures (updated till 16 April) based on available sources of information. The compilation does not intend to be exhaustive. However, it may help members to have information about the landscape of trade measures that may affect them.
Compilation of Extracts from Selected Country Statements during 73rd World Health Assembly supporting Access to Health Products on COVID-19 (May 2020)
The compilation below was done on the basis of published statements on the WHO website (https://apps.who.int/gb/statements/WHA73/) and the speeches delivered orally for those delegations which have not submitted their statements. This is a non-official document for information only.
Scope of Compulsory License and Government Use of Patented Medicines in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic (February 2021)
To meet public health needs, such as in the current COVID-19 emergency, governments can use compulsory licenses and government use as a tool for procurement and import of patented medicines.
These mechanisms are provided for in most laws worldwide. The WTO TRIPS Agreement, as reaffirmed by the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, recognises the right of WTO members to grant compulsory licenses and their freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licenses may be granted (read our Call for Action on Intellectual Property and Trade Measures to Address the Covid-19 Crisis here).
The table below provides information of instances of their use.
Scope of Compulsory License and Government Use of Patented Medicines in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic (March 2021)
To meet public health needs, such as in the current COVID-19 emergency, governments can use compulsory licenses and government use as a tool for procurement and import of patented medicines.
These mechanisms are provided for in most laws worldwide. The WTO TRIPS Agreement, as reaffirmed by the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, recognises the right of WTO members to grant compulsory licenses and their freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licenses may be granted (read our Call for Action on Intellectual Property and Trade Measures to Address the Covid-19 Crisis here).
The table below provides information of instances of their use.
A New Treaty on Pandemics: Some Key Issues from a Global South Perspective (Working Paper, 23 November 2021)
By Tamara Luciana Bustamante, Josefina del Rosario Lago, Mariana Magliolo, & Lucas Javier Segal, Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de Buenos Aires
In view of both the difficulty that negotiations on a possible new treaty will present for States of the Global South and their special needs, this paper aims to contribute by identifying and giving content to certain key issues —though not exhaustive— that should be taken into account by negotiators of a possible new treaty on pandemics or any other instrument on the subject in the future. The selected key issues are addressed through four cross-cutting questions: (i) Why is each issue relevant for the Global South, (ii) where it is currently regulated, (iii) what are the problems it entails, and (iv) how could a new instrument address them.
MATRIX OF KEY ISSUES IN THE WTO TRIPS COUNCIL (June 2023)
Health, Intellectual Property and Biodiversity Programme, South Centre
The following matrix provides a factual overview and analysis of the standing and non-standing agenda items of the regular session of the WTO TRIPS Council. The matrix also discusses the TRIPS Implementation issues as part of the WTO Doha Development Round of negotiations.
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 (May 2020)
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.
PROPOSAL BY INDIA AND SOUTH AFRICA TO WAIVE CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE WTO TRIPS AGREEMENT TO SUPPORT THE GLOBAL COVID-19 PANDEMIC RESPONSE (October 2020)
The prolongation of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic threatens developing countries disproportionately, deepening the catastrophic social and economic crisis and reversing the gains made to date to eradicate extreme poverty and meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this situation, ensuring timely access to essential commodities by overcoming acute shortages faced by countries due to high demand and disruptions in the supply chain is critical. There is also an urgent need to speed up development of new vaccines, treatments and diagnostics, at scale, and make these widely available.
As reaffirmed by many delegations in the special session of the WHO Executive Board, transfer of technology and know-how is fundamental for scaling up manufacturing of medical products and equipment. In this regard, India and South Africa have made a joint proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily waive certain provisions of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to support the global Covid-19 pandemic response.
South Centre Statement to the WHA 73 Session (November 2020)
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that, despite the magnitude of the global health challenges it has to face, the WHO is currently unable to fully enforce its directives, norms and standards. It also shows that its funding is neither sustainable nor adequate to respond effectively to current and future global health crises. Overreliance on voluntary targeted funding puts at risk its capacity to operate as the global agency responsible for public health. These are some of the main challenges facing the WHO today.
South Centre General Statement to the Seventy-fourth World Health Assembly (May 2021)
Various interrelated processes, including a possible new pandemic treaty, are at play in addressing the current and future pandemics. Read the South Centre statement to the 74th World Health Assembly.
SOUTH CENTRE STATEMENT FOR NAM HEALTH MINISTERS MEETING AT THE 74TH WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY (May 2021)
A new pandemic treaty, if negotiated, should contribute to establish a stronger international health framework, suitable to countries with different levels of development, and equip WHO with the appropriate enforcement mechanisms and tools. Read the South Centre statement.
Statement by the South Centre on the extension of the transition period for LDCs under the TRIPS Agreement (June 2021)
The TRIPS Council decision to extend the TRIPS transition period for LDCs until 1 June 2034 confirms their right to an extension but it regrettably does not meet the scope and duration that the LDCs requested. Read our statement …
Statement by the South Centre to the 2021 Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO (October 2021)
The South Centre is the intergovernmental think tank of developing countries based in Geneva. We are of the view that a central goal of WIPO as part of the UN system is to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. A balanced and flexible international intellectual property system, with adequate safeguards, can be supportive of the SDGs, as set by SDG 3b. Global supply and access to Covid-19 countermeasures can be accelerated with increased cooperation and removal of IP barriers. WIPO should support its Members to reach agreement on a temporary waiver of the TRIPS Agreement.
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 2021)
The world economy is showing signs of recovery, yet very uneven, and is facing a multitude of challenges including rising inequality within and among countries, vaccine nationalism in the face of raging COVID-19 variants, escalated debt burden for many developing countries, ravages of climate change and weakening multilateralism.
Now, we are at a pivotal moment to mend and fix the global systemic problems so that we can recover better, greener, more inclusively, and more resiliently. It is time to address root causes of the fragility, instability, divergence and asymmetries of the global economy.
South Centre Statement to the 7th Session of the Open Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (October 2021)
The South Centre, as the intergovernmental organization of developing countries, has keenly followed the evolution of the process towards the adoption of a Legally Binding Instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises since its inception and over the various sessions of this Working Group.
We welcome the strengthening of the text of the draft LBI with contributions of State delegations and civil society organisations, particularly from the Global South. The third revised draft of the LBI being discussed this week reflects many of the comments and textual suggestions made in the previous sessions of the Working Group and streamlines the provisions for their effective implementation. The process now moves into a very important phase with State-led direct substantive intergovernmental negotiations and raises hopes for the adoption of the LBI in the near future.
Statement by the South Centre on the WTO Doha Ministerial Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health on its Twentieth Anniversary (November 2021)
Twenty years since its adoption on this day, the WTO Doha Declaration on TRIPS & Public Health has helped to advance TRIPS flexibilities in national laws, judgements, panel reports and FTAs. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed significant challenges to the full use of TRIPS flexibilities that should be addressed by WTO Members.
South Centre Statement to the Special Session of the WHA (November 2021)
This WHA is convening in special session with the promise of starting a process that could ultimately lead to saving millions of lives. The most pressing priority is to get vaccines and other essential tools to the people that need them now, in all corners of the world. Redoubling efforts to help countries that are struggling the most to respond to the pandemic is an ethical imperative and would serve to contain the global spread of the virus and its new variants.
South Centre Statement to the WHO Executive Board 150th Session (24 January 2022)
The South Centre, the intergovernmental organization of 54 developing countries from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, considers that key outcomes from the work of the 150th Executive Board should include…
STATEMENT OF THE CHAIPERSON OF THE SOUTH CENTRE BOARD, THABO MBEKI: COUNCIL OF MEMBER STATES, 24 FEBRUARY 2022
Once again the health, economic and social crisis caused by COVID-19 forces us to hold this meeting virtually. The deterioration of the situation in developing countries, to which I alluded two years ago, has only worsened. The gap between the countries of the North and the global South has widened. The lack of solidarity and selfishness of the countries of the North has led to the inequality in access to vaccines that we all know today.
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that we must completely rethink the value we place on the health sector. The billions needed to prevent and respond to health crises are nothing compared to the billions lost in business closures, job losses and economic paralysis that are the cost to the global economy of a health emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic.
The South Centre, in this second year of the pandemic, has continued to adapt and innovate in its ways to support and accompany developing countries in this challenging context.
Member States Statements at the 22nd Meeting of the Council of Representatives of the South Centre, 24 February 2022
The 22nd Meeting of the Council of Representatives of the South Centre took place virtually on 24 February. Member States expressed their views on the Centre’s research & analyses, meetings & webinars and policy & technical advice during the last year and its continued support to developing countries during the challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a compilation of their statements.
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)
April 2022, Virtual Meeting
The lingering COVID-19 pandemic, monetary tightening and increasing geopolitical tension have slowed down the global economic recovery. Projections for the 2022 global GDP growth have been slashed by about one percentage point by major international institutions. Together with inflation, especially spikes in food and fuel prices, and ongoing supply chain disruptions, uncertainty and fragility are looming over the two-speed world economic recovery. This has dimmed the hope to halt or reverse the trend of the rapidly increasing number of people falling into extreme poverty and suffering from hunger. While the COVID-19 virus continues to mutate, the access to vaccination continues to be a major world concern. Developing countries’ supply and financing constraints for vaccines and critical medical products must be addressed.
In view of the multiple challenges faced by developing countries, the efforts of G24 in helping to coordinate the positions of developing countries on international monetary and development finance issues remain critical. The South Centre will continue to support those efforts.
South Centre Statement to the 23rd Session of the Working Group on the Right to Development
15 – 20 May 2022
Although we need to increase the international efforts to effectively realize the RtD, there seems to be insufficient engagement by many countries in the relevant intergovernmental processes. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to encourage and mobilize the participation of all countries in such processes. This Working Group is in a remarkable position to provide a platform for a participatory process that allows for the exchange of views and to build the necessary consensus to move forward.
STATEMENT BY CARLOS M. CORREA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SOUTH CENTRE, TO THE MEETING OF THE NAM HEALTH MINISTERS ON THE OCCASION OF THE 75TH WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY, MAY 20, 2022
The South Centre has closely followed issues concerning access to medicines and the work of the WHO over the years. In the last couple of years, it has provided analyses and advice in connection with the COVID-19 crisis that has so severely affected the members of NAM.
South Centre Statement to the WHA 75th Session, May 2022
The South Centre highlights priorities for the 75th session of the World Health Assembly: Covid-19 response, sustainable financing for WHO, health emergency preparedness and response.
TRIPS WAIVER: AN INSUFFICIENT MULTILATERAL RESPONSE. TRIPS-CONSISTENT NATIONAL ACTIONS ARE CALLED FOR (South Centre Statement, 21 June 2022)
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.
Statement by the South Centre to the 2022 Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO (18 July 2022)
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.
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.
South Centre Statement – WHO proposed instrument on pandemics: the Conceptual Zero Draft needs substantial improvement to address global public health needs (9 December 2022)
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.
WHO, WIPO & WTO Trilateral Symposium 2022 South Centre Opening Statement (16 December 2022)
by Viviana Munoz Tellez
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.
South Centre Statement on the extension of the TRIPS waiver for diagnostics and therapeutics for COVID-19 (9 January 2023)
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.
Written Statement at the OHCHR Workshop on Promoting and protecting economic, social and cultural rights within the context of addressing inequalities in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic (7 February 2023)
Measurement and elimination of global poverty and inequalities
Carlos Correa, Executive Director, South Centre
Human Rights Council Resolution 49/19 clearly recognises the severe effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has in exacerbating existing inequalities, the increase of global poverty and the disproportional burden that vulnerable and marginalized communities are suffering. It also calls for enhanced international solidarity in the COVID-19 response and recovery, including joint and concerted responses and recovery efforts that are people-centred, gender-sensitive, inclusive and with full respect for human rights.
For this session, we have the challenging task of discussing how we traditionally measure poverty, and what is necessary to better align this measurement with the drastic effects of poverty in real life, beyond measurements and numbers, and consider its effects on an adequate standard of living and for the full enjoyment of human rights.
Opening Statement of the South Centre to the WHO INB4 (February 27, 2023)
The South Centre, the international organization and think tank of 55 developing countries, appreciates the opportunity to provide a statement.
We applaud the effort done so far, yet consider that the current Zero Draft is not ambitious enough.
The Zero Draft text should be read against the purported objectives of the international instrument…
STATEMENT BY DR. CARLOS CORREA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SOUTH CENTRE, TO THE MINISTERS AND GOVERNORS MEETING OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL GROUP OF TWENTY-FOUR (G-24)
11 April 2023, Washington, D.C.
Solidarity and international cooperation is needed now more than ever to address the multiple challenges that disproportionately affect developing countries. See the South Centre’s statement to the G-24.
Summary of the intervention by Carlos Correa, Executive Director of the South Centre, at the UN General Assembly – Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Multi-Stakeholder Hearing, New York, May 9th, 2023
The response to COVID-19 revealed serious shortcomings in the multilateral system. Despite solemn declarations, it was unable to ensure equity in addressing its health, economic and social impacts. See a summary of the South Centre’s intervention at the UN General Assembly – Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Multi-Stakeholder Hearing below.
Opening Statement of the South Centre to the Seventy-Sixth World Health Assembly
22 May 2023
The South Centre, the intergovernmental organization of developing countries, appreciates the opportunity to address this World Health Assembly (WHA).
This Assembly will take many important decisions.
South Centre Statement to the Resumed session of the fifth meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response
12 June 2023
The South Centre appreciates the opportunity to address this INB. We remain available, here in Geneva or online, to present our views on specific draft provisions.
We recognise the work advanced so far.
In the Bureau text, not all options are yet on the table. All Member State proposals, existing and new ones as they come, should receive proportionate consideration, inclusion and discussion.
The consolidated text of February should remain complementary to the Bureau text.
There must be balance in providing options under various articles and in the approach for legal language under them. The Bureau text as it stands now would not deliver on equity.
The INB is moving towards consensus on principles of equity, solidarity, common but differentiated responsibilities, transparency and respect for human rights. We also support the proposal for a principle on global public goods. The INB needs now to better translate these principles into concrete legal provisions in the text.
The drafting group during this session of the INB could focus discussion on Articles 9 to 13 of the Bureau text, also drawing from the consolidated text.
South Centre Statement to the 64th WIPO General Assembly
10 July 2023
The South Centre, the intergovernmental organization of developing countries, actively promotes balancing public and private interests in the IP system. In accordance with the mandate of the 2007 Development Agenda (DA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which WIPO as a UN specialized agency must contribute to, development, sustainability and human rights should be at the core of WIPO’s activities. WIPO should remain a Member State-driven, development-oriented organization.
South Centre’s Submission to the 3rd Intersessional Meeting for Dialogue and Cooperation on Human Rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (January 2021)
Strengthening human rights for fighting inequalities and building back better
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a global crisis without precedent in modern history. Its effects have not been felt equally among all countries as it has exacerbated the profound economic and social inequalities affecting the most vulnerable. In light of the lessons, we have learned – and are still learning – from the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, the 3rd Intersessional Meeting for Dialogue and Cooperation on Human Rights and the 2030 Agenda serves as a vital opportunity to understand the needs and realities of those who are still ‘left behind’.
Strengthening United Nations Action in the Field of Human Rights through the Promotion of International Cooperation (South Centre Submission, March 2021)
COVID-19 could be an opportunity for effective international cooperation for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, taking Human Rights as its fundamental pillar, the South Centre notes in its submission for the United Nations Secretary-General’s report.
This contribution was sent to the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) responding to its invitation, with the objective of providing inputs to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s report on strengthening of UN action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation based on the principles of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity, to be presented to the General Assembly at its seventy-sixth session.
Submission to the Special Session of the General Assembly on Challenges and Measures to Prevent and Combat Corruption and Strengthen International Cooperation (June 2021)
South Centre, 28 May 2021
The South Centre submission to UNGASS2021 highlights the need for strong inter-institutional and cross-sectorial coordination and more effective and open government tools. The UNGASS2021 should support the implementation of the FACTI Panel recommendations as means to enhance States’ effort to combat corruption.
Written Contribution to the United Nations Committee on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Draft General Comment on Land and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (July 2021)
As mentioned by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the purpose of the general comment is to clarify the specific obligations of States parties relating to land and the governance of tenure of land under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). In line with such an objective, the South Centre is keen to submit the following written contribution to the draft general comment on Land and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (draft general comment). It will consider some of the concerns that developing countries have raised in relation to their development realities and needs, mainly arising from the challenges they face due to the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis and the need for a fair and inclusive recovery.
Contribution of the South Centre to the Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of UN General Assembly Resolution A/75/L.97 dated 9 June 2021 on the “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” (2021)
This input by the South Centre is prepared in response to the UN Secretary-General’s request as a contribution to the report of the Secretary-General as per resolution A/75/L.97, with respect to the imposition of unilateral economic, financial and trade measures against Cuba, in violation of basic principles of the UN Charter.
South Centre Comments on the Draft Annotated Outline of a WHO Convention, Agreement or Other International Instrument on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (24 June 2022)
The South Centre welcomes the opportunity to provide comments on the draft annotated outline of a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. Comments are provided with respect to the process and the content.
South Centre Contribution to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Report – Strengthening United Nations Actions in the Field of Human Rights through the Promotion of International Cooperation (24 February 2023)
The South Centre submits the following written contribution to the United Nations Secretary General’s Report on ‘Strengthening the United Nations’ action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation’, in line with the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution A/RES/76/164, adopted on 16 December 2021. The resolution recognises the need for respecting the political, economic and social realities of each society in compliance with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations. The report to be presented by the Secretary-General to the UNGA represents an important opportunity to recognise that global challenges do not affect all societies equally, and that they require a broader consideration of policies and innovative solutions that can cater to the unique realities and specific needs of each society.
Submission by the South Centre to the USITC hearing on Covid-19 diagnostics and therapeutics (17 March 2023)
India, South Africa and co-sponsors made a proposal for a waiver to certain provisions of the provisions of the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in March 2020. In June 2022, the WTO Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement provided a partial waiver to obligations in Article 31, namely an exception to the 31.f export restrictions, in relation to patents for Covid-19 vaccines. No decision has yet been made with respect to diagnostics and therapeutics for Covid-19.
In this context, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) requested the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) to prepare a report on Covid-19 diagnostics and therapeutics.
Read below the submission by the South Centre to the USITC investigation: COVID-19 Diagnostics and Therapeutics: Supply, Demand, and TRIPS Agreement Flexibilities (Inv. No. 332-596).
Contribución del Centro Sur al Informe del Secretario General sobre la aplicación de la Resolución A/RES/77/7 de la Asamblea General de la ONU sobre la “Necesidad de poner fin al bloqueo económico, comercial y financiero impuesto por los Estados Unidos de América contra Cuba” (marzo 2023)
Esta aportación del Centro Sur se presenta en respuesta a la solicitud del Secretario General como contribución al informe del Secretario General de acuerdo a la resolución A/RES/77/7, con respecto a la imposición de medidas económicas, financieras y comerciales unilaterales por parte de los Estados Unidos de América, contra Cuba, en violación de los principios básicos de la Carta de las Naciones Unidas.
Policy Paper on National Strategies for South-South and Triangular Cooperation (South Centre and IsDB joint publication, April 2021)
For developing countries to realize the full potential of South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTrC) for achieving their national sustainable development objectives, it is important to formulate national SSTrC strategies as part of their national SSTrC ecosystems. Such national strategies would serve as guidance for a country’s SSTrC activities, initiatives and institutional framework, both as provider and beneficiary of SSTrC. This policy brief highlights the importance of developing national SSTrC strategies for achieving national development objectives and lays out the main elements that can be taken into consideration by developing countries for designing their national SSTrC strategies. While many developing countries do not have an explicit SSTrC strategy in place yet, the state of play shows that its elements can be found in various policies, institutional guidance and national development strategies. The absence of a holistic approach and a nationally acknowledged strategy carries the risk of fragmentation and incoherence in undertaking SSTrC activities. The potential of national SSTrC strategies for enabling effective responses to crises (such as COVID-19) is also explored.
This paper was developed jointly by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the South Centre based on the concept of the Islamic Development Bank on National Ecosystems for South-South and Triangular Cooperation.
Report: Virtual Consultation in support of the UN Working Group’s 2021 Report to the UN General Assembly on Human Rights-Compatible International Investment Agreements (August 2021)
South Centre, 23 June 2021
Foreign direct investment (FDI) should support States’ efforts to “bring the SDGs and goals of the Paris Agreement to life for all people, everywhere.” However, achievement of these objectives is slowed down in the current situation where investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms are included in international investment agreements (IIAs). These mechanisms have increased the exposure of States to claims from foreign investors against regulatory measures taken to protect and guarantee a clean and safe environment, public health, human rights, social inclusion, and poverty reduction.
In the current scenario marked by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, FDI can be a valuable source of financing a better and fairer recovery, including investment needed to achieve the full realisation of all human rights. But to achieve this potential, there is a need to reshape the international investment regime, including through the reform of its substantive rules and standards, as well as of the ISDS mechanisms embedded in existing IIAs.
The South Centre and the United Nations Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises convened a virtual consultation to identify and assess the different challenges developing countries face while negotiating or reforming IIAs in line with their international human rights obligations. The virtual consultation aimed at highlighting and discussing some of the most common concerns and challenges those developing countries face in the promotion of responsible investment practices, including an exploratory discussion about balancing the rights and obligations of investors in IIAs and safeguarding the sovereign right of States to regulate in the public interest for building back better and fairer in face of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also discussed possible reforms of the ISDS mechanism.
Report on International Taxation from Global South Perspectives (October 2021)
By Badr Mandri, Sebastien Babou Diasso, and Aaditri Solankii
South Centre (SC) in collaboration with the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS) organized on October 13, 2021, a webinar on the issue of International Taxation from the Global South perspectives.
Tax revenue mobilization plays a key role in financing the economic and social development of countries. When well designed and implemented, tax policy can help developing countries raise revenue and increase their spending, especially in the social sector. Indeed, tax revenue as a share of GDP represent only 15% to 20% in low and middle-income countries, because of obstacles such as the imbalanced and complex international standards designed for developed countries, and the difficulties in collecting taxes in developing countries.
Vaccins, Médicaments et Brevets. La covid-19 et l’impératif d’une organisation internationale (Book, 2021)
Par Germán Velásquez
À partir de début 2020, le monde a dû faire face à un considérable défi sanitaire, économique et social avec l’épidémie de la COVID-19. La crise s’est poursuivie et aggravée dans la plupart des pays du monde. Beaucoup ont voulu explorer des réponses sans prendre réellement en compte les avis des principaux organismes internationaux dans le domaine de la santé, au premier rang desquels l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS). L’OMS fait l’objet de critiques. Il est néanmoins fondamental qu’une agence multilatérale comme elle puisse exercer une véritable autorité et jouer un rôle de chef de le indépendant et en défense de l’ensemble des pays de la planète. Alors, comment faire pour qu’elle puisse jouer ce rôle ? Ce livre contribue à apporter des réponses à cette question, en s’appuyant sur les réflexions développées par le Centre Sud, un organisme intergouvernemental qui défend les perspectives des pays du Sud. Il aborde notamment l’avancement des réflexions et débats concernant l’accès aux médicaments et vaccins pour répondre à cette pandémie ou à d’éventuelles crises ultérieures.
Vacunas, medicamentos y patentes. COVID-19 y la necesidad de una organización internacional (Book, 2021)
Por Germán Velásquez
Velásquez, Germán: Vacunas, medicamentos y patentes. COVID-19 y la necesidad de una organización internacional. Vacunas covid-19: entre la ética, la salud y la economía. Desarrollo de la vacuna COVID-19; la inmunidad y el contagio; el nacionalismo de las vacunas; el mecanismo COVAX; licencias obligatorias; Acceso a medicamentos y vacunas: un nuevo actor. Medicamentos y propiedad intelectual: diez años de la estrategia mundial de la oms. Repensando la fabricación mundial y local de productos médicos tras el covid-19. Repensando la i+d para productos farmacéuticos después del covid-19. Propiedad intelectual y acceso a medicamentos y vacunas. Las reformas de la organización mundial de la salud en la época de covid-19. 2021. 244 pp. ISBN 978-9915-650-31-9.
Uso Público No Comercial y Licencias Obligatorias en América Latina: Estado de Situación (Book, 2021)
Por Guillermo Vidaurreta
Este libro examina cómo han sido regulados en el derecho latinoamericano el uso público no comercial y las licencias obligatorias de patentes de invención, una de las importantes flexibilidades en el marco del acuerdo sobre propiedad intelectual de la Organización Mundial de Comercio. Igualmente, indaga y compendia las experiencias registradas en cuanto al uso efectivo de esos instrumentos, el que no se agota en el ámbito de la salud pública, si bien han sido especialmente utilizados tanto por países desarrollados como en desarrollo para facilitar el acceso a medicamentos, incluso en el contexto de la pandemia del COVID-19.
Access to Medicines and Vaccines: Implementing Flexibilities Under Intellectual Property Law (Book, 2021)
Edited by Carlos M. Correa and Reto M. Hilty
Vaccines, Medicines and COVID-19. How Can WHO Be Given a Stronger Voice? (Book, 2022)
by Germán Velásquez
The considerable health, economic and social challenge that the world faced in early 2020 with COVID-19 continued and worsened in many parts of the world in the second half of 2020 and into 2021.
How can an agency like WHO be given a stronger voice to exercise authority and leadership?
This book is a collection of research papers produced by the author between 2020 and early 2021 that helps answer this question. The topics address the state of thinking and debate – particularly with regard to medicines and vaccines – that would enable a response to this pandemic or subsequent crises that may emerge.
This book presents the South Centre’s reflections and studies to provide policymakers, researchers and other stakeholders with information and analysis on issues related to public health and access to medicines and vaccines in the context of COVID-19.
El debate sobre la exención de los derechos de propiedad intelectual en tiempos de pandemia (Book, 2023)
Por Alejandra Aoun, Juan Correa, Martín A. Cortese, Vanesa Lowenstein, Sandra C. Negro, Guillermo E. Vidaurreta
El 11 de marzo de 2020 la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) comunicó que la enfermedad por coronavirus de 2019 (COVID-19), podía ser considerada una pandemia. A medida que el contagio de la enfermedad aumentaba se hizo evidente la insuficiencia de los recursos sanitarios, vacunas y métodos de diagnóstico y tratamiento para enfrentar con éxito la pandemia. En este contexto, en la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC) se reavivó la tensión entre las reglas de propiedad intelectual y la salud pública.
Como consecuencia de ello, el 2 de octubre de 2020, Sudáfrica e India, presentaron ante la OMC una propuesta para que ciertas disposiciones del Acuerdo sobre los ADPIC no resultaran de aplicación para cualquier producto o procedimiento destinado a la prevención, contención y tratamiento de la COVID-19. Esta propuesta de exención (waiver), contó con la férrea oposición de la Unión Europea que presentó una propuesta alternativa. Para intentar llegar a un acuerdo se formó una comisión cuadrilateral conformada por Sudáfrica, India, la Unión Europea y EEUU. Finalmente, luego de dos años de negociaciones y en el marco de la 12ª Conferencia Ministerial (MC12) celebrada en Ginebra el 17 de junio de 2022, se aprobó un proyecto de exención de los derechos de propiedad intelectual que dista mucho de la propuesta original de 2020.
El presente trabajo, analiza detalladamente el proceso de discusión – en torno al tema del “waiver” – dado en el Consejo de los ADPIC de la OMC: estudia los antecedentes de la propuesta de exención, analiza los documentos presentados por las partes en pugna, revisa los argumentos esgrimidos a favor y en contra del waiver, los instrumentos propuestos y, asimismo, muestra cómo se desenvolvieron las distintas posiciones hasta alcanzar el acuerdo final.
Guide for the Granting of Compulsory Licenses and Government Use of Pharmaceutical Patents (Research Paper 107, April 2020)
By Dr. Carlos M. Correa
Like other rights, patent rights are not absolute. There are situations in which their exercise can be limited to protect public interests. Such situations may arise, for instance, when access to needed pharmaceutical products must be ensured. Compulsory licenses and government use for non-commercial purposes are tools, provided for under most laws worldwide, that can specifically be used to address public health needs. This document is intended to provide legal guidance for the effective use of such tools, consistently with the international law.
Guía para la concesión de licencias obligatorias y uso gubernamental de patentes farmacéuticas (Documento de investigación 107, Diciembre 2020)
Por Carlos M. Correa
Al igual que otros derechos, los derechos de patente no son absolutos. Hay situaciones en las que su ejercicio puede limitarse para proteger los intereses públicos. Esas situaciones pueden surgir, por ejemplo, cuando debe garantizarse el acceso a los productos farmacéuticos necesarios. Las licencias obligatorias y el uso gubernamental con fines no comerciales son instrumentos, previstos en la mayoría de las leyes de todo el mundo, que pueden utilizarse específicamente para atender las necesidades de salud pública. El presente documento tiene por objeto proporcionar orientación jurídica para el uso eficaz de esos instrumentos, de conformidad con el derecho internacional.
Equitable Access to COVID-19 Related Health Technologies: A Global Priority (Research Paper 114, June 2020)
By Dr. Zeleke Temesgen Boru
Since COVID-19 was first identified, infections from the virus and the death toll have spiked abysmally. The pandemic has also paralyzed the economies (particularly, global trade, tourism and transport) of many countries. The dire social and psychological ramifications associated with the pandemic are also immense. The threat posed by COVID-19 on global health and the economic downturn resulting thereof necessitates the development of health technologies (such as medicines and vaccines). A global effort to invent new health technologies or the likely application of existing technologies is also underway since the outbreak of the pandemic. Even though the race to develop these technologies can be hailed as a pivotal undertaking, the development of health technologies alone may not expedite equitable access to the outcome of such development. Particularly, the lack of access to health technologies may befall if the conventional model of health technology pricing, which is derived from monopoly rights created by IP protection, is set. However, legal as well as policy tools can be used to overcome such hurdles and ensure global access to health technologies. In this sense, this paper discusses plausible legal and policy options that can help to accelerate access to health technologies targeting COVID-19.
The TRIPS Agreement Article 73 Security Exceptions and the COVID-19 Pandemic (Research Paper 116, August 2020)
By Frederick Abbott
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused Governments to contemplate measures to override patents and other intellectual property rights (IPRs) in order to facilitate production and distribution of vaccines, treatments, diagnostics and medical devices. This paper discusses whether the COVID-19 pandemic may be considered an “emergency in international relations” and how WTO Member States may invoke Article 73 (“Security Exceptions”) of the TRIPS Agreement as the legal basis for overriding IPRs otherwise required to be made available or enforced. It concludes that the pandemic constitutes an emergency in international relations within the meaning of Article 73(b)(iii) and that this provision allows Governments to take actions necessary to protect their essential security interests.
Re-thinking Global and Local Manufacturing of Medical Products After COVID-19 (Research Paper 118, September 2020)
By Dr. Germán Velásquez
The unprecedented global health crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic since the first quarter of 2020 has reopened the now-urgent discussion about the role of local pharmaceutical production in addressing the health needs in developing countries. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the interdependencies in the global production of pharmaceuticals—no country is self-sufficient. Many industrialized countries are making the decision to repatriate or initiate the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and medicines. Governments are beginning to talk about ‘pharmaceutical sovereignty’ or ‘health security’. If this becomes a reality and the production of pharmaceuticals is led by nationalistic policies, developing countries that still lack manufacturing capacity will have to start or expand the local production of pharmaceuticals, whether at the national or regional level. The war to get access to the future vaccine for COVID-19 does not look easy with these new developments.
Reconsidérations sur la fabrication mondiale et locale de produits médicaux après le COVID-19 (Document de Recherche 118, Janvier 2021)
Par Germán Velásquez
La crise sanitaire mondiale sans précédent provoquée par la pandémie de coronavirus (COVID-19), au cours du premier semestre 2020, ramène avec une urgence particulière la discussion sur la production pharmaceutique locale. La crise du COVID-19 a mis en évidence l’interdépendance de la production mondiale de médicaments—aucun pays n’étant autosuffisant. De nombreux pays industrialisés prennent la décision de rapatrier ou de développer la production d’ingrédients pharmaceutiques actifs (IPA). De nombreux gouvernements commencent à parler de souveraineté pharmaceutique et/ou de sécurité sanitaire. Si cela devient une réalité, les pays en développement devront développer et/ou renforcer la production locale de médicaments et de vaccins. La guerre pour obtenir le futur vaccin pour COVID-19 ne semble pas facile avec ces nouveaux développements.
Repensando la fabricación mundial y local de productos médicos tras el COVID-19 (Documento de investigación 118, Junio 2021)
Por Germán Velásquez
La crisis sanitaria mundial sin precedentes provocada por la pandemia del coronavirus –COVID-19, durante el primer semestre de 2020, hace que se vuelva a plantear con especial urgencia el debate sobre la producción farmacéutica local. La crisis de COVID-19 puso de manifiesto la interdependencia en la producción mundial de medicamentos, ningún país es autosuficiente. Muchos países industrializados están tomando la decisión de repatriar o desarrollar la producción de Ingredientes Farmacéuticos Activos (API). Muchos gobiernos están empezando a hablar de soberanía farmacéutica y/o seguridad sanitaria. Si esto se hace realidad, los países en desarrollo tendrán que desarrollar y/o fortalecer la producción local de medicamentos y vacunas. La guerra para obtener la futura vacuna para COVID-19 no parece fácil con estos nuevos desarrollos.
Patent Analysis for Medicines and Biotherapeutics in Trials to Treat COVID-19 (Research Paper 120, October 2020)
By Srividya Ravi
This report provides an analysis of patents covering medicines in trials to treat COVID-19. The aim of the report is to support national patent offices and interested parties in developing countries with information that can serve as guidance for the examination of the claims contained in relevant patents or patent applications.
The medicines considered for the patent analysis in this report are remdesivir, ruxolitinib and favipiravir, and the biotherapeutics tocilizumab, siltuximab and sarilumab.
The World Health Organization Reforms in the Time of COVID-19 (Research Paper 121, November 2020)
By Germán Velásquez
During its 70-year history, the World Health Organization (WHO) has undergone various reforms led by several Directors-General, including Halfdan Mahler at the Almaty Conference on primary health care in 1978, Gro Harlem Brundtland with her “reach out to the private sector” in 1998, and Margaret Chan with her unfinished debate on the role of “non-state actors” in 2012. The organization’s fragility is once again being highlighted, as the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that WHO does not have the legal instruments and mechanisms necessary to enforce its standards and guidelines, and that its funding is not sustainable and adequate to respond to the challenge. This paper seeks to identify the main problems faced by WHO and the necessary measures that a reform of the organization would have to take.
Las reformas de la Organización Mundial de la Salud en la época de COVID-19 (Documento de investigación 121, Noviembre 2020)
Por Germán Velásquez
A lo largo de sus 70 años de historia la OMS ha pasado por varias reformas lideradas por varios directores generales, como Halfdan Mahler en la Conferencia de Alma ata sobre la atención primaria de salud, 1978, Gro Harlem Brundtland con su « reach out to the private sector » 1998, Margaret Chan con su inconcluso debate sobre el rol de « los autores no estatales » 2012 . Una vez mas, y de forma contundente la crisis sanitaria del 2020 pone en evidencia la fragilidad de la Organización y nos revela que la OMS no tiene los instrumentos y mecanismos legales necesarios para aplicar sus normas y orientaciones y que su manera de financiamiento no es sostenible y adecuada para responder al desafío de la COVID-19. Este documento trata de identificar cuales son los problemas principales de que sufre la OMS y cuales serian las medidas necesarias que una reforma de la Organización tendría que abordar.
Les réformes de l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé a l’époque de COVID-19 (Document de Recherche 121, Janvier 2021)
Par Germán Velásquez
Tout au long de ses 70 ans d’histoire, l’OMS a connu plusieurs réformes dirigées par plusieurs Directeurs généraux, tels que Halfdan Mahler à la Conférence d’Almaty sur les soins de santé primaires, en 1978, Gro Harlem Brundtland avec son appel à « tendre la main au secteur privé », en 1998, et Margaret Chan avec son débat inachevé sur le rôle des «acteurs non étatiques », en 2012. Une fois de plus, la crise sanitaire de 2020 a mis en évidence la fragilité de l’organisation et a révélé que l’OMS ne dispose pas des instruments et mécanismes juridiques nécessaires pour mettre en œuvre ses normes et lignes directrices, et que son financement n’est pas durable et adéquat pour répondre au défi de la COVID-19. Ce document cherche à identifier les principaux problèmes rencontrés par l’OMS et les mesures nécessaires qu’une réforme de l’Organisation devrait prendre.
Practical Implications of ‘Vaccine Nationalism’: A Short-Sighted and Risky Approach in Response to COVID-19 (Research Paper 124, November 2020)
By Muhammad Zaheer Abbas, PhD
To end the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure a return of normalcy, an effective and safe vaccine is the best hope. The vaccine nationalism approach, adopted by some countries to gain preferential access to emerging COVID-19 vaccines, poses a threat to the fair and equitable distribution of the potential vaccines across the globe. This research paper critically evaluates the approach of vaccine nationalism and argues that this self-centred political behaviour of leaving others behind is short-sighted, potentially risky, morally indefensible, and practically inefficient in containing the pandemic. This paper highlights why it is important for national governments to support the collaborative and coordinated effort of the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility for the timely development and efficient delivery of potential COVID-19 vaccines. It concludes that an effective response to the current health and economic crisis should be guided by values of international solidarity, multilateralism, equality, and global collaboration. It proposes the adoption of an enforceable global framework to address the concerns arising from the combination of vaccine nationalism and intellectual property exclusivities.
The TRIPS waiver proposal: an urgent measure to expand access to the COVID-19 vaccines (Research Paper 129, March 2021)
by Henrique Zeferino de Menezes
Despite multilateral commitments and political statements of solidarity and cooperation to guarantee the availability and access to COVID-19 vaccines (and other relevant technologies for control and treatment), the scenario after the beginning of vaccination is marked by the deepening of vaccine nationalism, the concentration of inputs and vaccines production, and the uneven distribution of options of vaccine doses already approved for use. This pattern of production restrictions and unequal access will lead to an increase in international inequalities, leaving a large part of the world to have access to vaccines not until 2024. While advanced purchase agreements (APAs) among pharmaceutical companies and some developed countries are multiplying, the proposed mechanisms for voluntary licensing of technologies and the COVAX Facility do not achieve their goal of democratizing access to vaccines. In this sense, the current TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) waiver proposal seems to be the political and institutional response with the greatest potential to guarantee the scaling of the production of pharmaceutical inputs, allowing the adoption of a comprehensive strategy to ensure timely, sufficient, and affordable access to all technologies developed to fight COVID-19.
Interpreting the Flexibilities Under the TRIPS Agreement (Research Paper 132, June 2021)
By Carlos M. Correa
While the TRIPS Agreement provides for minimum standards of protection of intellectual property, it leaves a certain degree of policy space for WTO members, whether developed or developing countries, to implement the Agreement’s provisions in different manners, to legislate in areas not subject to the minimum standards under the Agreement, and to develop legal interpretations of such provisions to determine the scope and content of the applicable obligations. This paper focuses on some aspects of how panels and the Appellate Body of the WTO have interpreted said provisions. The paper also draws general conclusions for the implementation of TRIPS flexibilities, which are of crucial importance for the design of a pro-competitive intellectual property system and, in particular, for achieving public health objectives, as specifically recognized by the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health.
Malaria and Dengue: Understanding two infectious diseases affecting developing countries and their link to climate change (Research Paper 133, August 2021)
By Mirza Alas
Developing countries will face more complex challenges as infectious disease patterns transform due to climate change and climate variability. These challenges include how to reduce the incidence of malaria (including the significant challenge of resistant malaria), dengue, and other vector-borne and water-borne diseases that are likely to experience alterations in geographical range and lengthening of the transmission seasons due to changing temperatures and rain patterns. Climate extremes, e.g., heat and floods, are implicating the spread of climate-sensitive infectious diseases such as dengue and malaria transmitted by vectors like mosquitoes. In the context of growing financial pressure on governments due to COVID-19, the ensuing fiscal challenges may severely limit the capacity to effectively respond to health challenges in countries already affected by malaria and dengue. Other countries that have made gains in controlling vector-borne infections could also be vulnerable to rising disease burden. This research paper aims to analyze how changes in malaria and dengue pose a challenge for developing countries as they prepare mitigation and adaptation strategies for climate health. The paper will also provide some general recommendations on the importance of integration of health in national climate change strategies.
Restructuring the Global Vaccine Industry (Research Paper 134, September 2021)
By Felix Lobo
The purpose of this report is to analyse the vaccines industry under the focus of Industrial Economics as an input for the design of the pertinent instruments to promote development, manufacturing and distribution of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 in sufficient amounts to immunize all countries as soon as possible. We also need to be prepared for future emerging infectious diseases with the potential of global expansion.
The report shows that the vaccines industry is – and has been for a long time – far away from the competitive market paradigm with notorious market failures. As a result, the industry is underperforming with shortages and stockouts, exit of firms from the industry, underinvestment in research and development (R&D) and manufacturing, even an “anaemic development pipeline”, all signs of market failure.
After a brief review of policies implemented to tackle these problems we conclude that after the COVID-19 pandemic there is a need to implement a profound overhauling of the industry and to fundamentally reformulate and extend global public policies to stimulate R&D, manufacturing, distribution and access.
Implementation of a TRIPS Waiver for Health Technologies and Products for COVID-19: Preventing Claims Under Free Trade and Investment Agreements (Research Paper 135, September 2021)
by Carlos M. Correa, Nirmalya Syam and Daniel Uribe
While increasing support from WTO members for a proposed waiver from certain obligations under the TRIPS Agreement with regard to health products required for responding to COVID-19 has made a decision on the TRIPS waiver imminent, the waiver will have to be implemented domestically by WTO members through appropriate legislative, administrative or judicial measures, including through executive orders that have been utilized to implement emergency measures in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, the scope of the TRIPS waiver, as well as the terms of applicable free trade agreements (FTAs) and international investment agreements (IIAs) will also impact the policy space available to countries to implement the waiver. Ensuring a broad scope of the waiver, as well as complementary measures to safeguard the implementation of the waiver from potential challenges under FTAs or IIAs will be critical. This research paper discusses some options that could be explored to enable the implementation of the TRIPS waiver by overcoming possible impediments that could arise under such agreements.
Canada’s Political Choices Restrain Vaccine Equity: The Bolivia-Biolyse Case (Research Paper 136, September 2021)
By Muhammad Zaheer Abbas, PhD
The COVID-19 pandemic has already claimed more than 4.6 million lives and caused significant economic harm. The Coronavirus is still circulating to cause further damage. In this context, this research paper argues that Canada’s political choices have restrained the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Part I evaluates Canada’s nationalistic approach of procuring COVID-19 vaccines more than its needs through secretly concluded pre-purchase agreements with brand-name pharmaceutical corporations as advised by a secretly born task force having clear ties with the vaccine industry. Part II examines Canada’s wavering and non-committal position on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Waiver proposal. Canada’s confusing position of ‘not blocking’ the TRIPS Waiver while not supporting it either lacks legal clarity. Part III analyses the Bolivia-Biolyse case which highlights clear contradictions between statements and actions of the Canadian government. Since March 2021, Biolyse Pharma has been hamstrung by the first step in Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR), where a preliminary requirement is that the COVID-19 vaccine must be added to Schedule 1 of the Canadian federal Patent Act before applying for an export-oriented compulsory licence. The Bolivia-Biolyse case is important as a test case for the CAMR system. Workability of this export-oriented compulsory licensing regime is critical for low- and middle-income countries in the Global South lacking the domestic capacity to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines. The Bolivia-Biolyse case is also important as Canada has argued at the World Trade Organization (WTO) that the TRIPS Waiver is not required because the existing mechanisms are working as intended.
The Ocean Economy: trends, impacts and opportunities for a post COVID-19 Blue Recovery in developing countries (Research Paper 137, September 2021)
by David Vivas Eugui, Diana Barrowclough and Claudia Contreras
This paper discusses preliminary and still quite unknown trends on trade, finance, and technology of the ocean economy, outlines key impacts and measures taken to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and raises awareness about the potential of the ocean economy to contribute to a sustainable and resilient recovery. Based on these findings, the paper argues that sustainability and resilience considerations should be more highly prioritized in ocean-based value chains in a post COVID-19 recovery. To support this, the paper highlights the importance of securing sufficient and reliable long-term investment and the creation of capacities to develop new and adapt existing service innovations. It calls for a global trade, investment and innovation Blue Deal as sister to the Green New Deal already gaining support around the world, particularly for developing countries.
Del SIDA al COVID-19: La OMS ante las crisis sanitarias globales (Documento de investigación 140, Noviembre 2021)
Por Germán Velásquez
Este documento de investigación es una compilación de artículos de Germán Velásquez publicados por el “Monde Diplomatique” (ediciones francesa y española) entre el 2003 y el 2021. El autor analiza como la OMS enfrentó las grandes crisis sanitarias de los últimos 20 años. El SIDA y la llegada de los primeros antiretrovirales, la gripe H1N1 con el despilfarro del Oseltamivir (nombre de marca “Tamiflu”) y las vacunas que al final fueron destruidas en grandes cantidades, el ébola donde la OMS llegó con cuatro meses de atraso, la hepatitis C y los fármacos que podrían curarla pero fueron lanzados al mercado con precios inaccesibles y, actualmente, la pandemia devastadora del COVID-19 que ha demostrado una vez más la insoportable desigualdad en el acceso a la salud y a las vacunas y tratamientos, entre los países del Norte y los países del Sur.
El denominador común a todas estas crisis sanitarias mundiales ha sido la reacción de los países miembros de la OMS de querer reformar la Organización de tal manera que ésta pueda responder mejor a la crisis del momento. Este es exactamente el movimiento que ha desatado la COVID-19 y el tema y las negociaciones que probablemente nos ocuparán en los próximos años
Implementación de una exención de los ADPIC relacionados con tecnologías y productos sanitarios para la COVID-19: Evitar reclamaciones en virtud de acuerdos de libre comercio e inversión (Documento de investigación 135, Noviembre 2021)
Por Carlos M. Correa, Nirmalya Syam y Daniel Uribe
Aunque el creciente apoyo de los miembros de la OMC a una propuesta de exención de determinadas obligaciones en virtud del Acuerdo sobre los ADPIC con respecto a los productos sanitarios necesarios para responder a la COVID-19 ha hecho que sea inminente una decisión sobre la exención de los ADPIC, los miembros de la OMC tendrán que aplicar la exención a nivel nacional a través de medidas legislativas, administrativas o judiciales apropiadas, incluidas las órdenes ejecutivas que se han utilizado para aplicar medidas de emergencia en el contexto de la pandemia de la COVID-19. En este sentido, el alcance de la exención de los ADPIC, así como los términos aplicables en los acuerdos de libre comercio (ALC) y los acuerdos internacionales de inversión (AII) también influirán en el espacio de política disponible para que los países apliquen la exención. Será fundamental garantizar un amplio alcance de la exención, así como medidas complementarias para salvaguardar la aplicación de la exención de posibles impugnaciones en el marco de los ALC o los AII. Este documento de investigación analiza algunas opciones que podrían explorarse para permitir la aplicación de la exención de los ADPIC superando los posibles impedimentos que podrían surgir en el marco de dichos acuerdos.
Mise en œuvre d’une dérogation ADPIC pour les technologies et produits de santé pour la COVID-19: prévenir les réclamations dans le cadre des accords de libre-échange et d’investissement (Document de Recherche 135, Novembre 2021)
Par Carlos M. Correa, Nirmalya Syam et Daniel Uribe
Bien que le soutien croissant des membres de l’OMC pour une proposition de dérogation à certaines obligations de l’Accord sur les ADPIC concernant les produits de santé nécessaires pour répondre à la pandémie COVID-19 ait rendu imminente une décision sur la dérogation ADPIC, celle-ci devra être mise en œuvre au niveau national par les membres de l’OMC par le biais de mesures législatives, administratives ou judiciaires appropriées, y compris par le biais de décrets qui ont été utilisés pour mettre en œuvre des mesures d’urgence dans le contexte de la pandémie COVID-19. À cet égard, la portée de la dérogation ADPIC, ainsi que les termes des accords de libre-échange (ALE) et des accords internationaux d’investissement (AII) applicables, auront également un impact sur la marge de manœuvre dont disposent les pays pour mettre en œuvre la dérogation. Il sera essentiel de garantir un large champ d’application de la dérogation, ainsi que des mesures complémentaires pour protéger la mise en œuvre de la dérogation contre d’éventuelles contestations dans le cadre des ALE ou des AII. Ce document de recherche examine certaines options qui pourraient être explorées pour permettre la mise en œuvre de la dérogation ADPIC en surmontant les obstacles qui pourraient survenir dans le cadre de tels accords.
Utilising Public Health Flexibilities in the Era of COVID-19: An Analysis of Intellectual Property Regulation in the OAPI and MENA Regions (Research Paper 141, November 2021)
By Yousuf A Vawda and Bonginkosi Shozi
The paper explores the unique approaches to IP protection in the countries belonging to the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle/African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions; the limited extent to which legal and policy frameworks with regard to TRIPS flexibilities have been adopted and implemented in pursuit of access to medicines in those countries; and makes recommendations in order to optimise the use of the flexibilities in advancing public health objectives. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of IP rights on access, and some approaches to countering the challenges to access are also discussed.
Direito Brasileiro da Concorrência e Acesso à Saúde no Brasil: Preços Exploratórios no Setor de Medicamentos (Research Paper 143, 11 de janeiro de 2022)
Por Bruno Braz de Castro
O presente trabalho tem por objeto analisar interfaces entre o Direito da Concorrência brasileiro e o tema do acesso a medicamentos, com especial atenção aos abusos de direitos de propriedade industrial em seus efeitos exclusionários e exploratórios. O trabalho analisa a jurisprudência do Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica (CADE) no setor de medicamentos e discute os abusos visando à imposição ilegítima de direitos de propriedade intelectual inexistentes ou inválidos com finalidade anticompetitiva. Em seguida, aborda os abusos no exercício de direitos de propriedade industrial que sejam, por si, válidos: práticas exclusionárias, voltadas à elevação artificial de barreiras à entrada, e práticas exploratórias, traduzidas diretamente no exercício de poder de mercado em detrimento ao consumidor. Estas últimas são manifestadas na forma de preços excessivos exploratórios, degradações contratuais, de qualidade ou de privacidade, bem como restrições na oferta como o açambarcamento/impedimento de exploração de direitos de propriedade industrial. O artigo conclui pela validade e eficácia jurídica da proibição a preços exploratórios pela Lei de Defesa da Concorrência vigente, com certas preocupações metodológicas a fim de minorar o risco de condenações errôneas (como a construção de testes “screening” de mercados-candidatos a intervenção). Em atenção a tais diretrizes, o setor de medicamentos comparece como candidato importante à atenção antitruste, haja vista a magnitude dos prejuízos potencialmente derivados da não-intervenção sobre a prática. Remédios nessa seara, de modo importante, devem focar na identificação e solução dos problemas competitivos estruturais do setor. Em caso de medicamentos sujeitos à regulação de preços pela Câmara de Regulação do Mercado de Medicamentos (CMED), a expertise técnica da autoridade concorrencial poderá ser de grande valia em sede de advocacia da concorrência, o que é demonstrado à luz das discussões recentes acerca do reajuste extraordinário de preços em virtude de problemas concorrenciais de determinado mercado.
Brazilian Competition Law and Access to Health in Brazil: Exploitative Pricing in the Pharmaceutical Sector (Research Paper 143, 11 January 2022)
By Bruno Braz de Castro
This paper aims to analyze the interfaces between Brazilian Competition Law and the issue of access to medicines, with a special focus on abuse of industrial property rights and related exclusionary and exploitative effects. The paper analyzes the case law of Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) in the pharmaceutical sector and discusses abusive practices such as illegitimately imposing non-existent or invalid intellectual property rights with anticompetitive purposes. It then addresses abusive strategies in the exercise of industrial property rights which are, in essence, valid: i.e., exclusionary practices, aimed at artificially raising barriers to entry; and exploitative practices, directly translated as the exercise of market power to the detriment of the consumer. The latter ultimately result in exploitative excessive prices; contractual, quality or privacy degradation; and restrictions on supply, such as by hoarding/preventing the exploitation of industrial property rights. The paper concludes that the prohibition of exploitative pricing under the current competition law is legally valid and effective, with certain methodological concerns towards reducing the risk of wrongful convictions (for instance, by applying screening tests to determine the markets that are candidates for intervention). In view of such guidelines, the pharmaceutical industry appears to be an important candidate for antitrust attention, given the magnitude of the harm potentially derived from non-intervention against the practice. Remedies in this area, importantly, should focus on identifying and solving the sector’s structural competitive problems. In the case of medicines subject to price regulation by the Drug Market Regulation Chamber (CMED), the technical expertise of the competition authority may be of great value in terms of competition advocacy, a fact that is demonstrated in light of recent discussions on extraordinary price adjustments because of competitive problems in certain markets.
A TRIPS-COVID Waiver and Overlapping Commitments to Protect Intellectual Property Rights Under International IP and Investment Agreements (Research Paper 144, 27 January 2022)
This paper considers legal implications that are likely to emerge from the implementation of a TRIPS Waiver decision. Assuming that a Waiver is adopted in the form presented in the May 2021 proposal by South Africa and India et al, we review the interaction between the Waiver and other commitments to protect IP rights under international IP and investment treaties. Our principal research question is to analyze whether domestic measures implementing the Waiver are compatible with the implementing State’s other obligations to protect IP rights established under multilateral IP treaties, IP and Investment Chapters of FTAs as well as BITs. In light of typical examples for such overlapping commitments, we first focus on (1) defences directly affecting compatibility with these treaty commitments (here referred to as ‘internal’ defences). In a second part, we review (2) potential defences under general international law that may serve to justify (in other words, to preclude the wrongfulness of) such measures. We conclude that often internal and/or general defences will operate to support the implementation of the Waiver despite overlapping commitments in international IP and investment law. This conclusion is reinforced by a purpose-oriented understanding of the TRIPS Waiver as authorizing measures necessary to achieve the goal of “unimpeded, timely and secure access” for all to covered medical technologies “for the prevention, treatment or containment of COVID-19”.
Can Negotiations at the World Health Organization Lead to a Just Framework for the Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Pandemics as Global Public Goods? (Research Paper 147, 28 February 2022)
By Viviana Muñoz Tellez
This paper advances that WHO Member States, having agreed to the objectives of advancing equity and solidarity for future pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, now must operationalize these. The paper offers suggestions for the ongoing WHO processes of: 1) review of recommendations under examination by the Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies, 2) consideration of potential amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005, and 3) elaboration of a draft text for an international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response.
The International Discourse on the Right to Development and the Need to Reinvigorate its Implementation (Research Paper 149, 8 March 2022)
By Yuefen Li, Daniel Uribe and Danish
The world is currently at an ebb for realizing the Right to Development (RtD). Weakening of multilateralism, de-globalization, the scars left by the COVID-19 pandemic, misinterpretation and dilution of the RtD, and inertia to reform international governance are among the multitude of reasons for this phenomenon. However, the need for a better, more inclusive and greener recovery, and the efforts necessary to attain the 2030 Agenda, have provided the international community an opportunity to reinvigorate the realization of the RtD. These efforts have shown the great relevance of RtD to promote a people-centred and fairer development process and the need for an international enabling environment in order to promote the kind of development we want.
This paper reviews the history of international discourse on RtD including major milestones, main divisive issues between the global South and the North, the evolution of voting patterns on intergovernmental outcomes, existing legal and political issues currently being discussed, the various mechanisms on the RtD, and recommendations on the way forward to revitalize the implementation of RtD at the 35th anniversary of the Declaration on Right to Development.
Les négociations au sein de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé peuvent-elles aboutir à un cadre juste pour la prévention, la préparation et la riposte aux pandémies en tant que bien public mondial? (Document de Recherche 147, 28 février 2022)
Par Viviana Muñoz Tellez
Ce document avance que les États membres de l’OMS, ayant accepté de promouvoir des objectifs d’équité et de solidarité pour la prévention, la préparation et la riposte futures aux pandémies, doivent maintenant les mettre en œuvre. Le document propose des suggestions pour les processus en cours à l’OMS concernant : 1) l’examen des recommandations en cours de révision par le Groupe de travail sur le renforcement de la préparation et de la riposte de l’OMS aux urgences sanitaires, 2) l’examen des amendements potentiels au Règlement sanitaire international (RSI) 2005, et 3) l’élaboration d’un projet de texte pour un instrument international sur la préparation et la riposte aux pandémies.
¿Podrán las negociaciones en la organización mundial de la salud resultar en un marco justo para la prevención, la preparación y la respuesta ante pandemias como bienes públicos globales? (Documento de investigación No. 147, 28 de febrero de 2022)Por Viviana Muñoz Tellez Los Estados miembros de la OMS, tras haber acordado los objetivos de avanzar equidad y solidaridad para la futura prevención, preparación y respuesta a la pandemia, ahora deben ponerlos en práctica. Este documento avanza sugerencias para las discusiones en los procesos en curso de la OMS de 1) el examen de las recomendaciones que está revisando el Grupo de Trabajo sobre el Fortalecimiento de la Preparación y la Respuesta de la OMS a las Emergencias Sanitarias, 2) la consideración de posibles enmiendas al Reglamento Sanitario Internacional (RSI) de 2005, y 3) la elaboración de un proyecto de texto para un instrumento internacional sobre la preparación y la respuesta ante una pandemia.
Escaping the Fragility/Conflict Poverty Trap: How the interaction between service delivery, capacity development and institutional transformation drives the process of transition out of fragility (Research Paper 151, 19 April 2022)
By Mamadou Dia
The main background and rationale of this research paper is that while donors’ scaled-up engagements in Fragility and Conflict-affected States (FCS) during the last decades were a resounding success in terms of official development resources devoted to FCS, the value for money compared to the ultimate goal of helping these countries move out of fragility was well below expectations. The World Bank ex post evaluation of the results of its engagement in FCS found that 80 percent of FCS that were on the harmonized list of fragile situations in 2012 remain on it today and the author’s observational study of a sample of 16 African FCS over a 5-year period found that only 1 made progress while 12 stayed in the status quo and 3 regressed. The main reason for the poor value for money is that while International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have spent tremendous amount of resources and brain power to build an excellent knowledge base about fragility and resilience, no such efforts were made to help understand the process and stages for a successful transition from fragility to resilience. The purpose of this paper is to help fill the knowledge gap in order to encourage development partners engaging in FCS to shift from a Fragility-focused to a Transition-based Engagement Business Model and thus minimize the risks of the poor value for money results. The paper will do so by outlining a methodology and framework for a better understanding of the process and a road map for a successful transition from fragility to resilience with measurable stage/sign posts and benchmarks to evaluate progress and necessary adaptation to donors’ strategic and operational support instruments.
Patent Analysis for Medicines and Biotherapeutics in Trials to Treat COVID-19 (Research Paper 153, 26 April 2022)
by Srividya Ravi
This report provides an analysis of patents covering medicines in trials to treat COVID-19. The aim of the report is to support national patent offices and interested parties in developing countries with information that can serve as guidance for the examination of the claims contained in relevant patents or patent applications.
The medicines considered for the patent analysis in this report are remdesivir, ruxolitinib, favipiravir, molnupiravir and nirmatrelvir, and the biotherapeutics tocilizumab, siltuximab and sarilumab.
COVID-19 Vaccines as Global Public Goods: between life and profit (Research Paper 154, 9 May 2022)
By Katiuska King Mantilla and César Carranza Barona
In the context of a health emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic, the global availability of and access to vaccines are imperative. This research paper provides an analysis from the perspective of international political economy, of the financing of COVID-19 vaccines and of the market strategies adopted by some of the companies that developed them. It notes that the development of vaccines was supported by substantial public funding from countries that later received preferential access to those vaccines through advance purchases. Despite such public support, the vaccines were not deemed as public goods but remained under the control of their developers.
WTO Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions: How much tariff revenue have developing countries lost? (Research Paper 157, 3 June 2022)
By Rashmi Banga
This research paper highlights the adverse impacts of the continuing WTO moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions on the developing and least developed countries. The rapidly progressing digitalization along with the ongoing pandemic and the food crisis are creating multiple demands on the government revenues. However, because of the moratorium almost all developing, and least developed countries are losing tariff revenues especially at the time when they are most needed. Not only are they losing the fiscal space but are also losing their regulatory space as they are unable to regulate the growing imports of digitizable products, especially of luxury items like the movies, music and video games. It is estimated that in the period 2017-2020, developing countries and LDCs lost $56 billion of tariff revenue, of which $48 billion were lost by the developing countries and $8 billion by the least developed countries. It is interesting to note that this loss of tariff revenue is from the imports of just 49 products (at HS six-digit). With no clarity on the definition of electronic transmissions (ET) and thereby on the scope of the moratorium, the continuation of the WTO moratorium on customs duties on ET can lead to substantive tariff revenue losses for developing and least developed countries in the future.
Twenty Years After Doha: An Analysis of the Use of the TRIPS Agreement’s Public Health Flexibilities in India (Research Paper 158, 15 June 2022)
By Muhammad Zaheer Abbas, PhD
The World Trade Organization (WTO) linked intellectual property protection with trade. The WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), however, included a number of public health flexibilities in order to provide latitude to the Member States to tailor their national patent laws to fit their individual needs. In 2001, the Doha Declaration further clarified and reaffirmed the existing TRIPS flexibilities. This paper argues that India has taken the lead role in enacting the TRIPS Agreement’s substantive and procedural patent flexibilities by introducing unique legislative measures to deal with the problem of access to medicines. This article evaluates India’s use of section 3(d) as a subject matter exclusivity provision. It examines constitutional validity and TRIPS compliance of section 3(d). It also evaluates India’s use of the flexibility to define the term “inventive step”. Moreover, this article evaluates India’s use of compulsory licensing, the most notable exception to patent rights provided under the TRIPS Agreement. This empirical study is important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has once again highlighted the same public health issues that the Doha Declaration sought to address twenty years ago.
The Human Right to Science: From Fragmentation to Comprehensive Implementation? (Research Paper 163, 19 August 2022)
By Peter Bille Larsen and Marjorie Pamintuan
In times when the role of science in society is more debated than ever in polarized, politicized and partial terms, what is the role for the human right to science and rights-based approaches? The right to science remains poorly understood and neglected in both national and global human rights processes. Beyond defending the freedom of scientific expression, upholding the right to science is arguably fundamental to resolving key sustainability challenges of our times from climate change and the biodiversity crisis to global health and pandemics. The global COVID-19 pandemic has revealed persistent global inequalities not least in terms of how the privatization of science and current intellectual property regimes hinder just and equitable responses to access science and its benefits. This prompts the need for a shift from single-issue approaches to comprehensive and systematic treatment of the right to science as a bundle of human rights across multiple arenas to counter fragmentation and silo-tendencies.
Lessons From India’s Implementation of Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health (Research Paper 166, 6 October 2022)
By Nanditta Batra
The major bone of contention between the developed and developing countries in the TRIPS negotiations was patents for pharmaceuticals. The US-led developed countries bloc argued in favour of patents for pharmaceuticals amidst opposition from Brazil, India and other countries. Ample evidence, including patented AZT for HIV/AIDS treatment, showed that patents could make life saving drugs prohibitively expensive. Notwithstanding the effect of patents on access to medicines, Article 27 of the TRIPS Agreement ordained patents for inventions “in all fields of technology”. While the genie was out of the bottle in the form of patents for pharmaceuticals, the developing countries were able to extract some procedural and substantive flexibilities like transition period, parallel importation and compulsory licensing to leverage the IP system to further public health. However, there was uncertainty with respect to the interpretation of TRIPS agreement, scope of the flexibilities and Member States’ rights to use them. It is in this background that the historic Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health assumed importance as it reaffirmed the rights of the Member States to take measures to protect public health, reconciled the interpretative tensions in the text of TRIPS Agreement and clarified the scope of some of the flexibilities and attempts to find solutions to the problems faced by countries that do not have sufficient manufacturing facilities. The Declaration which was initially dismissed by some scholars as “non-binding,” “soft law” has been held by WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) to constitute a “subsequent agreement” which must be followed in interpreting the provisions of TRIPS Agreement (Australia-Tobacco Plain Packaging Case).
TRIPS Flexibilities and Access to Medicines: An Evaluation of Barriers to Employing Compulsory Licenses for Patented Pharmaceuticals at the WTO (Research Paper 168, 28 October 2022)
By Anna S.Y. Wong, Clarke B. Cole, Jillian C. Kohler
Under Articles 31 and 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement, WTO members may validly sanction the use of a patented invention without the patent owner’s authorization by issuing a compulsory license (CL). In the pharmaceuticals space, governments have historically employed compulsory licenses to compel originator manufacturers to license their patents to generic manufacturers before patent expiry, increasing the supply and reducing the price of patented pharmaceuticals domestically.
This paper evaluates the three primary barriers to employing compulsory licenses for pharmaceuticals underscored by members during TRIPS waiver discussions at the WTO: (1) a lack of enabling domestic legislation, (2) a lack of domestic manufacturing capacity coupled with an unworkable Article 31bis importation system, and (3) consistent political pressure from other members to refrain from issuing compulsory licenses. A survey of members’ domestic compulsory license legislation finds that virtually all members have enacted enabling legislation under Article 31 for the issuance of compulsory licenses to supply their local markets. However, implementation of Article 31bis is limited by a lack of enabling compulsory license export legislation, streamlined administrative processes, or both across all members, preventing members lacking domestic manufacturing capacity from importing pharmaceuticals. An analysis of USTR Special 301 Reports from 1994-2021 further reveals that countries have consistently been placed on the Special 301 Report Priority Watch List for issuing pharmaceutical compulsory licenses, with instances as recent as 2020. As such, general reluctance by members to issue compulsory licenses due to overt political pressure through the Special 301 Report is likely warranted. These results highlight a range of barriers preventing the full use of compulsory licenses for pharmaceuticals under the current Article 31 and 31bis framework, with the effects disproportionately borne by member states lacking domestic manufacturing capacity.
The WTO TRIPS Decision on COVID-19 Vaccines: What is Needed to Implement it? (Research Paper 169, 8 November 2022)
By Carlos M. Correa and Nirmalya Syam
The 12th WTO Ministerial Conference adopted a Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement on 17 June 2022. This partially concluded almost two years of protracted discussions in response to a proposal by India and South Africa for a waiver from certain obligations under the TRIPS Agreement for health products and technologies for the prevention, treatment and containment of COVID-19. The adopted Decision only waives the obligation under article 31 (f) of the TRIPS Agreement. Developing country WTO members are now allowed to export any proportion of vaccines, including ingredients and processes, necessary for the COVID-19 pandemic that are manufactured under a compulsory license or government use authorization to other developing countries. It also contains some clarifications of relevant TRIPS provisions, while introducing a number of conditionalities that are not present in the TRIPS Agreement. This paper examines the object and scope of the Decision, the requirements established for its use, and the required actions to be taken by WTO members to implement it.
Left on Our Own: COVID-19, TRIPS-Plus Free Trade Agreements, and the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health (Research Paper 170, 17 November 2022)
By Melissa Omino and Joanna Kahumbu
The cusp of the twentieth anniversary of the WTO Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health (hereafter “the Declaration”) was marked by a global pandemic. The Declaration and its iteration in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (hereafter “TRIPS”) Article 31 bis, should have helped to contain the devastation in least developed and developing countries. The reality is that the pandemic is still ongoing, and the Global South led by South Africa and India are seeking a waiver of provisions to the TRIPS Agreement to ensure that COVID-19 therapeutics, diagnostics, and vaccines reach their citizens in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus (“the TRIPS waiver”). These citizens are especially vulnerable because of their inability to access vaccines due to their prices and supply shortages caused by the refusal to share manufacturing technology. The Doha Declaration aimed at reaffirming the interpretation and implementation of the TRIPS Agreement to support WTO members’ right to protect public health and promote access to medicines. However, the operationalization of the Declaration via Article 31bis of TRIPS has been cumbersome and procedurally difficult to navigate. This paper argues that the current iteration of the Doha Declaration within TRIPS fails to meet the objectives of the Declaration as demonstrated by the need for a further waiver of the TRIPS agreement. It also attempts to “reimagine” Article 31 bis in light of the TRIPS waiver from the position of the Global South to make it more equitable and practicable and maintain the spirit of the Declaration.
Analysis of COVID-Related Patents for Antibodies and Vaccines (Research Paper 173, 7 February 2023)
By Kausalya Santhanam
This paper provides an analysis of patents covering selected antibodies and vaccines used in the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. The aim of the report is to support national patent offices and interested parties in developing countries with information that can serve as guidance for the examination of the claims contained in relevant patents or patent applications. The antibody combination considered for the patent analysis in this paper are Casirivimab and Imdevimab. The vaccines considered for the patent analysis are mRNA-1273, Sputnik, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222). The analysis was completed in May 2022.
Leading and Coordinating Global Health: Strengthening the World Health Organization (Research Paper No. 174, 13 February 2023)
By Nirmalya Syam
The World Health Organization (WHO) should act as the directing and coordinating authority in global health but it has been steadily marginalized over time by design, through criticism as an inefficient organization, the reduction of assessed contributions and consequent impoverishment, and the proliferation of “new” international health agencies to which WHO has been compelled to cede operational space. This paper discusses how such marginalization of the WHO is in the interest of the dominant actors in global health, and leads to the neglect of health as a development issue. Today the global health system is more fragmented than it was when the WHO was established in 1948. Rich donor countries and corporations dominate multistakeholder governance structures in health partnerships, marginalizing most of the WHO membership and, notably, the Global South, in their decision-making. A consequence of this fragmentation in global health governance is that the space of the only multilateral organization where developing countries have an equal presence in terms of participation and decision-making as sovereign States –WHO– has been marginalized. Consequently, the development dimension of health is also marginalized and only the development assistance aspects of it receive major attention through vertical programmes and agencies addressing limited health needs without effectively addressing the basic need of strengthening health systems. Therefore, for developing countries it is imperative that WHO is effectively retooled to act as the leading and coordinating authority on global health with adequate legal powers, as well as institutional and financial capacities to do so without undue influence from donor countries and entities that have interests in the private sector. This would enable WHO to ensure that the interests of all countries are fairly addressed in its normative and operational activities. Such a transformation of WHO would require action both within and outside the organization. The paper proposes some suggestions in this regard.
Experiencias internacionales sobre la concesión de licencias obligatorias por razones de salud pública (Documento de Investigación No. 175, 22 de marzo de 2023)
Por Catalina de la Puente, Gastón Palopoli, Constanza Silvestrini, Juan Correa
El presente estudio tiene como objetivo analizar los regímenes de licencias obligatorias (LOs) en países seleccionados, en particular los elementos económicos de la concesión de las LOs, la determinación y negociación de regalías al titular del derecho. Para ello se realizó un análisis descriptivo y exploratorio de experiencias de concesión de LO en países seleccionados, con foco en las experiencias de los países en vías de desarrollo por su proximidad al caso argentino.
En particular se discuten los ejemplos de experiencias de emisión de medidas de LOs o de UG en países en vías de desarrollo. Con especial foco en Latinoamérica, donde sólo dos países han hecho uso de dichas medidas por razones sanitarias (Ecuador y Brasil). Además se examina la eficacia del empleo de LO o de UG en la reducción de precios donde se evidencian ahorros significativos Como conclusión se propone elaborar una metodología en relación a las regalías para Argentina mediante un rango de pago que tome en consideración criterios de accesibilidad y asequibilidad poblacional a la tecnología licenciada, así como la sustentabilidad de los presupuestos de los agentes financiadores.
De dónde viene y a dónde va el financiamiento para la salud mundial (Documento de Investigación No. 176, 29 de marzo de 2023)
Por Germán Velásquez
En teoría la OMS es la agencia coordinadora de la salud mundial, y los grandes actores, privados y públicos, revindican la relevancia y el rol central de esta agencia de Naciones Unidas. En la práctica, paradójicamente, los dineros para la salud van en gran parte a otras instituciones y no a la OMS o incluso se crean nuevas instituciones o mecanismos donde se canalizan los nuevos fondos (GAVI, Fondo Mundial, Act-A, CEPI, COVAX etc.) Estas instituciones o mecanismos son, en la mayoría de los casos, partenariados público-privados donde está presente la industria farmacéutica. La Ayuda Oficial para el Desarrollo es importante pero sólo representa el 1% de lo que invierten los países en desarrollo en salud. En qué se gasta para promover la salud global y a dónde va este dinero es el objeto de este documento. Una de las preguntas que debemos hacernos tras la experiencia con COVID-19 es cómo vamos a preservar el interés público global mediante la creación de bienes públicos comunes y la protección de los derechos humanos en las actividades de prevención, preparación y respuesta a las pandemias presentes y futuras.
Where Does Global Health Funding Come From and Where Does It Go? (Research Paper No. 176, 29 March 2023)
By Germán Velásquez
In theory, the World Health Organization (WHO) is the coordinating agency for global health. Influential private and public actors have claimed the relevance and central role of this United Nations (UN) agency. In practice, paradoxically, the money budgeted for health goes largely to other institutions and not to the WHO. New institutions and mechanisms have been created to which funds are channeled (GAVI, The Global Fund, Act-A, CEPI, COVAX, etc.). These institutions or mechanisms are, in most cases, public-private partnerships where the pharmaceutical industry is usually present. Official Development Assistance is important but represents only 1 per cent of what developing countries’ expenditure on health. How much is spent to promote global health and where this money goes is the subject of this paper. After the experience with COVID-19, a fundamental question that must be addressed is how the global public interest can be preserved by creating common public goods and protecting human rights in the prevention, preparedness, and response to present and future pandemics.
A Response to COVID-19 and Beyond: Expanding African Capacity in Vaccine Production (Research Paper No. 178, 22 May 2023)
By Carlos M. Correa
The unequal global distribution of vaccines against the deadly COVID-19 virus has cast a spotlight on the lack of access to vaccines on the African continent, and the vulnerability that such a lack places on both the economies of African nations and the health of their people. Various initiatives have been launched to overcome the dependence of African nations on vaccines produced elsewhere. If implemented in timely and effective ways, those initiatives will contribute to the diversification of African economies and strengthen the capacity of nations on the continent to address their public health needs during pandemics and at other times. While establishing a viable vaccine industry on the continent presents serious challenges, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) can provide the framework for leveraging economies of scale to stimulate the production of needed vaccines across the region.
The COVID-19 Pandemic: R&D and Intellectual Property Management for Access to Diagnostics, Medicines and Vaccines (Policy Brief 73, April 2020)
By Viviana Muñoz Tellez
The ongoing rapid spread of COVID-19 is challenging the capacity of governments and of the World Health Organization (WHO) to timely put in place a global coordinated response to the pandemic. Developing countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in particular in Africa are especially vulnerable to the unfolding effects of the public health crisis. A priority area for global collaboration is to advance research and development (R&D) for vaccines and medicines that are made available, affordable and accessible worldwide.
There is currently no vaccine and no proven safe and effective direct therapy for COVID-19. There is also the need to accelerate testing capacity and tools in developing countries and LDCs with increased access to low-cost diagnostics. The approach to the management of intellectual property rights by research institutions, pharmaceutical and biotech companies and R&D funders will decisively affect availability and access, as well as the transfer of technology and know-how. Governments must ensure that they have legislative and procedural frameworks in place to enable them to over-come any patent, data exclusivity and trade secret barriers to procure and produce COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines, medicines and other therapeutics.
La pandémie de COVID-19 : R&D et gestion de la propriété intellectuelle pour l’accès aux tests diagnostiques, aux médicaments et aux vaccins (Rapport sur les politiques 73, Mai 2020)
Par Viviana Muñoz Tellez
La propagation rapide actuelle du COVID-19 met à l’épreuve la capacité des gouvernements et celle de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) à apporter une réponse mondiale coordonnée à la pandémie. Les pays en développement et les pays les moins avancés (PMA), en particulier en Afrique, sont particulièrement vulnérables aux effets de la crise de santé publique. Un domaine prioritaire de collaboration mondiale consiste à faire progresser la recherche et le développement (R&D) de vaccins et de médicaments qui soient disponibles, abordables et accessibles dans le monde entier. Il n’existe actuellement aucun vaccin et aucune thérapie directe pour COVID-19 dont l’innocuité et l’efficacité ont été prouvées. Il est également nécessaire d’accélérer les capacités et les outils d’essai dans les pays en développement et les PMA en leur donnant un accès accru à des diagnostics peu coûteux. L’approche de la gestion des droits de propriété intellectuelle par les institutions de recherche, les entreprises pharmaceutiques et biotechnologiques et les organismes de financement de la R&D aura une incidence décisive sur la disponibilité et l’accès, ainsi que sur le transfert de technologie et de savoir-faire. Les gouvernements doivent s’assurer qu’ils disposent de cadres législatifs et procéduraux leur permettant de surmonter les obstacles liés aux brevets, à l’exclusivité des données et aux secrets commerciaux afin de se procurer et de produire des diagnostics, des vaccins, des médicaments et d’autres produits thérapeutiques pour le COVID-19.
La pandemia de COVID-19: el fomento de la I+D y la gestión de la propiedad intelectual para acceder a diagnósticos, medicamentos y vacunas (Informe Sobre Políticas 73, Mayo 2020)
Por Viviana Muñoz Tellez
La rápida difusión actual de COVID-19 está poniendo a prueba la capacidad de los gobiernos y de la Organización Mun-dial de la Salud (OMS) para poner en marcha una respuesta mundial coordinada a la pandemia. Los países en desarrollo y los países menos adelantados (PMA), en particular los de África, son particularmente vulnerables a los efectos de la crisis de salud pública. Una esfera prioritaria para la colaboración mundial es el fomento de la investigación y el desar-rollo de vacunas y medicamentos que estén disponibles, sean asequibles y accesibles en todo el mundo. En la actualidad no existe una vacuna ni una terapia directa segura y eficaz probada para COVID-19. También es necesario acelerar la capacidad y los instrumentos de ensayo en los países en desarrollo y los países menos adelantados con un mayor acceso a diagnósticos de bajo costo. El enfoque de la gestión de los derechos de propiedad intelectual por parte de las instituci-ones de investigación, las empresas farmacéuticas y biotecnológicas y las entidades de financiación de la investigación y el desarrollo afectará de manera decisiva a la disponibilidad y el acceso, así como a la transferencia de tecnología y conocimientos técnicos. Los gobiernos deben asegurarse de que disponen de marcos legislativos y de procedimiento que les permitan superar cualquier barrera de patentes, de exclusividad de datos y de secretos comerciales para adquirir y producir diagnósticos, vacunas, medicamentos y otros productos terapéuticos de COVID-19.
Rethinking R&D for Pharmaceutical Products After the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Shock (Policy Brief 75, April 2020)
By Dr. Germán Velásquez
The unprecedented global health crisis caused by the coronavirus –COVID-19– pandemic, during the first quarter of 2020, brings back with particular urgency the discussion about the research and development (R&D) model for pharmaceuticals and other health technologies. The COVID-19 crisis shows that there is an urgent need to re-design the global public health governance for health R&D. The adoption of a binding instrument –as allowed by Article 19 of the WHO Constitution– on this matter was proposed many years ago. This brief argues that it is time to revive and materialize this initiative.
Repensando la I+D para productos farmacéuticos después del choque de la Coronavirus COVID-19 (Informe sobre políticas 75, Mayo 2020)
Por Germán Velásquez
La crisis sanitaria mundial sin precedentes provocada por la pandemia de coronavirus –COVID-19–, durante el primer trimestre de 2020, hace que vuelva a ser especialmente urgente el debate sobre el modelo de investigación y desarrollo (I+D) de productos farmacéuticos y otras tecnologías sanitarias. La crisis de COVID-19 muestra que existe una necesidad urgente de rediseñar la gobernanza mundial de la salud pública para la I+D en materia de salud. La adopción de un instrumento vinculante –como permite el artículo 19 de la Constitución de la OMS– en esta materia fue propuesta hace muchos años. Este documento sostiene que es hora de revivir y materializar esta iniciativa.
Repenser la R&D pour les produits pharmaceutiques après le choc du nouveau coronavirus COVID-19 (Rapport sur les politiques 75, Janvier 2021)
Par Dr. Germán Velásquez
La crise sanitaire mondiale sans précédent provoquée par la pandémie de coronavirus –COVID-19–, au cours du premier trimestre 2020, ramène avec une urgence particulière la discussion sur le modèle de recherche et développement (R&D) pour les produits pharmaceutiques et autres technologies de la santé. La crise COVID-19 montre qu’il est urgent de repenser la gouvernance mondiale de la santé publique pour la R&D en matière de santé. L’adoption d’un instrument contraignant – comme le permet l’article 19 de la Constitution de l’OMS – sur cette question a été proposée il y a de nombreuses années. Ce document soutient qu’il est temps de relancer et de concrétiser cette initiative.
COVID-19 and WTO: Debunking Developed Countries’ Narratives on Trade Measures (Policy Brief 77, May 2020)
By Aileen Kwa, Fernando Rosales and Peter Lunenborg
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, developing countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO) are faced with demands to i) permanently liberalize their markets in health products, and also in agriculture; ii) ban export restrictions in agriculture; and iii) conclude new digital trade rules including liberalizing online payment systems, and agreeing to free data flows. There seems to be a confusion between short-term and long-term responses. For the short-term, governments must take measures needed to address the crisis, including liberalizing needed health products. However, permanently bringing tariffs to zero for the health and agricultural sectors will not support developing countries to build domestic industries. Export restrictions in agriculture cannot be given up. They can be a very important tool for stabilizing domestic prices and for food security. New digital trade rules at the WTO would foreclose the possibility for countries to impose data sovereignty regulations, including data localization requirements that can support their infant digital platforms and industries.
The 73rd World Health Assembly and Resolution on COVID-19: Quest of Global Solidarity for Equitable Access to Health Products (Policy Brief 78, May 2020)
By Nirmalya Syam, Mirza Alas and Vitor Ido
The annual meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA) of the World Health Organization (WHO) held virtually on 18-19 May 2020 discussed the global response to COVID-19 and adopted Resolution WHA73.1 on “COVID-19 Response”. The Resolution reaffirms the role of WHO as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work and it recognizes that all countries should have timely and affordable access to diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines as well as to essential health technologies and equipment to respond to COVID-19. However, the Resolution does not define concrete actions to address the pandemic. Though the Resolution makes a commitment of ensuring access to medical products, vaccines and equipment for all countries in a timely manner, there are no concrete actions defined. In order to ensure global equitable access, WHO Members should make full use of the flexibilities of the Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and also enhance transparency of costs of research and development (R&D), openness and sharing of data, tools and technologies, and build more capacity through technology transfer.
Intellectual Property, Innovation and Access to Health Products for COVID-19: A Review of Measures Taken by Different Countries (Policy Brief 80, June 2020)
By Nirmalya Syam
The rising incidence of COVID-19 will require all countries, particularly developing and least developed countries, to be able to procure and manufacture the products required for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Intellectual property (IP) rights over such products can constrain the ability of countries to rapidly procure and produce and supply the products required at a mass scale. This Policy Brief describes the measures and actions taken by different countries to address potential IP barriers to access to the products required for COVID-19. A number of countries, both developed and developing, have adopted measures to enable governments to take action to overcome IP barriers in case they constrain access to the products required for COVID-19. In addition to these measures, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) also allows considerable flexibility to adopt a number of other possible measures which can be considered by developing countries where necessary.
The UN General Assembly Resolutions on COVID-19: Solemn Assurances for Access to Health Technologies without an Action Plan (Policy Brief 81, July 2020)
By Nirmalya Syam
The United Nations (UN) has the mandate under the Charter of the United Nations to promote solutions to international health problems, such as the global COVID-19 pandemic. While the UN secretariat, led by the Secretary-General, has undertaken a number of initiatives in response to COVID-19, member State initiatives in the UN has so far been limited to two resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly. Member States are currently negotiating an omnibus resolution of the General Assembly on COVID-19. This policy brief analyzes the extent to which the General Assembly addresses the issue of timely, equitable and affordable access to health technologies, particularly for developing countries who have greater vulnerability to COVID-19. The adopted resolutions make very broad pledges for global solidarity but lack specific commitments to guide actions by member States. The omnibus resolution currently under negotiation should provide specific guidance to member States on actions to be taken based on the principles of solidarity and multilateral cooperation in diverse aspects impacted by COVID-19.
Examining antimicrobial resistance in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic (Policy Brief 82, July 2020)
By Mirfin Mpundu, Caline Mattar and Mirza Alas
The COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to strengthen the capacity of health systems not only to be better prepared for the next pandemic but also to address ongoing crises such as antimicrobial resistance. The unfolding crisis due to antimicrobial resistance is, unfortunately, similar to the current health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, albeit at a slower pace. As countries address the pandemic, there is a need to identify interlinkages between the pandemic and antimicrobial resistance and to continue strengthening the actions needed to slow down the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.
Need for Extension of the LDC Transition Period Under Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement Until Graduation and Beyond (Policy Brief 88, March 2021)
By Nirmalya Syam
Least developed country (LDC) Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have submitted a duly motivated request for the extension of the transition period under Article 66.1 of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which exempts LDCs from implementing the obligations for protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights under the Agreement, in view of their vulnerabilities, special needs, economic, administrative and financial constraints, and the need for a sound and viable technological base. This request, submitted prior to the expiry of the current transition period on 1 July 2021, seeks a further extension for as long as those Members remain LDCs, and also for an additional period of 12 years after their graduation. This request is legitimate in view of the varied challenges that LDCs face, which have been aggravated through the reversal of development gains due to the public health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These vulnerabilities will also continue to afflict the LDCs even after graduation, as recognized in several reports by different United Nations (UN) agencies as well as resolutions of the UN General Assembly. Therefore, WTO Members must display political will and translate global solidarity pledges into action and unconditionally support the request for extension of the transition period for LDCs under the TRIPS Agreement.
Could COVID-19 trigger ‘localizing’ of international investment arbitration? (Investment Policy Brief 21, April 2021)
In light of the challenges and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many developing countries have been unable to effectively participate in international investment arbitration proceedings, traditionally held in locations like Washington D.C. and The Hague. To ease the heavy burdens currently being placed on States and ensuring investor confidence, this Policy Brief argues for the ‘localization’ of investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) proceedings in host States and regions where the investment is actually located. It highlights the various advantages that localizing ISDS can bring, and the different regional initiatives already working towards this purpose. The brief also considers relevant legal and policy aspects, and seeks to provide concrete suggestions for the localization of ISDS as a small step towards the holistic reform of international investment arbitration.
Expanding the production of COVID-19 vaccines to reach developing countries
Lift the barriers to fight the pandemic in the Global South (Policy Brief 92, April 2021)
By Carlos M. Correa
The unfolding of COVID-19 has shown that the international system has been unable to ensure equal access to the vaccines and other products necessary to fight the pandemic. While the need for a strong response remains obvious, proposals for scaling up the production of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe are still blocked in the World Trade Organization.
A New WHO International Treaty on Pandemic Preparedness and Response: Can It Address the Needs of the Global South? (Policy Brief 93, May 2021)
By Dr. Germán Velásquez and Nirmalya Syam
A recent joint communiqué by 25 Heads of Government and the WHO Director-General have called for the negotiation of a pandemic treaty to enable countries around the world to strengthen national, regional and global capacities and resilience to future pandemics. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the fragility of the mechanisms at the disposal of WHO for preparedness and response to pandemics. The use of binding instruments to promote and protect health in the context of pandemics is needed. If WHO Member States decide that an international treaty to prepare and respond to pandemics is the way forward, it would be important to have clarity from the outset on the elements and areas that will be the subject of negotiation. The first step should be to identify the aspects of pandemic preparedness and response that the current crisis has revealed are not working, and how to build up on the existing instruments, notably the International Health Regulations (IHR). This paper discusses some of the critical issues that should be addressed in such a treaty if negotiations are launched, in view of the needs of countries at different levels of development and with disparate capacities to implement treaty obligations.
Un nouveau traité international de l’OMS sur la préparation et la riposte aux pandémies : pourra-t-il répondre aux besoins des pays du Sud ?( Rapport sur les politiques no. 93, Juillet 2021)
Par Dr. Germán Velásquez et Nirmalya Syam
Dans un récent communiqué signé par 25 chefs de gouvernement et le Directeur général de l’OMS, ceux-ci ont appelé à la négociation d’un traité sur les pandémies afin de permettre aux pays du monde entier de renforcer les capacités et la résilience des pays aux niveaux national, régional et mondial face aux futures pandémies. La pandémie de COVID-19 a démontré la fragilité des mécanismes dont dispose l’OMS pour se préparer et réagir aux pandémies. L’utilisation d’instruments contraignants pour promouvoir et protéger la santé dans le contexte des pandémies est nécessaire. Si les États Membres de l’OMS décident que le recours à un traité international de préparation et de riposte aux pandémies est la voie à suivre, il serait important de clarifier dès le départ les éléments et les domaines qui feront l’objet de négociations. La première étape devrait consister à identifier les aspects de la préparation et de la réponse aux pandémies dont la crise actuelle a révélé les inefficacités, et à déterminer comment s’appuyer sur les instruments existants, notamment le Règlement sanitaire international (RSI). Ce document examine certaines des questions essentielles qui devraient être abordées dans un tel traité si les négociations sont lancées, en tenant compte des besoins des pays à niveaux de développement différents et des capacités disparates pour mettre en œuvre les obligations découlant du traité.
Un nuevo tratado internacional de preparación y respuesta ante pandemias: ¿Podrá atender a las necesidades del Sur Global? (Informe sobre políticas no 93, Julio 2021)
Por Germán Velásquez y Nirmalya Syam
Un reciente comunicado conjunto de 25 Jefes de Gobierno y el Director General de la OMS han pedido que se negocie un tratado sobre pandemias que permita a los países de todo el mundo reforzar las capacidades y resiliencia nacionales, regionales y mundiales ante futuras pandemias. La pandemia del COVID-19 ha demostrado la fragilidad de los mecanismos a disposición de la OMS para la preparación y la respuesta a las pandemias. Es necesario utilizar instrumentos vinculantes para promover y proteger la salud en el contexto de las pandemias. Si los Estados miembros de la OMS deciden que el camino a seguir es un tratado internacional para la preparación y respuesta a las pandemias, sería importante tener claro desde el principio los elementos y áreas que serán objeto de negociación. El primer paso debe ser identificar los aspectos de la preparación y la respuesta ante una pandemia que la crisis actual ha puesto de manifiesto que no funcionan, y cómo aprovechar los instrumentos existentes, especialmente el Reglamento Sanitario Internacional (RSI). Este documento analiza algunas de las principales cuestiones que deberían abordarse en un tratado de este tipo si se inicia la negociación, teniendo en cuenta las necesidades de países que están en diferentes niveles de desarrollo y con capacidades dispares para aplicar las obligaciones del tratado.
The Role of Courts in Implementing TRIPS Flexibilities: Brazilian Supreme Court Rules Automatic Patent Term Extensions Unconstitutional (Policy Brief 94, June 2021)
By Vitor Henrique Pinto Ido
This policy brief provides a background, summary and analysis of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court decision of 6 May 2021 that ruled automatic patent term extensions unconstitutional, striking down Article 40, Sole Paragraph, of the Brazilian Industrial Property Code of 1996. It concludes that this is a landmark ruling that contributes to the implementation of a more balanced patent regime in Brazil, with a positive impact on access to medicines in the country. It is an important precedent in relation to the role that courts may play in defining the contours of intellectual property protection and the TRIPS flexibilities.
Systemic reform of the international debt architecture is yet to start (Policy Brief 95, June 2021)
By Yuefen Li
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the reform of the international debt architecture to the policy agenda. Up to now policy measures to address the crushing debt burden of developing countries have focused on boosting time bound liquidity provision, which is insufficient in amount and restrictive in scope as debt-ridden and pandemic struck middle-income countries have not been covered. Even the implementation of these policy measures has been hindered by existing systemic problems. The reform of the debt architecture is yet to start. However, complacency seems to emerge. The risk of “wasting” the crisis should be avoided.
Investment Policy Options for Facing COVID-19 Related ISDS Claims (Investment Policy Brief 22, June 2021)
By Daniel Uribe and Danish
Developing and least developed countries have undertaken a number of measures to fight against the multidimensional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such measures and those that may be adopted in the context of the recovery efforts are, however, susceptible to challenges by foreign investors using investor-State dispute settlement mechanisms.
This policy brief first considers the kinds of measures States have adopted to limit the spread of COVID-19, protect their strategic sectors and promote economic recovery, including through foreign investment aftercare and retention. It then addresses how the investor-State dispute settlement system (ISDS) has been used by investors in times of crises, based on the analysis of the awards in several cases brought against both developed and developing countries.
Against this backdrop, the brief elaborates on the different options and initiatives States can take for preventing ISDS claims at the national, bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. It concludes with some policy advice for developing and least developed countries to face possible COVID-19 related ISDS claims in the future.
UNCITRAL Working Group III: Moving forward towards consensus or loosing balance? (Investment Policy Brief 23, July 2021)
By Daniel Uribe and Danish
This policy brief considers some concerns arising from the ongoing discussions on procedural reform of investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group III. It highlights the need to allocate sufficient time to deliberate upon the important issues being raised by developing countries. It further discusses some structural reform options that have been identified by the Working Group and reflects on some concerns arising from a possible ‘single undertaking’ approach being implemented through a future possible multilateral agreement on ISDS.
Precios justos para la cobertura sanitaria universal: El impacto de la judicialización de la salud (Informe sobre políticas no 96, Julio 2021)
Por Silvina Andrea Bracamonte y José Luis Cassinerio
En el presente trabajo se describen las principales directrices y recomendaciones sobre políticas de precios para ayudar a los países a desarrollar estrategias efectivas, como herramientas para lograr el acceso equitativo a los productos sanitarios con precios asequibles, desechando el creciente fenómeno de la judicialización de la salud como vía adecuada para abordar con un enfoque sistémico esta problemática compleja.
The WTO TRIPS Waiver Should Help Build Vaccine Manufacturing Capacity in Africa (Policy Brief 97, July 2021)
By Faizel Ismail
The current global health crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic has re-focused our attention on the inadequacy of the TRIPS agreement and the patent system to address global public health crises. This time, developing countries must ensure that the TRIPS waiver succeeds in creating the impetus for the building of manufacturing capacity in the poorest countries, especially in Africa, for vaccines, pharmaceuticals and other health technologies. This is the only effective way in which African countries can reduce their dependence on imports of essential medicines and build their health security, contributing to the achievement of the sustainable development goals, for the poorest countries.
The Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas: what is next? (Policy Brief 98, July 2021)
By Luis Fernando Rosales Lozada
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) was adopted in December 2018. However, its application seems challenging. The South Centre organized a virtual meeting to discuss the implementation of the UNDROP on 4th June 2021, aiming to promote a debate about future actions to move forward the implementation of the UNDROP. The meeting provided an opportunity to listen to the views of government representatives, peasants’ associations, civil society organizations and academia. During the meeting, different questions were discussed such as how the current health and social crisis, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, has impacted the situation of peasants, the role of the UNDROP in promoting and protecting peasants’ rights, the latest developments in the realization of the rights of peasants under the UNDROP and what steps are needed to promote its implementation.
The TRIPS COVID-19 Waiver, Challenges for Africa and Decolonizing Intellectual Property (Policy Brief 99, August 2021)
By Yousuf Vawda
The intellectual property (IP) regimes of African countries are a function of their colonial past, which imposed strong protections, and which have been entrenched through the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). This has had a devastating effect on their ability to access necessary health products both before and during the current COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to reflect on the challenges that African countries face, before considering the implications of the WTO TRIPS waiver on COVID-19 (henceforth, waiver). In assessing the challenges faced by these countries, as well as the possibilities of improving access, this paper argues that while the waiver offers the best available solution to overcome the current supply shortages of a range of COVID-19 health products, in the longer term a break from this past—the decolonization of IP regimes—is necessary.
EU Proposals regarding Article 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic (Policy Brief 100, August 2021)
By Nirmalya Syam
This Policy Brief presents an analysis of the proposal by the European Union (EU) with regards to Article 31bis of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), as part of a Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health in the circumstances of a pandemic. It discusses the EU’s proposed clarifications, why Article31bis does not provide an effective solution to promote access to pharmaceutical products and possible options.
O papel dos tribunais na implementação das flexibilidades do TRIPS: Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF) do Brasil declara inconstitucionais as extensões automáticas de prazos de patentes (Policy Brief 94, Setembro 2021)
Por Vitor Henrique Pinto Ido
Este policy brief traz uma contextualização, um resumo e uma análise da decisão do Supremo Tribunal Federal do Brasil, de 6 de maio de 2021, que declarou inconstitucionais as extensões automáticas de prazos de patentes, revogando o Artigo 40, Parágrafo Único, da Lei de Propriedade Industrial do Brasil, de 1996. Conclui-se que esta é uma decisão histórica que contribui para a implementação de um regime de patentes mais equilibrado no Brasil, com impacto positivo no acesso a medicamentos no país. É um precedente importante no que se refere ao papel que os tribunais podem desempenhar na definição dos contornos da proteção à propriedade intelectual e das flexibilidades do Acordo TRIPS.
Accelerating COVID-19 Vaccine Production via Involuntary Technology Transfer (Policy Brief 102, September 2021)
By Dr. Olga Gurgula
This policy brief explains that the currently discussed proposals at the WTO related to increasing the production of COVID-19 vaccines, including the EU proposal to clarify the use of compulsory licensing and the submission by South Africa and India on the intellectual property (IP) waiver, require complementary mechanisms to rapidly improve the production of COVID-19 vaccines that are urgently needed today. The key problem is that to accelerate the manufac- ture of COVID-19 vaccines, access to knowledge and know-how, that are protected by trade secrets owned by several pharmaceutical companies, is required. It is therefore important that governments implement an additional mechanism of compulsory licensing of trade secrets that would allow an involuntary transfer of COVID-19 vaccine technologies. Such a mechanism would be compliant with the TRIPS Agreement and relevant whether the TRIPS waiver is adopted or not agreed upon. While this mechanism must provide full access to the information necessary to manufacture the vaccines in question, it must also ensure the protection of the transferred trade secrets.
Some Key Elements for Developing Countries in Climate Change Negotiations of COP 26: Climate Finance, Article 6 Negotiations and Implications (Climate Policy Brief 26, October 2021)
By M. Natalia Pacheco Rodríguez and Luis Fernando Rosales
Human influence is deepening the climate crisis at an unprecedented pace. Developing countries’ economies have been hit hard by the crisis caused by COVID-19. Means of implementation are crucial for them to contribute to the achievement of the Paris Agreement goal. Developed countries must fulfill their commitments to provide US$ 100 billion per year by 2025 to climate finance. The latest years’ negotiations have shown the importance of improving the reporting methodology and the need for an agreed operational climate finance definition. In turn, Article 6 negotiations offer an opportunity to ensure higher ambition of both mitigation and adaptation through cooperative approaches while respecting the agreed balance between market and non-market approaches. What should developing countries expect on these issues at COP 26?
Compulsory licensing vs. the IP waiver: what is the best way to end the COVID-19 pandemic? (Policy Brief 104, October 2021)
By Olga Gurgula
This policy brief examines the currently discussed proposals at the World Trade Organization (WTO) that aim to resolve the problem of the production shortages of COVID-19 vaccines. This includes the two key submissions, i.e. the proposal by South Africa and India on the Intellectual Property (IP) waiver, partially supported by the United States (US), and the European Union (EU) proposal to clarify the use of compulsory licensing. While each of these mechanisms may help to improve the production of COVID-19 vaccines to various degrees, there is intense debate about which of these proposals is the most effective. This policy brief outlines the strengths and weaknesses of each of them with a view to informing the policy decisions by WTO Members on the best way to promptly accelerate the vaccine production that is urgently needed today. It concludes that the proposed IP waiver is a more effective solution for addressing the current emergency.
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: Saving, Sharing and Taking Care of the Plants and Seeds that Feed the World (Policy Brief 105, October 2021)
By Dr. Kent Nnadozie
This Policy Brief provides an introduction to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and its contribution to conserve, sustainably use and fairly and equitably share the benefits of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, for sustainable agriculture and food security. The brief also provides an update on the involvement of the ITPGRFA in the prevailing issues under discussion in various biodiversity-related fora, including ongoing negotiations for a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Strengthening WHO for Future Health Emergencies while Battling COVID-19: Major Outcomes of the 2021 World Health Assembly (Policy Brief 106, November 2021)
By Nirmalya Syam and Mirza Alas
The 74th World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) took place in May 2021 in a time when developing countries had to confront a substantial surge in COVID-19 infections and fatalities, while continuing to face inadequate access to vaccines. Meanwhile, the majority of the global supplies were secured by a few rich countries, ignoring the pleas of the WHO Secretariat. However, even though discussions around the COVID-19 response and strengthening emergency preparedness and response dominated the Assembly, WHO Member States could not achieve any concrete outcome to addressing the question of equitable access to vaccines and other health technologies for COVID-19. In this context, this policy brief describes some of the major outcomes of the Assembly.
The Doha Ministerial Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health on its Twentieth Anniversary (Policy Brief 107, Novemeber 2021)
By Nirmalya Syam, Viviana Munoz, Carlos M. Correa and Vitor Ido
This Policy Brief reviews the role of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health in the twenty years since its adoption. It finds that the Doha Declaration has contributed to advance the use of the TRIPS flexibilities to promote public health and should be considered an important subsequent agreement to the TRIPS Agreement, despite the continuing challenges for WTO members to implement the TRIPS flexibilities in full. This brief also analyses the extent to which the Paragraph 6 System that became an amendment of the TRIPS Agreement as a new article 31 bis, pursuant to the Doha Declaration, has facilitated access to medicines and vaccines for countries with none or insufficient pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity. It finds that the system to date has not lived up to its promise. The Policy Brief recommends that WTO members assess and identify the challenges for the full use of the TRIPS flexibilities to promote public health, and advances that supplementary tools will need to be designed to never again allow such inequity in access to life saving vaccines and treatments as in the present COVID-19 pandemic.
Potential Claims related to IP and Public Health in Investment Agreements: COVID-19, the Proposed TRIPS Waiver and Beyond (Investment Policy Brief 24, 9 December 2021)
By Cynthia Ho
An under-examined issue during the COVID-19 crisis is the potential liability of countries under investment agreements for taking steps to mitigate COVID issues. This Policy Brief provides an overview of how countries may be liable to companies for taking domestic action to protect public health, including pre-COVID claims related to Intellectual Property (IP), as well as possible claims because of COVID emergency measures, including claims that could result if the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Waiver was adopted. The current COVID-19 crisis opens the opportunity to consider and reevaluate the unnecessary threat of international agreements that allow for investment claims and potentially consider their termination.
Mainstreaming Equity in the International Health Regulations and Future WHO Legal Instruments on Pandemic Preparedness and Response (Policy Brief 108, 25 March 2022)
By Nirmalya Syam
The Member States of the WHO are about to commence the most significant negotiations that could set the paradigm for international legal obligations for preparedness and response to future pandemics. These negotiations focus on amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) as well as the negotiation of a treaty or other legal instrument under the WHO Constitution that will complement the IHR to ensure better preparedness and response to future pandemics, drawing from the experiences of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The most critical consideration for developing countries in these negotiations will be mainstreaming equity concerns, currently missing from the existing rules and mechanisms available globally to enable developing countries to effectively prevent and respond to a pandemic outbreak. In this context, this brief suggests some elements of equity that should be pursued through specific textual proposals by developing countries through amendments to the IHR.
Analysis of the Outcome Text of the Informal Quadrilateral Discussions on the TRIPS COVID-19 Waiver (Policy Brief 110, 5 May 2022)
By Carlos M. Correa and Nirmalya Syam
Almost one and a half years after the proposal for a waiver of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement regarding health technologies for COVID-19 was proposed by India and South Africa with the support of the majority of WTO Members, the TRIPS Council has been unable to reach consensus on the proposed waiver or engage in text negotiations. In this context, the TRIPS Council agreed to suspend the discussions to allow the possibility of some solution to emerge from informal high-level consultations between the European Union, the United States of America, India and South Africa. Recently, the WTO Director-General transmitted the outcome of the informal consultations along with a draft text to the TRIPS Council. In this context, this policy brief analyzes the elements of the draft text that has been transmitted to the TRIPS Council. The proposed solution, which offers clarifications and limited waivers on some of the provisions governing compulsory licenses on patents relating to vaccines, reflects developed countries’ strong opposition to the broader waiver sought by the proponents to rapidly expand manufacturing capacity and the supply of health products needed to address the pandemic.
Advancing Global Response to Antimicrobial Resistance: Examining Current Global Initiatives (Policy Brief 111, 13 May 2022)
By Mirza Alas
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a severe ongoing crisis threatening our health systems. Since adopting the WHO Global Action Plan on AMR in 2015, there has been progress, particularly in improving awareness, surveillance and implementation of infection, prevention, and control measures. However, there has been a slower response related to optimizing the use of antimicrobials in the animal sector and actions related to the environment. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has also undermined the implementation of activities to address AMR, including shifting resources to other areas and deprioritizing responses to AMR due to the ongoing pandemic. While national-level actions are at the core of the AMR response, given its global nature and impact, there is broad recognition of the need to ensure that national efforts are complemented with measures at the global level. Examining global initiatives to address AMR and how they can be strengthened to accelerate action is critical to better understand the importance of global coordination and increasing investment to close the gaps that remain.
L’intégration de l’équité dans le Règlement sanitaire international et les futurs instruments juridiques de l’OMS sur la préparation et la riposte aux pandémies (Rapport sur les politiques No. 108, 25 mars 2022)
Par Nirmalya Syam
Les États membres de l’OMS sont sur le point d’entamer les négociations les plus importantes qui pourraient définir le paradigme des obligations juridiques internationales en matière de préparation et de riposte aux futures pandémies. Ces négociations portent sur les amendements au Règlement sanitaire international (2005) (RSI) ainsi que sur la négociation d’un traité ou d’un autre instrument juridique dans le cadre de la Constitution de l’OMS qui complétera le RSI afin d’assurer une meilleure préparation et une meilleure riposte aux futures pandémies, en tirant parti de l’expérience de la pandémie actuelle de COVID-19. La considération la plus critique pour les pays en développement dans ces négociations sera l’intégration des préoccupations d’équité, actuellement absentes des règles et des instruments existants disponibles au niveau mondial pour permettre aux pays en développement de prévenir et de répondre efficacement à une pandémie. Dans ce contexte, ce document suggère quelques éléments d’équité qui devraient être poursuivis par des propositions textuelles spécifiques des pays en développement par le biais des amendements au RSI.
La incorporación de la equidad en el Reglamento Sanitario Internacional y en futuros instrumentos jurídicos de la OMS sobre preparación y respuesta frente a pandemias (Informe sobre políticas No. 108, 25 de marzo de 2022)
Por Nirmalya Syam
Los Estados miembros de la OMS están a punto de iniciar las negociaciones más importantes que podrían establecer el paradigma de las obligaciones jurídicas internacionales en materia de preparación y respuesta a futuras pandemias. Estas negociaciones se centran en las enmiendas al Reglamento Sanitario Internacional (2005) (RSI), así como en la negociación de un tratado u otro instrumento jurídico en el marco de la Constitución de la OMS que complemente el RSI para garantizar una mejor preparación y respuesta ante futuras pandemias, basándose en las experiencias de la actual pandemia de COVID-19. La consideración más crítica para los países en desarrollo en estas negociaciones será la integración de las preocupaciones de equidad, actualmente ausentes de las normas y mecanismos existentes a nivel mundial para permitir a los países en desarrollo prevenir y responder eficazmente a un brote pandémico. En este contexto, este informe sugiere algunos elementos de equidad que deberían perseguirse a través de propuestas textuales específicas de los países en desarrollo mediante enmiendas al RSI.
Taxing Big Tech: Policy Options for Developing Countries (Tax Cooperation Policy Brief 27, 21 December 2022)
By Abdul Muheet Chowdhary and Sébastien Babou Diasso
Even as the COVID-19 crisis wreaked havoc on the global economy, it gave rise to a small set of winners, namely Big Tech. The increasing prevalence of remote work and an acceleration of the digitalization of the economy allowed Big Tech companies to raise enormous revenues during the pandemic, which in some cases dwarfed the gross domestic product (GDP) of several countries. This policy brief explores the rising untaxed profits of Big Tech in particular, and the digitalized economy in general, and explains why the existing rules are insufficient. It also critically examines the solution that has been devised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of developed countries. Finally, it outlines alternative policy options that are more suitable for developing countries to tax the profits of Big Tech.
Leveraging South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Reducing Poverty and Hunger, and Promoting Rural Development (Policy Brief 118, 21 April 2023)
By Yuefen Li, Daniel Uribe and Danish
The world is experiencing unprecedented global multidimensional crises that have increased poverty, hunger and food insecurity, with the sharpest impacts being felt among rural areas and communities. Deepening international cooperation is essential to help developing countries face economic headwinds and recover from lasting scars of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change-induced natural disasters. In this scenario, scaling up of South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) can play a critical role in catalyzing sustainable development initiatives in developing and least developed countries.
This policy brief therefore considers how SSTC can be effectively leveraged for undertaking initiatives on poverty alleviation, hunger reduction and rural development through strengthening of national SSTC institutional setups. It also explores how SSTC can facilitate increased coordination among stakeholders, and considers areas for fostering mutually beneficial initiatives between developing countries. This brief then focuses on the institutional setup for SSTC in some selected countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America, and considers their role in mainstreaming of SSTC. It further considers some recent experiences from developing countries that use SSTC modalities, outlining important initiatives which could be shared with partners to support poverty alleviation, food security and rural development efforts. Finally, the brief provides some important conclusions and lessons learned which can support developing countries’ efforts to achieve the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda.
Strengthening efforts towards fulfilling the human right to food and the right to clean, safe and healthy environment (Policy Brief 119, 23 June 2023)
By Danish and Daniel Uribe
In the face of the unprecedented global crises that the world is currently facing, upholding and fulfilling the human right to food and a clean, safe and healthy environment have become critically important. The Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted two important resolutions on these issues in its 52nd Session, held from 27 February to 04 April 2023. The present policy brief discusses the implications and scope of these resolutions to strengthen and advance fundamental human rights, building resilience and promoting the role of multilateralism as a tool to face the triple planetary crises and recover better from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Assessing the State of Play in the WHO Pandemic Instrument Negotiations (Policy Brief 121, 18 July 2023)
By Viviana Muñoz Tellez
This Policy Brief discusses the state of play of the negotiations of the pandemic instrument at the World Health Organization. The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) is increasing its meetings as the target deadline for completion in the first half of 2024 draws closer. To advance, the political will needs to be scaled up in the next months. The expectations should not be lowered to focus on the lowest common denominator. Real progress needs to be made in priority areas of concern for developing countries to keep momentum.
Conceptualizing Remote Worker Permanent Establishment (Tax Cooperation Policy Brief 34, 24 July 2023)
By Radhakishan Rawal
COVID-19 impacted humanity in many ways and one such impact is wide acceptance of the concept of Work From Home (WFH) by the corporate sector. Previously, WFH did exist in some countries, perhaps at a much smaller scale, but compulsions of COVID-19 have made WFH a new normal. This new normal also creates new tax challenges for the Multinational Enterprises (MNEs). Does the employee create a taxable presence in the countries where they are working remotely through a ”permanent establishment” and if yes what are the profits attributable to such permanent establishment?
Will post COVID-19 pandemic lead to a climate compatible, more just, resilient and sustainable society? (SouthViews 194, 7 May 2020)
By Youba Sokona
As a result of the economic shutdown and physical lockdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, greenhouse gas emissions, in particular CO2, have decreased and air pollution levels have seriously dropped. However, the temporary reduction of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the pandemic is not to be celebrated as it is not a result of deliberate climate and sustainable development policy. People who are the most vulnerable, most marginalized, and least empowered are the hardest hit by both COVID-19 and climate change. Both crises require robust scientific, evidence-based, accurate information in order to inform adequate policies and actions. They are global in nature and as such need global participation at all levels as well as strong international cooperation and transparency for their resolution.
COVID-19: An Opportunity to Fix Dysfunctional Biomedical R&D System (SouthViews 195, 14 May 2020)
By Sreenath Namboodiri
Failures of the patent system to meet the public health priorities demand a new approach in research and development (R&D) financing and incentive to pharmaceutical innovations. An R&D model delinking the cost of R&D from the price of the product is the way forward.
Taxing the Digital Economy to Fund the COVID-19 Response (SouthViews 196, 22 May 2020)
By Abdul Muheet Chowdhary and Daniel Uribe Teran
The COVID-19 pandemic has weakened global economic growth, raising pressures on revenue authorities to fund the fiscal stimulus necessary to contain the spread of the virus and provide income support to affected households. Accordingly, countries are taking national measures to tax the digital economy as highly digitalized businesses are seeing a rise in sales, subscribers and profits owing to the work from home lockdown measures. The three main policy responses undertaken are digital service taxes, nexus rules based on significant economic presence and withholding taxes on digital transactions. These are briefly summarized here and elaborated in detail in a forthcoming research paper by the South Centre Tax Initiative (SCTI).
The post-Covid world needs a new social contract (SouthViews 197, 22 May 2020)
By Alfred de Zayas
The post-Covid world requires a new social contract. The United Nations Secretary-General should convene a World Conference on Post-Covid Recovery based on multilateralism and international solidarity. This entails a paradigm shift in the prevailing economic, trade and social models. Governments bear responsibility for their unwise and inequitable budgetary allocations, which prioritized military expenditures over investment in health, education and people-centered infrastructures. A new functional paradigm on human rights should discard the skewed and artificial division of rights into those of the first, second and third generations and impose new categories of enabling rights, inherent rights, procedural rights and end rights so as to ensure human dignity and development for all.
COVID-19 Crisis and Developing Countries: Digital Health Perspective (SouthViews 198, 8 June 2020)
By Ambassador Fauzia Nasreen, Dr. Azeema Fareed, Ms. Huma Balouch
Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS)
Technology and Innovation are quintessentially relevant especially in dealing with the multiple threats posed by COVID-19. Most developing countries are already under tremendous stress because of financial constraints, enormous development challenges and technology innovation and knowledge deficiencies. COVID-19 which has disrupted every walk of life is having a multiplier effect on many countries, posing difficult governance choices. Reform and reorientation of the health system and structure is fundamentally important in dealing with the public health issues in the post COVID-19 period, and digital health could help in providing solutions.
COVID-19 Economy vs. Human Rights: A Misleading Dichotomy (SouthViews 199, 12 June 2020)
By Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky
While COVID-19 is a threat to the rights to life and health, the human rights impact of the crisis goes well beyond medical and public health concerns. The health crisis itself and a number of state measures to contain it-—mainly isolation and quarantine-—are leading the world into an economic recession. States and others need to take preventive and mitigating measures urgently to contain the pandemic and these must entail global cooperation and coordination. Just as the health crisis response must be rooted in human rights law, so too must national and international responses to the drastic economic downturn.
Making Covid-19 Medical Products Affordable: Voluntary Patent Pool and TRIPS Flexibilities (SouthViews 200, 16 June 2020)
By Sudip Chaudhuri
The proposal of Costa Rica to create a voluntary pool mechanism for medical products and technologies for COVID-19 has evoked huge interest and optimism. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Costa Rica have followed it up through a Solidarity Call emphasizing the need for voluntary licensing on non-exclusive basis to the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). The success of a voluntary pool critically depends on the willingness of the patentees to join the pool. In a public health crisis, boundaries of public policy must not be determined by the patentees. MPP will work much better if the patentees are compelled or induced to join the pool. International cooperation is important in this regard. Highlighting the virtues of voluntary measures and promoting MPP without adequate emphasis on the use of compulsory licensing and other TRIPS flexibilities, actually weakens the MPP. In the light of the experience of MPP, the basic objective of this paper is to analyze to what extent voluntary pool mechanisms can be relied upon to make COVID-19 medical products affordable and accessible. It is important to appreciate the achievements of MPP. But the constraints under which it operates, and its limitations must also be kept in mind.
The Weakness of Economic Multilateralism/La debilidad del multilateralismo económico (SouthViews 201, 23 June 2020)
By José Antonio Ocampo/Por José Antonio Ocampo
The weakness of multilateral cooperation was evident at the meetings of the Group of 20 and the Bretton Woods institutions in Washington. The limited international cooperation contrasts with the ambitious domestic policies adopted by some developed countries, and in particular the United States, to manage their crisis. The big losers will be the emerging countries, for whom cooperation has so far been minimal.
La debilidad de la cooperación multilateral fue evidente en las reuniones del Grupo de los 20 y las instituciones de Bretton Woods que tuvieron lugar en Washington. La limitada cooperación internacional contrasta con las ambiciosas políticas internas que han adoptado algunos países desarrollados, y en particular los Estados Unidos, para manejar su crisis. Los grandes perdedores serán los países emergentes, para quienes la cooperación ha sido, hasta ahora, mínima.
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Lessons from COVID-19: Pharmaceutical Production as a Strategic Goal (SouthViews 202, 17 July 2020)
By Dr. Carlos M. Correa
As often said, major crises bring about challenges but also opportunities. The strategic importance of a local pharmaceutical industry has been growingly recognized as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Developing countries should take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen their pharmaceutical industry, including biological medicines. Industrial policies would need to be reformulated under an integrated approach so as to expand value added & create jobs while addressing public health needs. South-South cooperation may also play an important role in increasing the contribution of developing countries to the global production of pharmaceuticals.
Coronavirus pandemic: the vaccine as exit strategy
A GLOBAL HURDLE RACE AGAINST TIME WITH A SPLIT JURY (SouthViews 203, 24 July 2020)
By Francisco Colman Sercovich
Sars-CoV-2, a novel pathogen, submits a stern warning, a clarion call, on the huge human costs of shortsightedness, inaction and lessons lost in the face of common predicaments at the global level. Yet, a number of key actors remain oblivious, including ethically-challenged politicians seeking to elbow their way to the front of the queue at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable nations and communities. Contrary to expectations being formed, a safe and effective vaccine for the Covid-19 strain once, if ever, attained, is the best way out but unlikely to do as a silver bullet in the midst of the complexities and unknowns at play.
As a result of the harmful impact of the pandemic and ensuing policy aftermath, the world runs the risk of squandering the gains barely made in the fight against poverty over the last few decades – a looming scenario of egregious global governance failure, in view of the eight close calls recently received (three flu epidemics or near-flu epidemics, two Sars episodes, one Mers episode, Zika & Ebola). A promptly and universally distributed vaccine promises to prevent future disease outbreaks. However, many scientific, economic and distributional hurdles stand in the way. Whilst each day counts, the survival of hundreds of millions of lives hangs in the balance as health issues and those pertaining to livelihoods, nutrition, schooling and deprivation are so closely interdependent. Can we rule out the need to resort to internationally sanctioned legal remedies as an inescapable response?
The Covid-19 Pandemic and Liability under Investment Treaties (SouthViews 204, 11 August 2020)
By Muthucumaraswamy Sornarajah
COVID-19 can increase liability for countries under international investment treaties. Professor M. Sornarajah, Emeritus Professor at the National University of Singapore, discusses in this SouthViews the imminent challenges faced under such treaties by developing countries. The text is based on his presentation at the South Centre webinar on “Responsible Investment for Development and Human Rights: Assessing Different Mechanisms to Face Possible Investor-State Disputes from COVID-19 Related Measures” held on 30th July 2020. The recording of the webinar is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXPswKuywvA
Is the right to exclusivity a Hamlet question? (SouthViews 207, 28 September 2020)
By Justice Prabha Sridevan
Today the judicial authority may be faced with balancing patent rights and patients’ rights or right to life. It shall use all the tools at its command and innovate if necessary, but shall rule in favour of life.
Access to medical supplies and devices — the lesser known story of COVID-19 and medical monopoly (SouthViews 208, 19 October 2020)
By Salimah Valiani
Discussions around access to potential vaccines for COVID-19 are widespread, particularly in the global South. Much less discussed is the lack of access to already existing medical technology crucial to stemming the spread of the novel coronavirus and assisting its most severely affected victims. The latter is the outcome of the monopoly control of medical technology — a phenomenon stretching at least as long as the monopoly of Big PHARMA — though much less understood.
Access to Medical Equipment in a Pandemic Situation: Importance of Localized Supply Chains and 3D Printing (SouthViews 213, 23 February 2021)
By Muhammad Zaheer Abbas, PhD
The response to the COVID-19 crisis highlighted the weaknesses of the free trade system and failures of the traditional supply chains. Public health preparedness for future pandemics demands nation-states to increase their local production of medical supplies in order to reduce their dependence on third countries. Globally connected local production, enabled by digital fabrication tools, is arguably the best policy response to collaboratively address supply-chain vulnerabilities. 3D printing technology, which is the most prominent manifestation of digital fabrication ecosystems, can play a key role in enhancing the local production capacity in a time- and cost-efficient manner. This paper calls for an increased focus on local production and proposes a more systematic use of 3D printing capabilities to address shortages of critical medical equipment in a health emergency.
An Introduction to the UN Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries (SouthViews 216, 4 May 2021)
By Spring Gombe
Adoption, adaptation and diffusion of technology offer Least Developed Countries (LDCs) substantial potential to increase economic productivity and development and to narrow the technological gap with developed countries. It is in recognition of the need for sustained and sustainable mechanisms to enable the transfer of technologies between countries that the United Nations (UN) Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries was born.
Financing for development from the perspective of the right to development (SouthViews 217, 14 May 2021)
Summaries of two reports by Saad Alfarargi, Special Rapporteur on the right to development
In 2020, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the right to development, Saad Alfarargi, submitted two reports, one to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and the other to the UN General Assembly, on the issue of financing for development (FFD) from the perspective of the right to development (RTD). The first report (A/HRC/45/15) analyzed national-level FFD, while the second report (A/75/167) focused on the international dimension of FFD. In both reports the Special Rapporteur highlighted relevant challenges, with a particular focus on how to ensure the meaningful participation of rights-holders.
The Proposed Pandemic Treaty and the Challenge of the South for a Robust Diplomacy (SouthViews 218, 19 May 2021)
By Obijiofor Aginam
The motivation for a pandemic treaty is infallible because of the ‘globalization of public health’ in a rapidly evolving interdependence of nations, societies, and peoples. Notwithstanding the lofty purposes of the proposed pandemic treaty as a tool for effective cooperation by member-states of the WHO to address emerging and re-emerging disease pandemics in an inter-dependent world, the proposal nonetheless raises some structural and procedural conundrums for the Global South. The negotiation of a pandemic treaty should, as a matter of necessity, take into account the asymmetries of World Health Organization member-states and the interests of the Global South.
Development Priorities for Africa in 2021 and Beyond (SouthViews 222, 12 July 2021)
By Judith Amelia Louis
The author posits that Covid-19 is not the only major problem facing the global South and Africa in particular, although it is the most pressing for the times 2020-2021. The writer attempts to present important priority areas for attention by policymakers and decision makers at the national and regional levels in Africa within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The paper recognizes that the social, economic, and political problems facing Africa are common to all its nation States and calls upon the African Union to play a more proactive role in shaping policy programs to address these persistent problems, including the crafting of statesmen genuinely committed to ‘people-centered development’. The article discusses the issues impacting select priorities of socio-economic welfare; improved governance; human capital investment; regularization of migration and stemming the ‘brain drain’. Suggested policy actions are prescribed as solutions towards achieving development. Urgent action in controlling their economies with the acquisition and retention of requisite skills and technology is the undertone of the paper given the picture of poverty characterizing basic needs data for the continent. For example, in the health sector there are shortages of medical personnel, a situation magnified by the Covid pandemic.
The author envisions Africa’s development utilizing its vast untapped potential including, inter alia, a young population.
Vaccination inequalities and the role of the multilateral system (SouthViews 224, 19 July 2021)
By Carlos M. Correa
The COVID-19 crisis has evidenced the fragility of the multilateral system to address a global health challenge. There are multiple reasons behind it. Since donations are not enough, a global solution to the pandemic would have required concerted actions in several fronts. The author suggests that, while examining how the proposed “pandemic treaty” might contribute to a global solution in future health emergencies, immediate actions are needed.
Vaccine Nationalism (SouthViews 225, 21 July 2021)
By Prof. Ujal Singh Bhatia
The author posits that the global public health impact of the Covid-19 pandemic along with the economic and distributional aspects of vaccines and treatments, involves a market failure without the underlying institutional safety nets for an effective, globally coordinated response. He proposes strong, self-standing institutions with clear mandates and resources to make effective interventions at three levels: political, financial and regulatory. Also, the WTO rules regarding export restrictions are at present too accommodative to allow for a quick response. For Intellectual Property, both manufacturing and licensing, and relaxation of IP rules should be considered.
Carving Out a Role for Human Rights in International Investment Law (SouthViews 228, 15 October 2021)
by Barnali Choudhury
The public health burdens that have been imposed on governments by Covid-19 serve as an important reminder of the importance for states to be able to regulate public health as well as other human rights issues. Commentators are already describing the myriad of investment arbitration claims that states may expect to face for their acts in handling the Covid-19 crisis. By carving out a role for human rights in international investment law, states can ensure that protection of human dignity, not property interests, will continue to be their ultimate objective.
The Post COVID-19 Recovery: A Stringent Test for the Business and Human Rights Discourse (SouthViews No. 229, 25 October 2021)
By H.E. Ambassador Luis Benigno Gallegos Chiriboga
Although the global economic outlook seems to be improving for the rest of 2021 and 2022, such benefits seem to only affect developed economies, while furthering the gap with emerging markets and developing economies. This shows that ‘recovery for all’ will remain gloomy for several years, as access to the COVID-19 vaccine continues to showcase the global inequalities between the rich and the poor. In this scenario, States require to make full use of their regulatory and policy space to protect and promote the human rights of all people and persons in their jurisdictions, including the right to health, while safeguarding the necessary fiscal space towards guaranteeing development expenditures to build back fairer and better. It is time for reducing inequalities rather than increasing the gap between developed and developing nations.
Waive IP Rights & Save Lives (SouthViews No. 231, 29 November 2021)
By Srividhya Ragavan
In October of 2020, when India and South Africa proposed a waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS agreement, it was meant to increase local manufacturing capacity in these countries. The waiver was proposed as a tool to kick-start prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19. While there is an imminent need to meet a growing supply-demand gap for all medical products, COVID-19 related products are urgently required in poorer nations to contain the pandemic. The waiver has an additional role to play in the larger trade schema. In enabling vaccination of populations across the globe, the waiver would be critical to normalize global trade. The paper below captures the benefits of the waiver and compares it with the existing flexibilities under the trade regime, being compulsory licensing.
Jamaica’s Perspective on Reform of the Global Investment Regime (SouthViews No. 232, 10 December 2021)
By Omar Chedda
The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the world economy, and in particular, Jamaica’s economy, due to supply chain bottlenecks and reduction of tourism, on which Jamaica is heavily dependent. This is the context in which Jamaica is now reviewing its investment regime to ensure that investments contribute to recovery, building resilience and sustainable development, while improving investor rights and obligations in line with global trends.
The WTO TRIPS Waiver and Essential Security Rights in 2022 (SouthViews No. 235, 10 March 2022)
By Dr. Alexander Beyleveld
Almost two years have passed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are still far from bringing the pandemic to an end. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that large vaccine inequities remain worldwide. In order to address this problem, a large subset of World Trade Organization (WTO) members are in favour of waiving certain obligations contained in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). Against this backdrop, this article contemplates the legal necessity of such a waiver given that Article 73 of the TRIPS Agreement contains essential security exceptions which may render the obligations in question inapplicable under the interpretation that the pandemic affects law and public order interests.
Addressing Food Insecurity and Climate Change for Poverty Reduction in the Horn of Africa (SouthViews No. 236, 15 March 2022)
By Ali Issa Abdi
This article provides an assessment of the impact of food insecurity and climate change on poverty reduction in the Horn of Africa (HoA), which is one of the most affected regions in the world by these interlinked challenges. The region is confronted by these interconnected and mutually reinforcing negative conditions, which are compounded by institutional constraints, insecurity and scarce financial resources. Consequently, to end hunger, malnutrition and poverty in all its forms by 2030, it is imperative to implement urgent and radical transformation of food production systems, and to adopt accelerated and scaled up global actions to strengthen resilience and people’s livelihoods in response to climate variability and extremes.
Doha Twenty Years On – Has The Promise Been Betrayed? (SouthViews No. 238, 20 June 2022)
By Yousuf Vawda and Bonginkosi Shozi
The Doha Declaration’s twentieth anniversary in November 2021 has taken place in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The experience of the past two years has demonstrated that the very factors that necessitated the Declaration—the problems of inequitable access to medicines and other health technologies for the world’s poor—continue to plague us.
Has the promise of the Doha Declaration been betrayed? In this contribution, we critically engage with this question, focusing our appraisal on whether the Doha Declaration has been successful in fulfilling its commitments to: (a) advancing access to health; (b) equity and fairness in the relations between WTO Members States; and (c) recognising perspectives from the developing world in formulating IP policy. Ultimately, we conclude that the promise of the Doha Declaration has failed to materialise.
There are many reasons for this. For instance, developed country governments have intentionally undermined the Declaration by their insistence on inserting more onerous TRIPS-plus provisions in free trade agreements and economic partnership agreements, which decimate the limited flexibilities permitted by the TRIPS Agreement. And where countries have sought to use such flexibilities, they have been assailed by an over-litigious pharmaceutical industry, and threats by governments such as the US 301 Watch List. For these reasons, we argue for the need for alternative paradigms to challenge Western hegemony and norms regarding IP and other trade-related issues, and for effectively challenging this through the application of a “decoloniality” approach.
The South’s Role and Responsibilities in the Next Phase of Multilateralism (SouthViews No. 241, 12 September 2022)
By Elizabeth Sidiropoulos and Luanda Mpungose
The global erosion of trust in the global institutions is the direct result of non-delivery on the most crucial challenges that face humanity such as inequality, poverty, and climate change. South-South Cooperation can play a vital role in reinvigorating multilateralism. Beyond its horizontal engagements it has already begun supporting and enriching processes, institutions and norms-building at the global level. However, changing the superstructures that have discriminated against many developing countries will require a strategy that involves prioritising, coalition-building and coordination.
Preserving Regulatory Space for Sustainable Development in Africa (SouthViews No. 246, 5 April 2023)
By Roslyn Ng’eno
Investment has an important role for achieving sustainable development in developing countries. Although international investment agreements (IIAs) can serve as instruments to promote such objective, protection oriented IIAs have undermined the ability of States to regulate in the benefit of the community. Likewise large financial reparations imposed by arbitral tribunals have increased the threat of regulatory chill in the face of major global challenges. Strengthening the right to regulate of States and addressing regulatory chill are key matters to consider in the reform of IIAs and the international investment regime.
South Centre Statement to G24 (SouthNews No. 317, 14 April 2020)
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.
The COVID-19 Pandemic: Intellectual Property Management for Access to Diagnostics, Medicines and Vaccines (SouthNews No. 319, 8 May 2020)
By Viviana Muñoz Tellez and Vitor Ido
The South Centre held an open webinar with Dr. Carlos Correa, Executive Director, and Dr. Viviana Munoz Tellez, Coordinator of the Health, Intellectual Property and Biodiversity (HIPB) Program, on 30 April 2020 to discuss access to diagnostics, medicines and vaccines for addressing the Covid-19 pandemic. There is an urgent need to ensure that innovations in medical technologies for Covid-19 go hand in hand with affordable access to these, for all. The main principle to move forward is recognition of these technologies and know how as global public goods.
South Centre Statement at the WHA73 (SouthNews No. 321, 18 May 2020)
Message from the South Centre to the 73rd World Health Assembly
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 World Health Organization (WHO) itself were prepared to face this crisis.
Costa Rica and Chile announced an open, collaborative platform to combat COVID-19 (SouthNews No. 322, 19 May 2020)
By Mirza Alas
On Friday, May 15th the World Health Organization (WHO) held its press briefing for the World Health Assembly on COVID-19. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, noted that the WHO had received a proposal from Costa Rica, and had accepted to assist to set up a health technology repository for vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and any other tools that may work against COVID-19. A platform for open, collaborative sharing of knowledge, data and intellectual property on existing and new health tools to combat COVID-19 will be launched. Dr. Tedros noted that new health tools would not end the pandemic without equitable access to them. Moreover, traditional market models will not be able to deliver at the scale that is needed to cover the entire globe; emphasizing solidarity within and between countries and the private sector is essential to overcome these difficult times. Dr. Tedros made a call for leaders to come together.
Communiqué from Africa’s Leadership in COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Virtual Conference (SouthNews No. 324, 2 July 2020)
African Union (AU) Ministers of Health and Heads of Delegation commit to scale collective effort for access to COVID-19 vaccines, to promote local manufacturing and use of flexibilities of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), at the COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Virtual Conference held on 24-25 June 2020.
WTO TRIPS Council discusses national IP measures and TRIPS flexibilities in the context of COVID-19 (SouthNews No. 327, 7 August 2020)
By Nirmalya Syam
A regular session of the TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Council was held virtually on 30 July 2020. This session offered the first opportunity for the World Trade Organization (WTO) Members to discuss intellectual property (IP) related issues in the context of COVID-19. Discussions focused on national measures taken by various countries in relation to IP in response to COVID-19 as well as the scope of the use of TRIPS flexibilities across the spectrum of various IP rights in order to ensure rapid development, scaled up manufacturing of and affordable, timely and equitable access to various technologies and products required to respond to COVID-19. South Africa made a strong general statement pointing to the need to consider new bold measures that will comprehensively and expeditiously address IP challenges.
EU Parliament adopts resolution on public health strategy post-COVID-19 based on use of TRIPS flexibilities to ensure access to health technologies (SouthNews No. 329, 12 August 2020)
By Nirmalya Syam
The European Parliament has adopted a Resolution on the post-COVID-19 European Union (EU) health strategy that calls upon the European Commission (EC) and EU member States to make use of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) flexibilities, including granting compulsory licenses, ensure joint procurement and transparency of research and development (R&D) costs and pricing, as well as explore alternatives to the existing intellectual property based model of incentivizing biomedical research and development.
COVID-19 impact actions across Africa. First-hand information from policymakers and leading experts (SouthNews No. 330, 19 August 2020)
By Rajesh Eralil and Youba Sokona
Africa, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, has generally low levels of socio-economic development and modern energy usage. The COVID-19 outbreak and its consequent economic downturn present additional challenges and pose questions requiring urgent answers. Success of the pandemic measures depends upon, among other elements, a strategic vision reflecting current situation and future uncertainties; and aligning interests of all stakeholders. In order to build such a strategic vision, the South Centre, the African Energy Commission (AFREC) of the African Union and the Clean Energy Innovations Partnership (CEIP) are organizing a series of webinars entitled “Energy for sustainable development in Africa in the post-COVID-19 world – looking for the New Normal” and have invited leading experts to facilitate information gathering and to generate ideas for further work on strategies development and stakeholders’ engagement necessary for the continent’s energy transition in the post-COVID-19 world.
In the first webinar “COVID-19 impact actions across Africa. First-hand information from policymakers and leading experts”, held on 16 July 2020, we discussed the multifaceted effects of COVID-19 in the continent and on different stakeholders and which approaches experts and policy makers propose to better respond to the crisis and be well prepared for the recovery era.
Innovación y propiedad intelectual en escenarios pospandemia (SouthNews No. 331, 20 August 2020)
by Derecho al Dia
Los días 23 de junio, 7 y 21 de julio tuvo lugar el seminario “Innovación y propiedad intelectual en escenarios pospandemia”, organizado en conjunto por el Centros de Estudios Interdisciplinarios de Derechos Industrial y Económico (CEIDIE) y el South Centre.
Sustainable Energy for Africa: transition through growth. How to boost output, improve access and reduce impact on the nature and society? Technologies, scenarios, strategies, sources of finance and business models (SouthNews No. 335, 11 September 2020)
By Dmitry Kalinin and Rajesh Eralil
On July 22, 2020 the successful series of webinars on COVID-19 response and post-COVID development in Africa was continued with an international discussion on “Sustainable Energy for Africa: transition through growth. How to boost output, improve access and reduce impact on the nature and society? Technologies, scenarios, strategies, sources of finance and business models”.
This second webinar in the series focused on practical solutions to increase energy access and advance the energy transition in the context of the Covid crisis and recovery. Leading African and international experts presented specific challenges and solutions.
Enhance South-South cooperation in the era of COVID-19 and the recovery process (SouthNews No. 336, 12 September 2020)
Carlos Correa, Executive Director of South Centre
On the occasion of the 42nd anniversary of the United Nations (UN) South-South Cooperation (SSC) Day, we should celebrate the great achievements made over the years, highlight the immense challenges ahead in flattening the curve of COVID-19 and recover better through leveraging South-South and Triangular cooperation (SSTrC).
South Centre co-organizes discussions on Covid-19 Vaccines in Brazil (SouthNews No. 337, 18 September 2020)
By Vitor Ido
The South Centre jointly organized with the School of Magistrates of the Second Federal Region of Brazil (EMARF-2) two webinars to discuss the main issues pertaining to Covid-19 vaccines in Brazil. The first webinar, focused on an analysis and on solutions in relation to the law of intellectual property (IP), was held on 7 July 2020. The second webinar, focused on aspects of access, regulation and competition related to Covid-19 vaccines, took place on 5 August 2020.
COVID-19 and the right to development (SouthNews No. 338, 21 September 2020)
Intervention of Dr. Carlos Correa, Executive Director of the South Centre, at the biennial panel discussion on the right to development, 45th session of the Human Rights Council held on 17 September 2020 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.
Tax policy options for funding the post-COVID recovery in the Global South (SouthNews No. 339, 22 September 2020)
By Abdul Muheet Chowdhary
The South Centre in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Tax Justice organized a webinar on the theme, “Tax policy options for funding the post-COVID recovery in the Global South” on 23 July 2020. The primary objective of the webinar was to provide developing countries with a set of practical policy options that could be used to raise revenue from international taxation. A secondary objective was to lay out the opportunities and risks in multilateral negotiations on the taxation of the digitalized economy now ongoing in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)/Group of Twenty (G20) Inclusive Framework, which is in reality a much larger discussion on the redistribution of taxing rights between source and residence countries. The speakers examined the challenging international economic context for developing countries and discussed policy options for developing countries both at the domestic and international levels.
Action at the WTO is needed to accelerate research, development, manufacturing and supply of medical products to combat Covid-19: Proposal from India and South Africa (SouthNews No. 341, 5 October 2020)
By Viviana Munoz Tellez
India and South Africa are calling for the WTO Members to agree to waive some of the obligations on protection and enforcement of patents and other intellectual property rights during the Covid-19 pandemic. The South Centre encourages all WTO Members to support the proposal in the upcoming TRIPS Council meeting on 10-11 October 2020 to forward a request to the General Council for the adoption of the decision text.
High-Level Representatives from Governments, IGOs and NGOs reflect on the role for WHO’s C-TAP to ensure access to COVID-19 health technologies (SouthNews No. 343, 8 October 2020)
By Vitor Ido and Mirza Alas
On 25 September 2020, the Government of Costa Rica, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) and the PATHFINDERS (for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, hosted by the Center on International Cooperation, New York University (NYU)) organized a high-level event to discuss how to ensure access to COVID-19 health technologies, with a particular focus on the role of and need for the Costa Rican-proposed and WHO-managed COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP).
The 74th UN General Assembly Adopts New Resolutions on COVID-19 Response (SouthNews No. 344, 9 October 2020)
By Mirza Alas and Nirmalya Syam
On 11th September the United Nations (UN) General Assembly (GA) adopted an omnibus resolution titled “Comprehensive and coordinated response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic” (document A/RES/74/306), and another resolution titled “United response against global health threats: combating COVID-19” (document A/RES/74/307). These resolutions follow the adoption of two previous resolutions by the General Assembly on “Global solidarity to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)” and the resolution on “International cooperation to ensure global access to medicines, vaccines and medical equipment to face COVID-19.”
STATEMENT BY DR. CARLOS CORREA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SOUTH CENTRE, TO THE MINISTERS AND GOVERNORS MEETING OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL GROUP OF TWENTY-FOUR (G-24) (SouthNews No. 345, 13 October 2020)
WHO´s Executive Board assesses current COVID-19 response and requests to be more involved in the review processes (SouthNews No. 346, 20 October 2020)
By Mirza Alas and Vitor Ido
The World Health Organization´s (WHO) Executive Board (EB), comprised of 34 individuals nominated by Member States of the organization, met in a special session on COVID-19 response on 5-6 October 2020.
WTO TRIPS Council discusses major proposals from developing and least developed countries for waiving certain TRIPS obligations and extension of transition period for LDCs (SouthNews No. 347, 23 October 2020)
By Nirmalya Syam
A regular session of the World Trade Organization (WTO) TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Council held on 15-16 October discussed two major proposals submitted by developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs). In addition, this session of the TRIPS Council, chaired by Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter of South Africa, also discussed several standing agenda items. These included an annual review of the special compulsory licensing system incorporated under article 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement, and the issues relating to non-violation and situation complaints under TRIPS.
STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. HUGH HILTON TODD, MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION OF THE CO-OPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA, AT THE FORTY-FOURTH ANNUAL MEETING OF MINISTERS FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA – THEMATIC DEBATE: “GLOBAL RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND THE OBSTACLES IT POSES TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 2030 AGENDA AND ACHIEVEMENT OF THE SDGS” (New York, 12 November 2020) (SouthNews No. 351, 19 November 2020)
Unilateral Coercive Measures (UCMs) and their Impacts in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic (SouthNews No. 355, 8 December 2020)
“The complete and immediate lifting of unilateral coercive measures, in order to ensure the full, effective and efficient response of all members of the international community to COVID-19” is one of the calls of the Joint Communiqué issued by the Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives of 19 countries, Belarus, Bolivia (PS of), Burundi, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran (IR of), Laos (PDR of), China (PR of), Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Korea (DPR of), Pakistan, Palestine, Russian Federation, South Africa, Syria, Venezuela (BR of) and Zimbabwe at the virtual seminar on Unilateral Coercive Measures (UCMs) and their Impacts in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic organized jointly by the Permanent Missions of the Republic of Cuba, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Vienna on 30 November 2020. The text of the Joint Communiqué is reproduced below.
The impact of unilateral sanctions on human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic: findings from study by the Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights (SouthNews No. 356, 9 December 2020)
Alena Douhan, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights, undertook a study on the “Impact of unilateral sanctions on human rights during the state of emergency in the context of COVID-19 pandemic”. Some of the findings from the study were presented at the virtual seminar “Unilateral coercive measures in the context of COVID-19 pandemic situation” held on 30 November 2020. The full statement is reproduced here.
UNGA Resolution on Global health and foreign policy: strengthening health system resilience through affordable health care for all, adopted 14 December (SouthNews No. 358, 21 December 2020)
By Viviana Munoz Tellez
On 14 December, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on “Global health and foreign policy: strengthening health system resilience through affordable health care for all”, A/RES/75/130. The resolution was adopted by vote, 181-1-0, in contrast to previous resolutions on the topic adopted yearly by consensus based on proposals by the core group of the Global Health and Foreign Policy Initiative. The draft resolution A/75/L.41 was presented by Brazil, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, France, Indonesia, Mali, Mongolia, Norway, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Viet Nam. Informal consultations were led by Indonesia.
South Centre series on manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 kicks off with Brazil’s Butantan Institute’s experience with Sinovac (SouthNews No. 363, 1 April 2021)
By Vitor Ido
The South Centre has launched a series of webinars aimed at sharing information about the capacities for COVID-19 vaccines manufacturing in developing countries, understanding how these are built and could be expanded, facilitating the exchange on concrete experiences in addressing issues of technology transfer, know-how and intellectual property in contractual agreements, and advancing ideas on how the multiple challenges that arise could be addressed. The first session took place on 23 March 2021 with Butantan Institute (São Paulo, Brazil), to discuss its partnership with Sinovac Life Sciences (Beijing), including clinical trials, technology transfer and local manufacturing of the Coronavac vaccine in Brazil.
Broad support for the extension of the transition period exempting LDCs from implementing the TRIPS Agreement – but consensus lagging at WTO (SouthNews No. 366, 20 May 2021)
By Nirmalya Syam
Least Developed Country (LDC) Members are exempted till 1 July 2021 from implementing obligations to protect intellectual property rights (IPRs) under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In the October 2020 session of the TRIPS Council, the LDC Members submitted a duly motivated request (IP/C/W/668) for further extension of this period, as provided for under Article 66.1 of the Agreement. The LDC group is requesting extension of this transition period until their graduation from LDC status and thereafter for a period of 12 years. While the request by the LDC group has received general support in the TRIPS Council, some developed country Members (notably the United States, European Union (EU), Japan, Canada and Switzerland) have sought further clarification from the LDC group on the scope of the requested extension. Discussions have not progressed beyond informal consultations. Text-based negotiations are needed in order to timely adopt a decision by the TRIPS Council granting the extension. This is concerning, given that the expiry date of the current transition period – 1 July 2021 – is drawing nearer.
In this context, the South Centre organized a webinar on 9 April 2021 to discuss the request by the LDC Members. The panelists agreed that the request is just, legitimate and permissible under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
An overview of the growing legal measures and initiatives at national level and at the WTO to ensure access to Covid-19 vaccines (SouthNews No. 367, 22 May 2021)
By Vitor Henrique Pinto Ido
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage health systems, particularly in the global South, a growing number of legal and political mechanisms to foster access to vaccines, scale-up manufacturing capacity and promote technology transfer have been introduced across the world. While the policy space of developing countries which do not hold the technologies for Covid-19 vaccines (including the new mRNA platform) is in practice (though not de lege) more limited than in jurisdictions which may have control over such technologies, the growing list of adopted measures highlights the multiple attempts to address the stark inequalities in global vaccines allocation. It also elicits how demands for vaccine equality cannot be addressed with a single solution, but with a collective endeavor at multiple instances, of actors and countries. This text provides a glimpse of some of them.
Non-Aligned Movement Statement at the 74th World Health Assembly (SouthNews No. 368, 2 June 2021)
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) stressed at the 74th World Health Assembly that “the control of the pandemic relies on proper preparedness, prevention, resilience-building, and greater national, regional and international collaboration, worldwide solidarity and actions to address this challenge in an effective and timely manner”. It reiterated its “traditional support for multilateralism with the United Nations (UN) at its core, expresses full support to the UN Secretary-General’s and World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General’s efforts and coordinated actions to fight the pandemic”, noted “the proposal to conclude a Pandemic Treaty” and looked forward to “receiving more details on the proposal and to the inclusive engagement of all Member States in the consultations”. The statement delivered by H.E. Teymur Musayev, Minister of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan on behalf of NAM is reproduced below.
Una descripción general de las crecientes medidas legales e iniciativas a nivel nacional y en la OMC para garantizar el acceso a vacunas contra la Covid-19 (SouthNews No. 369, 3 de junio de 2021)
Por Vitor Henrique Pinto Ido
A medida que la pandemia de Covid-19 continúa devastando los sistemas de salud, en particular, en el sur a nivel global, se introdujo una creciente cantidad de mecanismos legales y políticos para fomentar el acceso a vacunas, aumentar la capacidad de fabricación y promover la transferencia de tecnología en todo el mundo. Mientras que el espacio de políticas de los países en vías de desarrollo, los cuales no cuentan con las tecnologías para vacunas contra la Covid-19 (incluida la nueva plataforma mRNA), se implementa (aunque no de lege) de forma más limitada que en jurisdicciones que pueden contar con dichas tecnologías, la creciente lista de medidas adoptadas destaca los varios intentos de abordar las marcadas desigualdades en la asignación global de vacunas. También infiere por qué las demandas de igualdad de vacunas no se pueden abordar con una solución única, sino mediante un esfuerzo conjunto en varias instancias, actores y países. Este texto ofrece un vistazo sobre algunos de ellos.
Un aperçu du nombre croissant des mesures et initiatives juridiques au niveau national et à l’OMC pour garantir l’accès aux vaccins contre la Covid-19 (SouthNews No. 370, 3 juin 2021)
Par Vitor Henrique Pinto Ido
Alors que la pandémie de Covid-19 continue de ravager les systèmes de santé, en particulier dans les pays de l’hémisphère Sud, un nombre croissant de mécanismes juridiques et politiques pour favoriser l’accès aux vaccins, accroître la capacité de fabrication et promouvoir le transfert de technologie ont été introduits dans le monde. Tandis que l’espace politique des pays en développement qui ne détiennent pas les technologies pour les vaccins contre la Covid-19 (y compris la nouvelle plateforme à base d’ARNm) est en pratique (mais pas la législation) plus limité que dans les juridictions qui peuvent avoir le contrôle sur ces technologies, la liste croissante des mesures adoptées met en évidence les multiples tentatives visant à remédier les inégalités flagrantes dans l’allocation mondiale des vaccins. Cela montre également comment les demandes d’égalité des vaccins ne peuvent pas être traitées par une seule solution, mais par un effort collectif dans de multiples instances, acteurs et pays. Ce texte donne un aperçu de certains d’entre elles.
Large soutien à la prorogation de la période de transition exemptant les pays les moins avancés (PMA) de la mise en œuvre de l’Accord sur les ADPIC – mais le consensus demeure en retard à l’OMC (SouthNews No. 371, 5 juin 2021)
Par Nirmalya Syam
Les PMA membres sont exemptés jusqu’au 1er juillet 2021 de la mise en œuvre des obligations de protection des droits de propriété intellectuelle au titre de l’Accord sur les ADPIC. À la session d’octobre 2020 du Conseil des ADPIC, les PMA membres ont présenté une demande dûment motivée (IP/C/W/668) pour une nouvelle prorogation de cette période, comme le prévoit l’article 66:1 de l’Accord. Le groupe des PMA demande la prorogation de cette période de transition jusqu’à leur retrait du statut de PMA, puis pour une période de 12 ans. Bien que la demande du groupe des PMA ait reçu un soutien général du Conseil des ADPIC, certains pays développés membres (notamment les États-Unis, l’UE, le Japon, le Canada et la Suisse) ont demandé au groupe des PMA des éclaircissements supplémentaires sur la portée de la prorogation demandée. Les discussions n’ont pas progressé au-delà des consultations informelles. Des négociations fondées sur des propositions de texte sont nécessaires pour adopter en temps opportun une décision du Conseil des ADPIC accordant la prorogation. Cela est préoccupant, étant donné que la date d’expiration de la période de transition actuelle – le 1er juillet 2021 – se rapproche.
Dans ce contexte, le Centre Sud a organisé un webinaire le 9 avril 2021 pour discuter de la demande des PMA membres. Les panélistes ont convenu que la demande était juste, légitime et admissible au regard des règles de l’OMC.
Amplio respaldo por la extensión del período de transición que exime a los países menos desarrollados (LDC) de implementar el Acuerdo TRIPS; no obstante, se está demorando el consenso en la OMC (SouthNews No. 372, 5 de junio de 2021)
Por Nirmalya Syam
Los miembros de LDC quedan eximidos hasta el 1.° de julio de 2021 de implementar sus obligaciones de proteger los derechos de propiedad intelectual en virtud del Acuerdo TRIPS. En la sesión de octubre de 2020 del Consejo de TRIPS, los miembros de LDC enviaron una solicitud debidamente motivada (IP/C/W/668) para extender aún más este período, conforme lo dispuesto en el Artículo 66.1 del Acuerdo. El grupo de LDC solicita una extensión de este período de transición hasta su exclusión del estado LDC y, a partir de allí, por un período de 12 años. Si bien la solicitud del grupo de LDC se recibió con respaldo general en el Consejo de TRIPS, algunos miembros de países desarrollados (principalmente, los EE. UU., la U. E., Japón, Canadá y Suiza) solicitaron más aclaraciones al grupo de LDC sobre el alcance de la extensión solicitada. Los debates no pasaron de consultas informales. Se necesitan negociaciones basadas en texto para que el Consejo de TRIPS adopte una decisión oportuna que otorgue la extensión. Esto es alarmante, ya que la fecha de vencimiento del actual período de transición, del 1.° de julio de 2021, está cada vez más cerca.
En este contexto, el South Centre organizó un webinar el 9 de abril de 2021 para debatir la solicitud de los miembros de LDC. Los panelistas aceptaron que la solicitud es justa, legitima y permisible en virtud de las normas de la OMC.
South Centre participation at the 20th session of the United Nations High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation (SouthNews No. 373, 7 June 2021)
By Yuefen Li
The 20th session of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation started on 1 June and concluded on 4 June 2021. This is the most important United Nations (UN) intergovernmental meeting on South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTrC) since the second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) of 2019. The meeting is tasked to review progress made in implementing the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, the new directions strategy for South-South Cooperation (SSC), the Nairobi outcome document of the High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation and the Buenos Aires outcome document of BAPA+40. After four days of deliberation and negotiations, the High-Level Committee endorses its decision on South-South Cooperation.
The South Centre actively participated in this meeting.
Elaboration of a new draft Convention on the Right to Development kicks off at the UN (SouthNews No. 374, 8 June 2021)
By Daniel Uribe and Danish
The Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) on the Right to Development met virtually for its 21st session from 17-21 May 2021 to discuss a new draft Convention on the Right to Development.
Investment agreements and intellectual property: concerns for developing countries on possible investor claims in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic (SouthNews No. 375, 10 June 2021)
By Vitor Henrique Pinto Ido
On 28 May 2021, the South Centre organized the first of a series of webinars on emerging trends related to free trade agreements (FTAs) and investment agreements that impact public health. The first webinar in this series discussed the topic of investment agreements and intellectual property. Investment agreements include intellectual property (IP) as a category of investment, which may give rise to claims based on “indirect expropriation” and “fair and equitable treatment” of foreign companies to the detriment of legitimate public policy measures undertaken by countries, such as to respond to a public health need.
Ensuring a Sustainable and Resilient Response to COVID-19 and Emerging Infectious Diseases through Local Production (SouthNews No. 378, 16 July 2021)
By Mirza Alas and Vitor Ido
On the 6th of July the South Centre together with ReAct – Action on Antibiotic Resistance and Innovation+Design Enabling Access (IDEA) Initiative at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health co-organized a side event at the United Nations High-level Political Forum. The virtual event aimed to highlight how a sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19 will require an effective way of boosting local or regional production of health products, from face masks to vaccines, needed to respond to the challenge. The panel provided perspectives on the importance of expanding local production and harnessing regional pooled procurement. A summary of the presentations by all speakers is provided in this article.
South Centre and Thammasat University held successful online regional course on intellectual property and public health for judges from 13 Asian countries (SouthNews No. 381, 8 October 2021)
By Vitor Ido
The South Centre and the Faculty of Law, Thammasat University (Bangkok, Thailand) jointly organized an Asian Regional Course for Judges on Intellectual Property and Public Health during the month of August 2021. Judges from 13 countries participated, including members of Supreme Courts, specialized IP courts, appeals courts, administrative courts within patent offices, competition authorities, and general civil courts. The course was organized online on the South Centre’s e-learning platform.
The world economic recovery has weakened before taking root: G24 Ministers and Governors meeting (SouthNews No. 382, 13 October 2021)
The annual Ministers and Governors meeting of the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development (G-24) took place virtually on 11 October 2021.
Despite the projections of world GDP growth close to 6 percent for 2021 and about 5 percent for 2022, ministers and governors expressed grave concerns for the highly uneven economic growth among countries, the very divergent access to vaccines, immensely different capacities to provide fiscal support, provision of international liquidity, escalating debt burden and climate change challenges. With these challenges, the momentum for world economic recovery has weakened before taking root. The ministers and governors have proposed policy measures to counter these challenges as elaborated in the G-24 communiqué endorsed at the meeting of 11th October. The communiqué is available at https://www.g24.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/G-24-Communique-Final-October-Meetings-2021.pdf.
The South Centre is an observer to the G-24. The Executive Director of the South Centre, Dr. Carlos Correa, has submitted a statement to the meeting expressing the Centre’s views and proposals. The submission is reproduced below.
UNCTAD 15 endorsed the Bridgetown Covenant and the Spirit of Speightstown (SouthNews No. 384, 15 October 2021)
By Yuefen Li
The fifteenth session of the quadrennial conference for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was held virtually and hosted in Bridgetown, Barbados from 3 to 7 October 2021 under the theme of “From inequality and vulnerability to prosperity for all”.
South Centre working session at the WTO Public Forum 2021 discussed the future of the TRIPS Agreement post COVID-19 (SouthNews No. 385, 19 October 2021)
By Vitor Henrique Pinto Ido
On 29 September, the South Centre organized a working session on “The Future of the TRIPS Agreement Post COVID-19” at the 2021 WTO Public Forum. Over 130 participants joined the hybrid session. Dr. Yuanqiong Hu, MSF Access Campaign, Geneva, Prof. Hyo Yoon Kang, University of Kent, UK, Dr. Dean Baker, Center for Economic Policy and Research, Washington DC, and Dr. Carlos M. Correa, Executive Director of the South Centre, joined in a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Viviana Muñoz-Tellez, Coordinator of the Health, Intellectual Property and Biodiversity Programme of the South Centre.
South Centre webinar explores synergies in multilateralism and human rights for a just, fair & equitable post-pandemic recovery (SouthNews No. 386, 25 October 2021)
In preparation for the 7th session of the Open Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the issue of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (OEIGWG), the South Centre organized a webinar on 18 October 2021 bringing together representatives of developing countries, academia and civil society organizations to discuss how the International Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises (LBI) could support a better and fairer recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Are the US, EU and China shifting positions on IP and Public Health? South Centre webinar discussed their recent trends as the second webinar of the Emerging Trends in FTAs and Public Health series (SouthNews No. 387, 3 November 2021)
By Vitor Henrique Pinto Ido
The South Centre is holding a series of webinars on emerging trends related to free trade agreements (FTAs) and investment agreements that impact public health. The goal of the sessions is to generate awareness, share experiences and expand knowledge for academics, policymakers and negotiators in ongoing and/or future negotiations. After a webinar focused on investment treaties and intellectual property (IP), this session, which took place on 7 October 2021, examined the European Union (EU), United States of America (USA), and China’s recent experiences.
International Taxation from Global South Perspectives (SouthNews No. 389, 19 November 2021)
By Badr Mandri, Sebastien Babou Diasso, and Aaditri Solankii
South Centre (SC) in collaboration with the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS) organized on October 13, 2021, a webinar on the issue of International Taxation from the Global South perspectives. Tax revenue mobilization plays a key role in financing the economic and social development of countries. When well designed and implemented, tax policy can help developing countries raise revenue and increase their spending, especially in the social sector. Indeed, tax revenue as a share of GDP represent only 15% to 20% in low and middle-income countries, because of obstacles such as the imbalanced and complex international standards designed for developed countries, and the difficulties in collecting taxes in developing countries.
South Centre promueve discusión sobre la propiedad intelectual y el interés público en Colombia y la región: el contexto del Covid-19, uso de las flexibilidades del Acuerdo ADPIC y la protección de conocimiento tradicional (SouthNews No. 393, 23 December 2021)
By Viviana Munoz Tellez
El South Centre organizó un evento presencial sobre Desafíos Actuales de la Propiedad Intelectual y el interés Publico en la Región de América Latina los días 17 a 19 de noviembre 2021 en Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, junto con la Universidad del Rosario (ISUR), Fundación Karisma, IFARMA, Misión Salud y American University. Este fue un evento complementario al Congreso Global de Propiedad Intelectual e Interés Público. El Congreso Global de Propiedad Intelectual e Interés Público es el principal encuentro de una red global de investigadores, activistas y profesionales de diversas áreas del conocimiento que se reúnen para abordar temas relacionados con la propiedad intelectual y la promoción del interés público.
South Centre and IDEC organize debate on local manufacturing and equitable access to vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 (SouthNews No. 394, 20 January 2022)
By Vitor Henrique Pinto Ido
On 14 December 2021, the South Centre and the Brazilian Institute of Consumer Rights (IDEC) co-organized a webinar to debate local manufacturing and equitable access to vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.
South Centre and ORAS CONHU conduct training in December 2021 and January 2021 for Patent Offices and Ministries of Health on the implementation of TRIPS Flexibilities for Public Health/El South Centre y ORAS CONHU realizan una capacitación en diciembre de 2021 y enero de 2021 para Oficinas de Patentes y Ministerios de Salud sobre la implementación de las flexibilidades del ADPIC para la Salud Pública (SouthNews No. 397, 1 February 2022)
By Vitor Ido
The South Centre and ORAS CONHU – the Andean Health Organization jointly organized a training to assess the implementation of TRIPS flexibilities in the context of Andean countries, based on a cooperation between the institutions. The invited-only course took place online between 7 December 2021 and 18 January 2022, with four live encounters, weekly readings, and ongoing interaction between the participants via the use of an e-learning platform. For more information, please refer to our dedicated website: https://ipaccessmeds.southcentre.int/event/curso-sobre-propiedad-intelectual-aplicacion-de-las-flexibilidades-y-acceso-a-medicamentos-en-el-marco-del-derecho-andino/.
El South Centre y ORAS CONHU – Organismo Andino de Salud organizaron conjuntamente una capacitación para evaluar la implementación de las flexibilidades de los ADPIC en el contexto de los países andinos, a partir de una cooperación entre las instituciones. El curso restricto a invitados fue organizado en línea entre el 7 de diciembre de 2021 y el 18 de enero de 2022, con cuatro encuentros en vivo, lecturas semanales e interacción continua entre los participantes mediante el uso de una plataforma virtual de enseñanza. Para más información, consulte nuestro sitio web dedicado: https://ipaccessmeds.southcentre.int/event/curso-sobre-propiedad-intelectual-aplicacion-de-las-flexibilidades-y-acceso-a-medicamentos-en-el-marco-del-derecho-andino/.
The Non-Aligned Movement and South Centre organize workshop on reinvigorating the Right to Development (SouthNews No. 398, 17 February 2022)
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) under the chairmanship of Azerbaijan and the South Centre, jointly organized an expert level workshop for NAM Member States on 7th February 2022 to discuss how the implementation of the Right to Development (RtD) could be revitalized in the context of the 35th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development (DRtD). The workshop considered a forthcoming paper by the South Centre on the ‘International discourse on Right to Development and the need to reinvigorate its implementation’, authored by Ms. Yuefen Li, Mr. Daniel Uribe and Mr. Danish of the South Centre.
South Centre organizes a course for Colombian Judges on intellectual property and public health (SouthNews No. 404, 8 April 2022)
By Vitor Ido
The South Centre organized an in-person course on intellectual property rights and public health for members of the Colombian judiciary between 30 March and 1 April 2022, in the city of Cartagena, Colombia. The session had the participation of administrative judges and judicial assistants from the country, who are competent in intellectual property (IP) related matters. The discussion was particularly timely after the recent change in the legal mandate of administrative law courts in Colombia as they became competent to deal with IP-related issues.
South Centre Course on Intellectual Property, Competition and Public Health with the Court of Appeals for Specialized Cases – Thailand, 18-20 May 2022 (SouthNews No. 408, 8 June 2022)
By Vitor Ido
The South Centre regularly imparts trainings and seminars in cooperation with agencies from its member States and developing countries. On 18-20 May 2022, the South Centre and the Court of Appeals for Specialized Cases – Thailand organized a course for judges, public prosecutors, competition commissioners and academics of Thailand in Bangkok and also on-line with simultaneous translation, with over 70 participants overall.
South Centre seminars for African Judges on IP and Public Health note the pivotal importance of TRIPS Flexibilities (SouthNews No. 413, 24 June 2022)
By Vitor Ido
The South Centre conducted in April – May 2022 a series of four seminars for African judges on intellectual property (IP) and public health. Participants were members of Supreme Courts and high courts from 14 African countries (Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, eSwatini, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, and Togo), as well as from the African Court of Peoples’ and Human Rights. Judges from various jurisdictions participated to exchange experiences, together with scholars from both the global South and North.
The African continent has made progress towards the use of flexibilities of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) relevant to access to medicines, but further action is still needed to enable the full utilization of such flexibilities. Landmark cases from the continent and beyond were discussed during the seminars. Some of the key takeaways include the particular need to balance IP protection and public health in the context of less-resourced countries, the transformative role and robust set of rights – including right to health – enshrined by many African Constitutions and the African charter on human and peoples’ rights, strategies to deal with pressures against courts, and the recognition of the matter of IP and public health as both an African and global issue. A summary of the main points of the sessions follows.
South Centre organized Exchange Among Asian Patent Authorities and Examiners on Patent Policies and Public Health (SouthNews No. 416, 20 July 2022)
By Shirin Syed
The South Centre organized an online regional course for patent offices’ authorities and examiners from Asian countries on 7-9 June 2022. The objective of the course was to deepen the knowledge of participants on the interpretation of claims in pharmaceutical patent applications in a manner that supports public health objectives. To this end, participants exchanged views of possible approaches and national experiences.
Human Rights Council adopts Resolution calling for global, equitable access to medicines, vaccines and other medical technologies (SouthNews No. 418, 2 August 2022)
By Vitor Ido
On 7 July 2022, the Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted without a vote Resolution A/HRC/50/L.13/Rev.1 (hereinafter ‘the Resolution’) on “Access to medicines, vaccines and other health products in the context of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”. The Resolution was proposed by a group of developing countries (Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa and Thailand). It highlights the unequal access to vaccines and other medical technologies during COVID-19 and beyond, recalling the various resolutions and decisions on the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as well as the 2022 decisions which stressed the “need for ensuring equitable, affordable, timely and universal access for all countries to vaccines in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic”. Importantly, it recalls the various human rights implications resulting from the lack of affordable and equitable access to such products, particularly for the global South, women and girls, and other marginalized communities.
South Centre promotes discussion on local production for vaccines and therapeutics in developing countries (SouthNews No. 423, 14 October 2022)
By Viviana Munoz Tellez
The South Centre organized a panel workshop on “Pharmaceutical Sovereignty” as part of the Summit on Intellectual Property (IP) and Access to Medicines: The Pandemic Edition, organized by International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) in Istanbul, Turkey, from 19 to 21 July 2022.
Second Global Forum on Intellectual Property, Access to Medicines and Innovation Report (SouthNews No. 435, 20 January 2023)
By Vitor Ido
On 22-23 September 2022, the South Centre convened its Second Global Forum on Intellectual Property, Access to Medicines and Innovation at the Centre International de Conférences Genève (CICG), Geneva, open to online participation. Attendees included capital-based policymakers from Ministries of Health, Foreign Affairs, Competition and intellectual property offices, representatives of permanent missions in Geneva, academics and judges based in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Australia and Europe. The Forum allowed for in depth discussions on how to implement the flexibilities allowed by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (‘TRIPS Agreement’) to promote public health, in follow up to the first Global Forum organized in 2019 in Munich, Germany.
Potential reforms and interpretations of the TRIPS Agreement to promote access to health technologies discussed at a webinar organized by the South Centre (SouthNews No. 437, 24 January 2023)
By Vitor Ido
The South Centre organized on 11 October 2022 a public webinar on the future of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to discuss whether a reform of the Agreement and/or authoritative interpretations of some its key provisions are needed. The webinar was organized in light of the outcome of the 12th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference regarding the request for a waiver of certain TRIPS obligations for the Covid-19 pandemic.
Reunión Regional de Alto Nivel sobre Políticas de Propiedad Intelectual para Favorecer el Logro de los Objetivos de Salud Pública (Cartagena, dic. 5-6) organizado en cooperación con el Ministerio de Salud y Protección Social de Colombia (SouthNews No. 440, 31 de enero de 2023)
Por Viviana Muñoz Téllez
La Reunión Regional de Alto Nivel sobre Políticas de Propiedad Intelectual para Favorecer el Logro de los Objetivos de Salud Pública, se celebró el 5 y 6 de diciembre 2022 en Cartagena, Colombia. Contó con la participación de especialistas en salud pública y propiedad intelectual del South Centre y de América Latina, así como representantes de Ministerios de Salud, Seguridad Social, Ministerios de Comercio y las Oficinas de Propiedad Intelectual de la región.
South Centre Holds National Workshop on Intellectual Property and Public Health for Policy Makers from Pakistan (SouthNews No. 452, 10 July 2023)
By Jacquelene Mwangi
The South Centre organized a two-day national workshop on “Intellectual Property and Public Health” for policy makers from Pakistan, including members of the Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan (IPO-Pakistan) and the Competition Commission of Pakistan. The workshop, held on 6-7th June 2023, highlighted the interplay between intellectual property (IP) and public health especially considering the Covid-19 crisis and the obstacles that developing countries faced in timely accessing vaccines. The Covid-19 crisis concretely showed how availability of vaccines in all parts of the world would not only have saved millions of lives but would also have significantly helped slow down the pandemic. Against this backdrop, the workshop was designed to promote cohesion between IP policies and public health, particularly through the full utilization of flexibilities of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
Reinvigorating the Non-Aligned Movement, Baku, Azerbaijan (SouthNews No. 453, 6 July 2023)
With the theme of ‘Reinvigorating the Non-Aligned Movement for the post-COVID-19 pandemic era’, the event discussed the evolving role of the NAM in realizing the needs and aspirations of its Member States. It also underlined the important role of South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTrC) and for strengthening ‘National Ecosystems for SSTrC’, and how it could be further leveraged for sharing knowledge, experiences and development solutions.
SOUTH CENTRE NEWS ON AMR:
WHO/UNICEF webinar training on WASH for health care facilities (South Centre News on AMR 38, 8 April 2020)
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are currently organizing a mini training series through webinars to help increase capacity related to water, sanitation and hygiene interventions (WASH) for health care facilities (HCF) as guidance for COVID-19. As WASH interventions are critical in preventing all infections, they are a vital element in addressing antimicrobial resistance, in addition to preventing the spread of COVID-19.
WHO recommends measures to improve antimicrobial use during the COVID-19 pandemic (South Centre News on AMR 41, 2 July 2020)
By Viviana Muñoz Tellez
Antimicrobial stewardship involves appropriate prescription and optimized use of antimicrobials. The July issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO) features an editorial arguing that antimicrobial stewardship activities should be integrated into the COVID-19 pandemic response across the broader health system.
Civil Society press for actions on Antimicrobial Resistance (South Centre News on AMR 42, 15 July 2020)
The Antibiotic Resistance Coalition (ARC), a coalition of over 25 civil society organizations working to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR) from a One Health perspective, has published its June newsletter highlighting key activities by its members relating to the response to COVID-19 and AMR. The South Centre is also a member of ARC as an intergovernmental partner.
NEW South Centre Policy Brief: Examining antimicrobial resistance in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic (South Centre News on AMR 43, 16 July 2020)
The South Centre is pleased to announce the publication of Policy Brief No. 82 entitled “Examining antimicrobial resistance in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic” by Mirfin Mpundu, Caline Mattar and Mirza Alas.
ReAct Africa and South Centre bring together African civil society organizations to advance actions on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) (South Centre News on AMR 49, 20 April 2021)
By Mirza Alas
From 24 to 26 of March, ReAct Africa and South Centre co-organized a virtual workshop for civil society with the theme “Increasing CSOs Participation to address AMR and contribute to the global development agenda.”
During the three days, civil society organizations (CSOs) from the African region met -virtually- to learn about antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need to address AMR exposure and transmission across humans, animals, the environment and food systems. The workshop also offered space to learn from advocacy efforts in HIV/AIDs, communication strategies through social media, and experiences designing innovative materials.
Highlights of the UN High-Level Dialogue on Tackling AMR (South Centre News on AMR 50, 22 June 2021)
By Mirza Alas
On 29 of April 2021, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly held a High-Level Interactive Dialogue on Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). The purpose of the dialogue was to strengthen political commitment, take stock of progress, recommit to actions, and build back better from COVID-19. The dialogue also aimed at presenting practical steps to address current challenges to tackle AMR “as part of future pandemic preparedness through a One Health approach while supporting the delivery of the SDGs.” The High-Level Dialogue is part of the discussions that have been held at the United Nations to highlight the AMR issue. In 2016, the UN held the High-level Meeting on AMR which adopted a political declaration to advance actions on AMR.
The Declaration of the G20 Health Ministers addresses Antimicrobial Resistance (South Centre News on AMR 51, 16 September 2021)
By Viviana Munoz Tellez
The Group of Twenty (G20) Health Ministers’ meeting was held in Rome on 5 and 6 September 2021. The discussion focused on the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and future preparedness and response to pandemics. The need for increased actions to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was also on the agenda.
The Declaration adopted by the G20 reaffirms several of the commitments on AMR already made previously and links action on AMR to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Progress and challenges on the implementation of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) National Action Plans (NAPs) in the African region (South Centre News on AMR 52, 22 December 2021)
By Mirza Alas
Together with ReAct Africa, the South Centre organized a virtual conference from the 30th of November to the 3rd of December 2021 to assess the progress achieved on the implementation of the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) pandemic preparedness in the African Region. The four-day meeting looked at ongoing challenges in response to AMR, particularly in the face of the continuing pandemic and highlighted country progress and student-led actions to contain AMR.
The COVID-19 Pandemic: Intellectual Property Management for Access to Diagnostics, Medicines and Vaccines (Webinar), 30 April 2020
Developing countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in particular in Africa are especially vulnerable to the unfolding effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A priority area for global collaboration is to ensure that diagnostics, vaccines and medicines are made available, affordable and accessible worldwide. There is currently no vaccine and no proven safe and effective direct therapy for COVID-19. There is also the need to accelerate testing capacity and tools in developing countries and LDCs with increased access to low-cost diagnostics. The approach to the management of intellectual property rights by research institutions, pharmaceutical and biotech companies and R&D funders will decisively affect availability and access, as well as the transfer of technology and know-how. Governments must ensure that they have legislative and procedural frameworks in place to enable them to over-come, consistently with the TRIPS Agreement, any patent, data exclusivity and trade secret barriers to procure and produce COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines, medicines and other therapeutics. This webinar provided participants with information on recent South Centre Covid-19 publications.
Tax Policy Options For Funding the Post-COVID Recovery in the Global South (Webinar Series on Development and COVID-19), 23 July 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected tax revenue collection globally, with the Global South especially hard-hit. The decline in economic activity has meant reduced corporate profits, declining consumption and increasing unemployment. This in turn implies declining revenue from corporate income taxes, goods and services taxes and personal income taxes. Resource-rich countries are especially being affected by the drop in global commodity prices and decline in international trade. This reduction in revenue collection is limiting developing countries’ ability to effectively respond to the COVID-19 crisis. It is therefore necessary to explore what are the concrete tax policy measures developing countries can take to raise revenue at this critical time. Measures pertaining to the digitalized economy are of particular importance given the increasing sales of tech companies and highly digitalized businesses during the lockdown.
The webinar will hence feature prominent voices of the Global South on the national and international tax policy options for funding the post-COVID-19 recovery. Speakers will also provide an overview of the multilateral discussions in the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on taxing the digitalized economy, a topic of seminal importance as it is in effect a redistribution of taxing rights between source and residence jurisdictions. The speakers are a diverse mix representing tax administrations, academia and civil society from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Responsible Investment for Development and Human Rights: Assessing Different Mechanisms to Face Possible Investor-State Disputes from COVID-19 Related Measures (Webinar Series on Development and COVID-19), 30 July 2020
Developing and least developed countries (LDCs), particularly in Africa, are especially vulnerable to the unfolding effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to UNCTAD, foreign direct investment flows will drop drastically up to 40% during 2020-2021. A number of developed and developing countries, including LDCs, have introduced a number of measures aimed at limiting the effects of the pandemic, protecting domestic industries for strategic sectors (e.g. health industry, energy sector, telecommunication, food production, etc.), and safeguarding the real economy, particularly by offering bonds or bailouts for companies and the public in general.
Law firms and risk managers are already advising foreign investors about the possibility of initiating investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) claims against host States on the grounds of the alleged breach of their investors’ rights, based on provisions such as : (i) full protection and security; (ii) fair and equitable treatment; (iii) national treatment and most-favoured nation treatment; and (iv) unlawful expropriation.
The webinar is designed as an open space to foster dialogue and share views among developing countries and other strategic partners for identifying and assessing the different mechanisms for States to face these challenges at the multilateral, regional and domestic level. With several calls being made for establishing a multilateral ISDS moratorium during the COVID-19 crisis and response, the webinar will consider these options and other possible regional and domestic responses based on the principles of dispute prevention. This webinar is part of a webinar series being organized by the South Centre with the objective of gathering experts, policy-makers, government officials, practitioners and other stakeholders to discuss the different measures adopted by States to tackle the different challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic in their efforts to achieve and sustain the progress towards sustainable development in developing countries.
Meeting on Waiver to Certain Provisions of the WTO TRIPS Agreement to Support Effective COVID-19 Response, 9 November 2020
Discussion and clarification on the proposal under consideration by WTO TRIPS Council for a temporary waiver to certain TRIPS Agreement provisions.
Fair and Equitable Pricing in Health: Competition Law and Access to Medicines, Webinar on 3-4 December 2020
Access to Covid-19 Vaccines, Medicines and Diagnostics: Voluntary and Compulsory Licenses, TRIPS Waiver, Public Webinar, 7 December 2020
Join a discussion on intellectual property voluntary licenses, compulsory licenses and the proposal for a TRIPS waiver to waive obligations to mitigate the limitations of the current mechanisms to support universal access to COVID-19 medicines, vaccines and diagnostics.
Organized by the South Centre and Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign
South Centre Series on Manufacturing Capacity for Covid-19 Vaccines: The Experience of Butantan-Sinovac, 23 March 2021
Webinar to discuss R&D, clinical trials and technology transfer in the experience of Institute Butantan, São Paulo, with Sinovac Life Sciences, Beijing, for the Coronavac Covid-19 vaccine.
Ensuring a Sustainable and Resilient Response to COVID-19 and Emerging Infectious Diseases through Local Production, United Nations High-Level Political Forum 2021 Side Event, 6 July 2021
This panel will discuss what it will take to ensure that regional innovation hubs and local producers pick up where, for example, 1st-generation vaccine manufacturers might leave off. Expert panelists will offer important stakeholder perspectives on opportunities to expand local production and harness pooled procurement, the challenges ahead and how they might be met.
Organized by South Centre, ReAct – Action on Antibiotic Resistance and Innovation + Design Enabling Access at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Working Session at the WTO Public Forum 2021: The Future of the TRIPS Agreement Post COVID-19, 29 September 2021
Disciplines on intellectual property protection are part of the multilateral trade system through the WTO TRIPS Agreement. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to bear again the tension between the protection of intellectual property rights and public health, which had been addressed in 2001 through the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public health. Having in view the TRIPS flexibilities, this session will discuss the role of interpretation, temporary waivers and amendments in dealing with such tension and what further actions could be taken under the WTO rules in order to promote access to medical products for all.
Exploring synergies in multilateralism and human rights for a just, fair & equitable recovery from COVID-19, Webinar, 18 October 2021
Facilitated by the South Centre, this webinar is an opportunity for participants to exchange views and discuss how the Legally Binding Instrument on Transitional Corporations and Other Business Enterprises can support States’ efforts in other areas of the multilateral system towards enabling a just, fair, and equitable recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Race for Affordable Medicines: The New Candidates and Treatments for Covid-19, Webinar on Local Manufacturing and Access to Vaccines and Health Technologies for Covid-19, 14 December 2021
Session 1 of webinar co-organized with the Brazilian Institute for Consumer Rights (IDEC)
Brazil: Inequalities and Obstacles in the Path of Vaccines and Medicines, Webinar on Local Manufacturing and Access to Vaccines and Health Technologies for Covid-19, 14 December 2021
Session 2 of webinar co-organized with the Brazilian Institute for Consumer Rights (IDEC)
WTO 12th Ministerial Conference Decision on the TRIPS Agreement: What is next?, Webinar, 5 July 2022
Join South Centre experts for an analysis of the decision on compulsory licensing for COVID-19 vaccines, next steps for implementation and extension for therapeutics and diagnostics.
The Future of the TRIPS Agreement (Part 2), Webinar, 11 October 2022
Sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic requires availability of medical technologies in all countries. To date, inequity in access continues. The interface of intellectual property and promotion of public health is central to this question. This session is a follow-up to the South Centre’s 2021 WTO Public Forum working session, which kick-started a discussion on the future of the TRIPS Agreement after the Covid-19 pandemic.
This session will bring together various stakeholders to discuss whether a reform of the TRIPS Agreement and/or authoritative interpretations of some its key provisions are needed, having in view the proposals made in response to a request for a waiver for the Covid-19 pandemic and other possible public-health oriented solutions. What are the existing limitations and opportunities within the current framework? What further actions could be taken under the WTO rules in order to promote access to medical technologies for a sustainable and equitable future?
This article was tagged: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Pandemic