The South Commission’s report “The Challenge to the South” was launched in 1990

3 August 1990: The Report recommended creating a South Secretariat that would provide the technical foundation (analysis, research and negotiation support) needed by the South for working collectively. The South Centre was established in November 1990 to follow-up the Report’s recommendations and became an intergovernmental organization established by treaty in 1995.

31 July 1995: The Agreement to Establish the South Centre entered into force

The South Centre was established as a permanent intergovernmental organization mandated to provide policy advice, undertake research and analysis, support coordinated actions by developing countries in negotiating processes, and promote South-South cooperation.

“As the premier source of research on issues affecting the South, and growing out of the work and experience of the South Commission, the (South) Centre plays a role whose value for the developing world cannot be underestimated”

Nelson Mandela, in his speech to the Second Meeting of the Council of Representatives of the South Centre held in New York, in 1998.

The South Conference reviews the challenges ahead

The annual South Conference of the South Centre has become a major event for developing countries to review the state of the world, their development prospects, and the continuing and emerging challenges that the South faces.

North-South Dialogue

The South Centre seeks to promote North-South dialogue on issues of common global concern on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

Promoting the South at international events

The South Centre participates in major international conferences, particularly those supporting South-South cooperation such as summits of the G77 and China, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Asian-African Conference. In the organizations where the South Centre holds observer status (UN General Assembly, WHO, UNCTAD, UNFCCC, WTO, WIPO among many others) it promotes the views and perspectives of the South.

Providing analysis on global macroeconomic and financial issues

The South Centre carries out forward-thinking analyses of global macroeconomic and financial issues, highlighting the development implications and prospects for the South and providing recommendations for appropriate action.

Addressing the challenges of climate change

The South Centre is actively engaged in the climate change and sustainable development negotiations where it promotes the development rights and interests of developing countries.

Making the global trade system fairer and inclusive

Making the trade and investment systems fair and inclusive to the benefit of all its members has always been one of the main priorities of the South Centre. In this regard, the South Centre assists developing countries in understanding the development implications of WTO, free trade and investment agreements.

Innovation, health, and development of the South

Innovation, health and development are inter-linked issues that affect the peoples of the South. These are areas in which the South Centre continues to engage in to identify specific concerns  of developing countries (such as access to medicines, transfer of technology, antibiotic resistance, biodiversity protection, intellectual property rights).

Helping create future leaders of the South

Creating an informed South for the future depends on providing information and analyses to young future developing country policymakers.


The South Centre provides seminars and workshops to expose students, policymakers, and other professionals from the South to multilateral policy issues that affect the development of their countries.

South Unity in diversity, South Progress through cooperation

Promoting South-South cooperation through cooperation with the South’s other institutions such as the G77, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and regional organizations is an important part of the South Centre’s work.

South Unity in action

Promoting South-South cooperation in practice at multilateral policy negotiations is a key aspect of the South Centre’s work, as it seeks to build South unity and progress.

From the South Commission to the South Centre

The journey continues in strengthening the multilateral intergovernmental policy research institution of the South towards South Unity and South Progress.


Map shows South Centre Membership as of 2015.

Some Critical Issues Related to Access to Medicines and Intellectual Property

Bk_2014_Some Critical Issues Related to Access to Medicines and IP_EN_001

CHF 9.00CHF 18.00

Author: Germán Velásquez

Language: English

Publisher: South Centre

Publishing Place: Geneva

Publishing Year: 2014

ISBN 978-92-9162-042-5


No. of pages: 213

Category: .

About the Book:

The international debate and negotiations over access to medicines in the last ten years have been one of the most important moments in the recent history of public health. This debate is taking place in UN specialized agencies like WHO, UNDP, UNCTAD, UNAIDS, WIPO, WTO, the Commission of Human Rights, NGOs working on health, philanthropic foundations, and the pharmaceutical industry. Dr Germán Velásquez has been a protagonist and witness of this struggle. He narrates in detail the most difficult moments of the negotiations, the victories, failures, challenges and the roles of the different actors.

This book is a collection of papers by the South Centre between 2011 and 2014 on the deliberations and negotiations in the World Health Organization (WHO) on access to medicines and their relationship with other actors dealing with international trade and intellectual property regimes. The South Centre is an intergovernmental research organization of developing countries on critical development issues for the South and is an observer to the governing bodies of the WHO. The author has extensive experience of the work of the WHO on the issue of the impact of trade agreements on public health, particularly access to medicines and intellectual property rights. It is hoped that the collection of papers presented in this book will be useful for policy makers and researchers interested in the deliberations in the WHO on the critical issues pertaining to public health, particularly access to medicines.


About the Author

Germán Velásquez is the Special Adviser for Health and Development at the South Centre, Geneva, Switzerland.

Until May 2010, he was the Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Secretariat on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property, at the Director-General’s Office, in Geneva. He is a pioneer on the debate on health, intellectual property and access to medicines and he represented WHO at the WTO Council for TRIPS from 2001 to 2010. Germán Velásquez is author or co-author of numerous publications on subjects such as: health economics and medicines, health insurance schemes, globalization, international trade agreements, intellectual property and access to medicines.


Table of Contents (.PDF)

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