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.

Special Tribute Seminar in Honour of Dr. Gamani Corea, 20 March, 2014

Special Tribute seminar in commemoration of the life and intellectual legacy of Dr. Gamani Corea of Sri Lanka (UNCTAD Secretary-General 1974-1984 and South Centre Board Chair 2001-2002) took place on 20 March 2014, 1500-1800h, Room XXV, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.

The special tribute was opened by H.E. Mr. Benjamin Mkapa, Chairperson of the Board of the South Centre with speeches by Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General of UNCTAD (Represented by Dr. Richard Kozul-Wright, Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies (GDS)) and H.E. Mr. Ravinatha Pandukabhaya Aryasinha, Ambassador, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva.


The Executive Director of the South Centre, Mr. Martin Khor (left) moderates the opening session with participation of H.E. Mr. Benjamin Mkapa, H.E. Mr. Ravinatha Aryasinha; Mr. Rubens Ricupero and Dr. Richard Kozul-Wright.


The first session entitled Tribute to Gamani Corea: life and work was led by Ambassador Rubens Ricupero, Former Secretary General of UNCTAD (1995-2004) and Mr. Chakravarthi Raghavan, Emeritus Editor of the South-North Development Monitor (SUNS).

The second session on “The intellectual legacy of Gamani Corea” was moderated by Professor Deepak Nayyar, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Member of the Board of the South Centre. Speakers included Dr. Saman Kelegama, Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS);  Mr. Michael Sakbani, former Director of the Division of Economic Cooperation, Poverty Alleviation, and UNCTAD`s Special Programs; Mr. Gerassimos Arsenis, former Director of the Money, Finance and Development Division/UNCTAD and former Minister of Finance and President of the Central Bank of Greece; Mr. Jan Pronk, former Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD and former Minister of Development Cooperation and Environment of the Netherlands; Mr. Michael Zammit Cutajar, former UNCTAD staff and former Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).


Mr. Deepak Nayar moderates session on the intellectual legacy of Dr. Gamani Corea with speakers including Mr. Gerassimos Arsenis; Mr. Michael Sakbani; Mr. Jan Pronk; Mr. Michael Zammit Cutajar and Dr. Saman Kelegama.


The life and legacy of Gamani Corea

Dr. Gamani Corea passed away in Sri Lanka on 3 November 2013. Dr. Corea started his career at the Central Bank in Sri Lanka where he later became director of economic research. He was also the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs playing a key role on Sri Lankan economic policy. In 1963 he was invited by Raul Prebisch to join the team involved on the preparation of the first UNCTAD Conference in 1964, an organization which he served later as Secretary General from 1974 to 1984.

Dr. Gamani Corea was also instrumental for the establishment of the Group of 77 and later in the 90s, the South Centre having previously served as member of the South Commission (1987-1990) and a decade later as member and chair of the Board of the Centre (2002 to 2003). Dr. Corea promoted domestic and international economic policies aimed at the benefit of the poor and of the developing countries. He contributed to reinforce unity among nations of the South and their position in multilateral negotiations.

Dr. Corea introduced the Integrated Programme for Commodities – commonly known as the Corea Plan, one of his finest achievements that have led to the establishment of the Common Fund for Commodities. The influence of Dr. Corea on the decision to establish the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative is also another of his accomplishment having previously chaired the Expert Group of the Non-Aligned Movement on Third World Debt which served as the basis for the HIPC initiative. He was a strong proponent of a New International Economic Order (NIEO), and under his tenure, UNCTAD experienced one of the most active periods of its history.

The special tribute seminar of the South Centre not only to paid a tribute to this eminent South thinker but also debated the intellectual thinking going beyond Dr. Gamani Corea’s legacy as many of his ideas and thoughts are a timely element for our debates in search of alternatives to the current developmental challenges the Global South is facing today. The South Centre will release a book with the contributions received.

This South Centre event was organized with the support of the Permanent Mission of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the United Nations at Geneva and hosted by UNCTAD.



Concept Note and Agenda in PDF




15:00-15:30 Opening remarks 


15:30-16:30 Tribute to Dr. Gamani Corea: life and work


16:30-17:45 The intellectual legacy of Dr. Gamani Corea


17:45-18:00 Concluding remarks    


Further Contributions Received



Related News


CHF 0.000 items