South Centre Statement to the High Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response
20 September 2023
The UN HLMs on health have helped drive the highest level of political commitment to key global health issues. The HLD on PPR today underplays the seriousness of the crisis the world experienced with the Covid-19 pandemic and fails to provide the level of political support and guidance to the critical negotiations taking place in Geneva for an international instrument and amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005).
The South Centre will continue to support developing countries in these processes and seek to promote constructive dialogue with other UN members and stakeholders.
Promoting Jordan’s Use of Compulsory Licensing During the Pandemic
By Laila Barqawi
This paper addresses the difficulties in utilizing Article 31 bis of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) on compulsory licensing for the export of pharmaceuticals during the pandemic through the case study of Jordan. This paper also recommends that Jordanian officials seek to capitalize on the pandemic whilst the Jordanian Defense Law and Orders are in effect to include Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as a direct ground for applying compulsory licensing, introduce clauses similar to those introduced by countries who have signed FTAs with the US, as well as deactivate harmful clauses within its national laws that prevent the application and utilization of a compulsory license. Further, Jordanian officials should seek the opportunity, considering the change of stance of the Biden administration towards compulsory licensing, to re-negotiate favourable terms in the Jordanian – US Free Trade Agreement (JUSFTA). Moreover, Jordanian officials should also form a syndicate that calls for the overhauling of TRIPS at Article 31 bis when an EUA is invoked in any country.
COVID-19, Future Pandemics and the Africa Care Economy Index
By Salimah Valiani
In Africa, the care economy has long been unrecognised. At least since the last major pandemic in Africa, HIV-AIDS, caring work has been severely undervalued in the continent, and the redistribution of caring work, from females in the home and communities, is next to nonexistent. Undoing this structural inequality is crucial to improve health and wellbeing of girls and women in Africa, to be prepared for future pandemics, and to realise Africa’s demographic dividend for the benefit of the majority. To achieve this, the Africa Care Economy Index is offered as a policy, advocacy, and accountability tool.
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?
The existing treaty provisions are likely to result in widespread litigation on these issues. It is desirable that a new provision is introduced in the tax treaties to tackle these issues. The suggested remote worker permanent establishment provision adopts a very simple measurable threshold for determination of permanent establishment and also attempts to balance taxing rights of the country of source as well as residence. A simple standardised approach could be adopted for determining the profits attributable to such permanent establishment.
Assessing the State of Play in the WHO Pandemic Instrument Negotiations
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.
South Centre Statement to the 64th WIPO General Assembly (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.
The South Centre remains available to all developing countries’ delegations to provide further information and support on these matters, during and after the Assemblies.
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.
Strengthening efforts towards fulfilling the human right to food and the right to clean, safe and healthy environment
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.
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.
A Response to COVID-19 and Beyond: Expanding African Capacity in Vaccine Production
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.
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.