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.
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.
The Financial Crisis and the Global South: Impact and Prospects
The world economy has not still recovered from the effects of the financial crisis that began almost a decade ago first in the US and then in Europe. Policy response to the crisis, the combination of fiscal restraint and ultra-easy monetary policy, has not only failed to bring about a robust recovery but has also aggravated systemic problems in the global economy, notably inequality and chronic demand gap, on the one hand, and financial fragility, on the other. (more…)
The Need to Avoid “TRIPS-Plus” Patent Clauses in Trade Agreements
A recent article in a prestigious journal reminds us of how the intellectual property chapter of free trade agreements can prevent the sick from getting treatment. This article also critiques the TPP clauses and warns that they should not be translated to national laws or copied into other FTAs being negotiated. (more…)
Mitigating the Regulatory Constraints Imposed by Intellectual Property Rules under Free Trade Agreements
IP provisions in FTAs may have implications on a wide range of public policy areas. A vast academic literature has addressed the “flexibilities” available under the TRIPS Agreement and the negative impact of FTAs in relation to access to medicines. (more…)
The Experience of Sri Lanka with International Investment Treaties
This policy brief gives an overview of Sri Lanka’s experience with investment treaties, including highlights from a study undertaken by the authors in regard to the interface between BITs and FDI inflows. The brief also reviews international trends in relation to re-negotiating BITs and discusses the elements driving these trends, offering insights into the factors shaping this discussion in developing countries. (more…)
South Centre Presentation to the Special Event of the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly
UNCTAD organized a special event of the Second Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on 26 October 2016 in New York on “SOVEREIGN DEBT RESTRUCTURINGS: Lessons learned from legislative steps taken by certain countries and other appropriate action to reduce the vulnerability of sovereigns to holdout creditors”. Ms. Yuefen Li, Special Advisor on Economics and Development Finance of the South Centre, spoke as a panelist and alerted the UN Member States of the current legislative challenges facing the sovereigns when it comes to the need for sovereign debt restructuring including the impact of the plurilateral and bilateral trade and investment agreements.
Peruvian State’s Strategy for Addressing Investor State Disputes
This policy brief explains the approach adopted by Peru to establishment of the “System for the Coordination and Response of the State in International Investment Disputes” (SICRECI) and the role it played in responding to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) cases faced by Peru. It gives an overview of the sixteen ISDS cases brought against Peru to date. While this institutional development adds value in terms of managing cases as they arise, the paper points out that this system faces major hurdles due to multiple challenges arising from ISDS. As shown in the paper, after the establishment of SICRECI, Peru continued to face a rising number of ISDS cases. (more…)
Innovation and the Global Expansion of Intellectual Property Rights: Unfulfilled Promises
The incorporation of intellectual property into trade agreements has not proven to bring about the promised benefits. The premises that have underpinned the global strengthening and expansion of intellectual property through such agreements – namely that the same standards of protection are suitable for countries with different levels of development and that innovation will be boosted – do not match the reality. (more…)
Approaches to International Investment Protection: Divergent Approaches between the TPPA and Developing Countries’ Model Investment Treaties
While the international investment treaty regime is at a conjuncture, States face the challenge of designing reforms that would result in systemic solutions, and not merely cosmetic changes, to the challenges emerging out of the existing regime and the ISDS mechanism it embodies. (more…)
Intellectual Property in the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Increasing the Barriers for the Access to Affordable Medicines
Most free trade agreements signed by the United States, the European Union and the members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in the last 15 years contain chapters on intellectual property rights with provisions applicable to pharmaceuticals. Such provisions considerably expand the rights recognized to pharmaceutical companies under the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) established in the context of the World Trade Organization. (more…)
Ecuador’s Experience with International Investment Arbitration
The brief reviews Ecuador’s experience with investment treaties and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). The paper explains the historical and geopolitical context of the decisions Ecuador has taken in regard to bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and ISDS. The author notes that a number of treaties did not fulfill the constitutional and legal ratification processes. (more…)
Financing for Development Conference 2015: A View from the South
On 19 July 2014 the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations agreed on a draft of a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, taking the first steps toward a renewed development agenda for after 2015. The effort to agree on the SDGs was the follow up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), whose end-date is 2015. Aside from the 17 specific goals, the draft SDGs included 169 associated targets. (more…)