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 WTO’s Special and Differential Treatment Negotiations (Paragraph 44)
Paragraph 44 of the 2001 Doha Ministerial Declaration mandates the ‘strengthening’ of Special and Differential Treatment (S&D) provisions in the WTO Agreement, and making them ‘more precise, effective and operational’. This Note tracks the evolution of these negotiations from the start of the Doha Round in 2001 until the Nairobi Ministerial in December 2015. (more…)
The WTO’s Agriculture Domestic Supports Negotiations
The historical problems in agriculture continue today. Developed countries with the financial capacity continue to subsidise their farmers and export these agricultural products. This has also been enabled by the Uruguay Round through large AMS entitlements for mostly developed countries ($19 billion for US and now about $95 billion for EU27), as well as the Green Box (Annex 2 of the Agreement on Agriculture). (more…)
Subsidies and food security in WTO: a permanent solution is still pending
The current WTO rules applicable to public stockholding for food security purposes illustrate the imbalances present in the WTO rules on agriculture. The calculation of the level of subsidies on the basis of outdated fixed reference prices is a flaw that needs to be corrected. Moreover, the rigid limits imposed in the calculation of the AMS ironically penalize developing countries that did not subsidize agricultural production at the time the Uruguay Round was concluded, rather than those with a history of heavy subsidization. (more…)
10 documents were distributed to WTO Members on 26 November 2013 at the last General Council meeting before the Bali Ministerial Conference (MC9). These documents are being transmitted to Bali. (more…)
WTO’s MC9: Analysis of the Food Security ‘Peace Clause’ Text
The Peace Clause is time-limited (4 years) and partial in coverage (no inclusion of the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures- ASCM). Countries can still be taken to dispute. It also has onerous and intrusive transparency and information requirements and conditions. (more…)
The WTO’s Bali Ministerial and Food Security for Developing Countries: Need for equity and justice in the rules on agricultural subsidies
Food security in developing countries is a major issue in the WTO’s negotiations towards the Bali Ministerial Conference in December. A report drawn from meetings of trade expert group meetings organised by the South Centre has pointed to the importance of public stockholding for food security in developing countries, and some of the imbalances in the present rules on agricultural subsidies in the WTO. (more…)
Ratification of the Economic Partnership Agreement: The Case of Cameroon
This Note looks at the Costs and Benefits of an EPA for Cameroon if it would ratify the interim-EPA.
The main benefit of the EPA would be the avoidance of duties that EU importers would have to pay. If Cameroon would fall back to EU GSP, these duties would amount to USD 42.5 million / year (top-30 exports under EU GSP). In the case of the GSP+, only two key products will face tariffs: bananas and malt extract/food preparation with low cocoa contents. (more…)
An agreement on trade facilitation is being propped as a viable outcome from the World Trade Organization (WTO) 9th Ministerial Conference, to be held in Bali at the end of 2013. WTO Members formally agreed to launch negotiations on trade facilitation in 2004 pursuant to the July 2004 Framework Package (referred to as the post-Cancun decision) . (more…)
Statement at the high-level panel on Trade, at the LDC-IV conference, Istanbul
Trade has been at the centre of discussion of LDCs improving their economy and social conditions. It was said that LDCs are not integrated into the world economy; that is why they are marginalized. This is not true. Many LDCs have higher exports to GNP ratio than some developed countries. (more…)
EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP): Tools Protecting European Farmers.
The European Union (EU) uses a plethora of policy instruments to protect its agricultural sector and to ensure that European farmers, despite having higher production costs, are still able to continue production for both the European and export markets.
EU’s Increasing Use Of Decoupled Domestic Supports In Agriculture: Implications For Developing Countries.
The EU has been undertaking reform in its Common Agricultural Policy. Nevertheless, subsidies to EU agricultural producers are continuing. The major change is that 93% of these supports are now provided in the form of direct aid payments to producers. (more…)