With the objective of collecting information regarding the role of businesses in realising the right to development, Prof Surya Deva, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development, made an open call for inputs from various stakeholders such as States, international organisations, national human rights institutions, civil society organisations, and others.
In line with its programme of work, the South Centre is keen to submit the following information to the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development considering the need to achieve progress on the fulfilment of social rights, in particular the Right to Development (RtD) and its interface with issues such as climate change, corporate responsibility, food security and small farmers’ livelihood.
Response to the Call for Inputs by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment
“Should the interests of foreign investors trump the human right to a clean,
healthy and sustainable environment?”
14 June 2023
To realize the right to clean, healthy & sustainable environment and reduce ISDS risks, States need to align their FDI policies with human rights, climate action and SDGs, including via reform of the international investment regime.
The South Centre’s Board approved in September 2022 its Programme of Work 2023-2025 where the policy dimensions of digital transformation are highlighted as one of the priority areas for developing countries, including the need to harness digital technologies in education, health and the production of goods and services, support the development of a domestic digital industry, improve their digital infrastructure, advance digital equity and inclusion, effectively tax the digital companies and contribute to shaping the digital governance architecture to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Following the call made in the Declaration on the Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations (A/RES/75/1) for improved digital cooperation, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and his report ‘Our Common Future’, the South Centre submits the following written contribution to the UN Secretary General ahead to the Summit of the Future with the objective of providing support to developing countries in the intergovernmental process concerning the digital transformation.
Leveraging South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Reducing Poverty and Hunger, and Promoting Rural Development
By Yuefen Li, Daniel Uribe and Danish
The world is experiencing unprecedented global multidimensional crises that have increased poverty, hunger and food insecurity, with the sharpest impacts being felt among rural areas and communities. Deepening international cooperation is essential to help developing countries face economic headwinds and recover from lasting scars of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change-induced natural disasters. In this scenario, scaling up of South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) can play a critical role in catalyzing sustainable development initiatives in developing and least developed countries.
This policy brief therefore considers how SSTC can be effectively leveraged for undertaking initiatives on poverty alleviation, hunger reduction and rural development through strengthening of national SSTC institutional setups. It also explores how SSTC can facilitate increased coordination among stakeholders, and considers areas for fostering mutually beneficial initiatives between developing countries. This brief then focuses on the institutional setup for SSTC in some selected countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America, and considers their role in mainstreaming of SSTC. It further considers some recent experiences from developing countries that use SSTC modalities, outlining important initiatives which could be shared with partners to support poverty alleviation, food security and rural development efforts. Finally, the brief provides some important conclusions and lessons learned which can support developing countries’ efforts to achieve the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda.
Preserving Regulatory Space for Sustainable Development in Africa
By Roslyn Ng’eno
Investment has an important role for achieving sustainable development in developing countries. Although international investment agreements (IIAs) can serve as instruments to promote such objective, protection oriented IIAs have undermined the ability of States to regulate in the benefit of the community. Likewise large financial reparations imposed by arbitral tribunals have increased the threat of regulatory chill in the face of major global challenges. Strengthening the right to regulate of States and addressing regulatory chill are key matters to consider in the reform of IIAs and the international investment regime.
The WTO faces an existential crisis, despite a reasonable outcome at the Twelfth Ministerial Conference. The one way by which the WTO can resuscitate itself is to make sure that the negotiating agenda is anchored in the SDGs rather than in the narrow interests of its most powerful members. The changing role of the State must also be factored in by the WTO.
Strengthening United Nations Actions in the Field of Human Rights through the Promotion of International Cooperation
Geneva, 24 February 2023
The South Centre submits the following written contribution to the United Nations Secretary General’s Report on ‘Strengthening the United Nations’ action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation’, in line with the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution A/RES/76/164, adopted on 16 December 2021. The resolution recognises the need for respecting the political, economic and social realities of each society in compliance with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations. The report to be presented by the Secretary-General to the UNGA represents an important opportunity to recognise that global challenges do not affect all societies equally, and that they require a broader consideration of policies and innovative solutions that can cater to the unique realities and specific needs of each society.
Illicit Financial Flows and Stolen Asset Recovery: The Global North Must Act
by Abdul Muheet Chowdhary and Sebastien Babou Diasso
Domestic resource mobilization is essential for developing countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by the deadline of 2030. Concomitantly, Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), which also lead to asset theft, are major means through which these countries are losing resources. This research paper analyzes the World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery (STAR) database and shows that countries from where assets have been stolen are mostly developing countries, and countries where the stolen assets have been hidden are developed countries. The paper also shows that regarding the pending or ongoing asset recovery cases, there is a clear pattern where the majority of countries waiting to have their assets returned are developing countries, and those who must return them are developed countries. There is an unexplained and unjustified delay by developed countries in the process of returning the frozen assets to developing countries which needs to be addressed as soon as possible. There is also an evaluation of international legal reforms which can be implemented to accelerate the asset recovery process. However, all these will need the full commitment of Global North countries where most of the stolen assets are hidden and which bear the brunt of responsibility for returning them to the developing countries.
Combating Illicit Financial Flows : “Now or Never”
Statement of H.E. Thabo Mbeki, Chairperson of the African Union High Level Panel on IFFs
“I fully support the creation of a globally inclusive, intergovernmental process at the UN. I urged all international organisations and Member States to resist attempts to block this important step forward, and thus call into question our global commitment to fighting illicit financial flows and corporate tax abuse in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
* H.E. Thabo Mbeki is also the Chair of the Board of the South Centre.
Webinar: Exploring Linkages between Climate Change, International Investment and the Legally Binding Instrument on Business and Human Rights
27 September 2022
Time: 15:30 – 17:00 CEST
Facilitated by the South Centre, this webinar is an opportunity for participants representing developing country governments, civil society and academia to exchange views and discuss the linkages between Climate Change, International Investment reforms and the Legally Binding Instrument, and how to harness their common elements to recover better, build resilience against future crises and achieve the UN 2030 Agenda & the SDGs.
The Human Right to Science: From Fragmentation to Comprehensive Implementation?
By Peter Bille Larsen and Marjorie Pamintuan
In times when the role of science in society is more debated than ever in polarized, politicized and partial terms, what is the role for the human right to science and rights-based approaches? The right to science remains poorly understood and neglected in both national and global human rights processes. Beyond defending the freedom of scientific expression, upholding the right to science is arguably fundamental to resolving key sustainability challenges of our times from climate change and the biodiversity crisis to global health and pandemics. The global COVID-19 pandemic has revealed persistent global inequalities not least in terms of how the privatization of science and current intellectual property regimes hinder just and equitable responses to access science and its benefits. This prompts the need for a shift from single-issue approaches to comprehensive and systematic treatment of the right to science as a bundle of human rights across multiple arenas to counter fragmentation and silo-tendencies.