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 concept of Farmers’ Rights recognized the role of farmers as custodians of biodiversity and helped to draw attention to the need to preserve practices that are essential for sustainable agriculture. This paper examines one particular aspect of such rights, perhaps the most controversial. It deals with the component of farmers’ rights referring to the use, exchange and sale of farm-saved seeds. Although that concept was initially introduced in 1989 with the aim of balancing the rights of farmers as breeders and of commercial plant breeders, a specific reference to the rights relating to seeds was only introduced upon the conclusion of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in 2001.
Highlights of COP 22 in Marrakech 2016, including interpreting the Paris Agreement
A year after the historic Paris Agreement was adopted, the UN Climate Change Convention held its 22nd Conference of Parties in Marrakech in November 2016. The Paris Agreement has come into force, in record time, but as the COP22 showed, there are big differences on what Parties understand the Agreement to mean. (more…)
Gandhi, his writings and his words are as relevant as ever today as when he lived. This is the theme of the Sixth Gandhi Memorial Lecture presented by Gurdial Singh Nijar, a prominent Malaysian lawyer and former law professor, and organised by the Gandhi Memorial Trust, Malaysia. The text of the lecture, which was presented in Kuala Lumpur in October 2016, is published in this policy brief.
South Centre Statement to the 18th session of WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property
The following is the statement delivered on 31 October 2016 by the South Centre to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) at its eighteenth session. The Centre highlights the importance of the WIPO Development Agenda.
The two-way inter-linkages between gender equality and women’s empowerment and climate change are now well established: climate change impacts and how they are managed, including financing and capacity building support, can help to foster or hinder gender equality and women’s empowerment goals (women’s and men’s lives, livelihoods and well-being) and enhancing gender equality and women’s empowerment goals and processes can help in the successful achievement of climate goals and policies, at national, regional and global levels. (more…)
South Centre Statement to the WIPO Assemblies 2016
The statement highlights that the greatest challenge for developing countries and LDCs in the area of intellectual property (IP) is the proliferation of regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements that impose IP obligations, together with the coercive external political and economic pressure to restrain from making use of the flexibilities in the IP system.
The Declaration on the Right to Development, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1986 (as Document 41/128) is 30 years old. It is appropriate to celebrate this anniversary. For the right to development has had great resonance among people all over the world, including in developing and poor countries. Even the term itself “the right to development” carries a great sense and weight of meaning and of hope. (more…)
The Right to Development, Small Island Developing States and the SAMOA Pathway
In 2015, the United Nations community reached agreements on updating the financing for development mechanisms, Agenda 2030 and an updated climate change regime. The SAMOA pathway is an important resource and an input to these efforts. (more…)
The outcome of the Third International Financing for Development Conference held in Addis Ababa on 13-16 July 2015 exposes the waning state of multilateral development cooperation today. In the outcome, which was nevertheless grandly called the “Addis Ababa Action Agenda” (AAAA), there were no new commitments and no proposed actions that can properly be deemed responsive either to (1) the flimsy state of international financing today or (2) the financing requirements of the UN’s new development agenda based on the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). (more…)