The Global Digital Compact: opportunities and challenges for developing countries in a fragmented digital space
By Carlos Correa, Danish, Vitor Ido, Jacquelene Mwangi and Daniel Uribe
The adoption of a Global Digital Compact (GDC) as one of the outcomes of the Summit of the Future opens up the opportunity to address in a systematic manner issues that are of critical importance for the digital global governance. It also poses a challenge to developing countries, as most of them lack the infrastructure and capabilities to fully participate in the digital transformation. Many inequalities, including a deep digital divide, do exist and would need to be addressed by the GDC for it to become a real instrument of change and improvement in the living conditions and the prospects of a better future for most of the world population. This paper examines the current fragmentation in the digital governance and some of the issues raised by the proposals made by the UN Secretary-General for adoption of the GDC.
Statement by the South Centre on the Historic UN Resolution Calling for a UN Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation
23 November 2023
The South Centre strongly welcomes the adoption on 22 November 2023 of the historic resolution in the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly on the “Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations”. The resolution calls for establishing a “Member State-led, open-ended ad hoc intergovernmental committee for the purpose of drafting terms of reference for a United Nations framework convention on international tax cooperation” and is arguably the most significant development in international taxation in the modern era. The South Centre has been actively engaged in supporting these negotiations, in partnership with various institutions from the Global South and allies from the Global North, and commends the African Group in the UN in New York for their leadership of the developing world in steering through this momentous resolution.
By Sol Picciotto, Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, Alex Cobham, Rasmi Ranjan Das, Emmanuel Eze, Bob Michel
This paper puts forward an alternative to the proposed multilateral convention under Pillar One of the BEPS project, by building on and going beyond the progress made so far. A new direction was signalled in 2019 by the G-24 paper proposing a taxable nexus based on significant economic presence, combined with fractional apportionment. The resulting measures agreed under the two Pillars entail acceptance in principle of this approach, and also provide detailed technical standards for its implementation. These include: (i) a taxable nexus based on a quantitative threshold of sales revenues; (ii) a methodology for defining the global consolidated profits of MNEs for tax purposes, and (iii) detailed technical standards for defining and quantifying the factors that reflect the real activities of MNEs in a jurisdiction (sales, assets and employees).
The time is now right to take up the roadmap outlined by the G-24. The work done shows that technical obstacles can be overcome, the challenge is essentially political. This paper aims to provide a blueprint for immediate measures that States can take, while engaging in deliberation at national, regional and international levels for a global drive towards practical and equitable reforms. Unitary taxation with formulary apportionment is the only fair and effective way to ensure taxation of MNEs where economic activities occur, as mandated by the G20. It can ensure that MNE profits are taxed once and only once, provide stability and certainty for business, and establish a basis for international tax rules fit for the 21st century.
* Also available in French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic.
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.
Least Developed Countries and Their Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals
By Peter Lunenborg
This Research Paper reviews Least Developed Countries’ (LDCs) collective progress on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), based on the available data on the indicators for the 169 SDG targets. It makes recommendations for LDCs and other States to consider advancing in relevant UN processes as well as the WTO’s.
LDCs made progress on 28% of the SDGs. This collective progress shows that these countries are far from achieving what were deemed achievable goals in 2015. With respect to trade-related SDGs, LDCs have not made progress on any of the five trade-related SDGs that mention LDCs specifically.
This paper does not delve into the causes of this gap, but it suggests that international cooperation and, particularly, the developed countries’ assistance, has been insufficient to address the needs of a large part of the world population that still lives in poverty and without hope of a better future. However, the Doha Programme of Action (DPoA), a development framework with targets specifically for LDCs -which overlap with SDG targets- appears to dilute several original SDG targets, in particular those in SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
Multistakeholderism and UN 2.0: Challenges and Alternatives for Developing Countries
7 September 2023 | 10:00 – 11:30 EDT
Co-organized By the South Centre and the Transnational Institute
Co-sponsored by Corporate Accountability and ESCR NET, Peoples´ Working Group on Multistakeholderism
This Public Workshop will discuss the findings of a new report commissioned jointly by South Centre and The Transnational Institute (TNI) and elaborated by Prof. Harris Gleckman on the idea of the increasing role of ‘multistakeholderism’ in making key policy and programmatic decisions in the context of the United Nations and other fora. The workshop will also serve as an opportunity to discuss the recommendations on how to deal with multistakeholderism and its risks for global governance and the participation of developing countries.
This event is designed as an open forum to foster dialogue and share views among representatives of the Group of 77 and China, particularly those based in Geneva and New York, and civil society organizations.
Reinvigorating the Non-Aligned Movement for the Post-COVID-19 Era
By Yuefen Li, Daniel Uribe and Danish
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was born out of the need felt by newly emerging post-colonial nations not to be compelled to be part of any single political or military bloc during the Cold War. As the international community finds itself once again in the midst of heightened geo-political tensions, the principles of non-alignment have seen a resurgence in the Global South, providing NAM with the potential to become a major force in the configuration of a new international order.
Over six decades after its inception, the NAM stands at a crucial juncture, where consolidating non-alignment among developing countries can help build solidarity, promote collaboration and defend the interest of developing countries in the reconfiguration of global governance. Dealing with these challenges requires unprecedented levels of international cooperation, both North-South and South-South. As the grouping of non-aligned countries, the NAM could play an important role against global fragmentation, build solidarity, and strengthen multilateralism.
This paper therefore looks at the role and position of the NAM at this time, and how it can be reinvigorated to address the most critical challenges facing its Member States and other developing countries today. Considering the history, evolution and important achievements of the NAM, the paper provides some proposals that can support NAM Member States in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and make progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
South Centre Statement to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ministerial Meeting
July 5-6, 2023
The South Centre supports developing countries with policy-oriented research, advice on international negotiations and capacity building. Since its inception, the South Centre has maintained a close relationship with NAM. We are strong supporters of its principles, appreciate its achievements, and believe in the central role that NAM can play in reforming the multilateral system.
The South Centre will continue to work with NAM and its member countries to support them in their efforts to shape a fairer multilateral system that is responsive to the needs of the Global South.