Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lecture on "Developing countries in the multilateral trading system and the concept of Special and Differential Treatment"

Darlan F Martí, of the Trade for Development Programme, delivered a lecture at the University of Grenoble on "Developing countries in the multilateral trading system and the concept of Special and Differential Treatment". The lecture was attended by students of the Master on Globalisation and International Economy.

Working Lunch on WIPO Development Agenda

The Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme (IAKP) of the South Centre today organized a working lunch on the WIPO Development Agenda which was attended by over 25 delegates from Geneva and the Capitals.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Twelfth Session of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions (IGC)

In light of the renewal of the mandate of the Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions (IGC) for a two year period, it is timely for developing countries to reflect on what has been achieved in the seven years of the IGC and to collective consider the following:

1) how to advance the international dimension of the work of the IGC, and
2) define the expected outcomes of the work of the IGC in addressing the international dimension

The Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme (IAKP) of the South Centre will be participating in the Twelfth Session of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions (IGC) being held in Geneva from 25 - 29 February 2008.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

South Centre participates in deliberations of the African Group for upcoming UNCTAD XII

On 22 February, the South Centre contributed to the deliberations of the African Group on the preparatory phase for UNCTAD XII.

Mr. Vicente Paolo Yu, Coordinator of the Global Governance for Development Programme and Mr. Ermias Biadgleng, Program Officer for the Innovation & Access to Knowledge Program at the South Centre were present for this meeting held in Montreux, Switzerland.

Mr. Biadgleng elucidated on the channels of technology transfer and the link between foreign direct investment (FDI) flows and accumulation and reproduction of knowledge. He cautioned that capacity building in the South will not occur unless there was a government support for training and skills acquirement. It also required foreign companies setting up businesses in Africa to start relying more on employees from the local populations rather than bring in their own managerial staff.

The presentation delivered by Mr. Vicente Yu focused on the disastrous effects of Climate Change and its impact on Africa. According to Mr. Yu, despite negligible contribution of African countries to the global carbon emissions they will have to bear a heavy cost resulting from decrease in agricultural output and the associated loss in employment, compounded by their lack of capacity and financial resources to adapt to climate change.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

South Centre participates in retreat of African Negotiators

South Centre trade experts participated to a retreat of African negotiators regarding the WTO Agricultural and Industrial trade negotiations. The retreat was held on 16 and 17 February 2008 and was convened by Côte d'Ivoire on behalf of the African Group. It provided negotiators with an opportunity to discuss the revised draft modalities for Agriculture and NAMA presented on 8 February 2008.

Luisa A. Rodriguez, Programme Officer for Agricultural goods, and Darlan F. Martí, Programme Officer for Industrial trade, assisted negotiators in better understanding some of the technical elements in the draft modalities texts, contributing to enhancing African negotiators positions in the various topics covered in the modalities texts.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Third South Intellectual Platform (SIP) Retreat Convenes

The third South Intellectual Platform (SIP) Retreat was organized at the Chateau de Bossey - Ecunemical Institute, Switzerland on 17 Feburary 2008. The Retreat provided an opportunity for the Chairperson, the Board Members of the South Centre, and some of invited guests to brainstorm on issues of relevance to the South. Discussions focused on new and re-emerging challenges for the South; the changing dynamics of South-South cooperation - including how to balance the interests of small and big economies; engaging media, NGOs and private sector from the South; and on emergence of South Centre as a knowledge centre.


All the sessions were chaired by Mr. Benjamin Mkapa, the former President of Tanzania and the Chairperson of the South Centre and by Professor Norman Girvan.

The South Intellectual Platform (SIP) is an initiative of the South Centre to reflect on the new issues and challenges for the South which have emerged since the work of the South Commission over 15 years earlier. The first SIP workshop was held on 10-11 July 2006.

South Centre in Media: Implications of the Economic Partnership Agreement

A reference to the South Centre appears in the Jamaica Gleaner in article "Implications of the Economic Partnership Agreement" appearing on January 25, 2008 authored by Guest Commentator, Professor Norman Girvan.

It quotes:

Development assistance in specified forms, quantities, and time-frames is not included in the EPA. If additional investment and development assistance are not forthcoming, there is no provision within the EPA for the promised beneficiaries to be released from their obligations.
This issue may be illustrated with regard to the EPA chapter on innovation and intellectual property. A comment prepared at my request by a team of experts at the South Centre observes that:
"Chapter 2 of Title IV of the draft EPA text covers issues linked with key aspects of socio-economic development of the Cariforum states. One can easily assess the different levels of engagement of the parties under Section 1 and Section 2. Section 1 largely provides for non-binding commitment, declaratory statements, and matters that will be defined during implementation. Section 2 largely establishes binding TRIPS-plus standards that should be implemented by the parties. If Section 1 is assumed to be of interest for Cariforum, then what they are getting from the EPA will be largely promises that may face the inherent difficulty of determining their scope and the kind of measures that can be considered as adequate implementation of the commitments. The implementation of Section 2 is straightforward, involving the introduction of domestic laws to implement the section that can be easily verified and assessed."


For more information:
http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20080125/business/business8.html

South Centre in Media: IPR Enforcement at Meeting in Dubai

Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme (IAKP), South Centre organized an event parallel to the "Fourth Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy" in Dubai. The views shared by Dr. Xuan Li, Coordinator of the IAKP are quoted in the ICTSD reporting as following:

In contrast, an event organised by the South Centre on the sidelines of the Dubai meeting highlighted TRIPS flexibilities on the enforcement of IPRs and called for maintaining “legitimate balances” between the rights of intellectual property holders and the public interest.

“Currently there exist a lot of misunderstandings that confuse the public in terms of concepts, definitions and obligations of the enforcement of IPRs and the combating of counterfeiting goods and piracy,” said Xuan Li, coordinator of innovation and access to knowledge at the South Centre.

See: http://www.ictsd.org/weekly/08-02-13/inbrief.htm

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Chairman Mkapa and Board of the South Centre issue a Press Release

The governing Board of the South Centre completed its meeting in Geneva today. The South Centre is the think-tank of the developing countries, G-77 and China, on global strategic and development issues.

The Board is chaired by Mr. Benjamin W. Mkapa, the former President of Tanzania and members include Professor Norman Girvan (former Secretary- General of the Association of Caribbean States, Jamaica), Chief Emeka Anyaoku (former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Nigeria), Professor Deepak Nayyar (former Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India and former Vice Chancellor of University of Delhi, India), Mr. Li Zhaoxing (former Minister of Foreign Affairs, China), Professor José Antonio Ocampo (former UN Under-Secretary General, Colombia), Mr. Al Zalzalah (former Minister of Commerce, Kuwait), and Mr. Bagher Asadi (former Ambassador of Iran to the UN, Iran).

The Board reviewed the past performance, present activities and future challenges of the institution, and believes that the Centre has made excellent progress in its work programmes and in particular Trade for Development, Innovation and Access to Knowledge and Global Governance for Development, supported by its strengthened outreach activities. For more details, see http://www.southcentre.org/

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ninth Meeting of the Council of Representatives takes place in Geneva

The Ninth Meeting of the Council of Representatives took place today in Room XXV, Palais des Nations, Geneva. The Meeting was well attended by the member countries of the South Centre.

Ninth Meeting of the Council of Representatives of South Centre to convene in Geneva today

The Ninth Meeting of the Council of Representatives of South Centre will convene in Geneva today (15 February 2008). The meeting of the Council follows the Twentieth meeting of the Members of the Board of the South Centre .

Board Members of South Centre convene for the Twentieth Meeting of the Board

The Twentieth Meeting of the Board of the South Centre is being held in Geneva from 14 to 16 February 2008 under the Chairmanship of Mr. Benjamin W. Mkapa, the former President of Tanzania and the Chairperson of the Board of the South Centre. Two new members were welcomed into the Board, Mr. Yousef Al ZALZALAH (Kuwait) and Mr. Li ZHAOXING (China).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

South Centre @Connexion 08, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), Geneva

South Centre was invited to present its activities at the annual career forum, Connexion 08, of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), in Geneva.

Darlan Fonseca-Martí from the Trade for Development Programme briefed over 40 students present during the session on South Centre and its programme activities. He also informed them of the various internship activities available for young professionals within different programmes of the South Centre.

Interestingly, some of the current and former interns of the South Centre also participated in the session, so that prospective interns could get first hand information on the work environment and responsibilities given to the interns.

Conditions and information on how to apply to South Centre internships can be found at: http://www.southcentre.org/WorkOpportunities/newworkopportunitiesindex.htm

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

South Centre TV: Interview with the new Chairman of G-77 Chapter in Geneva

On 12 February 2008, Ambassador Chitsaka Chipaziwa of Zimbabwe assumed the Chairmanship of the Geneva Chapter of the Group of 77 from Honduras at an official ceremony at Palais des Nations, Geneva.

The South Centre TV captured the first interview given by the new Chairman on the challenges he sees ahead for the G-77 and the role of South Centre. The interview was conducted by Mr. Vice Yu, Head, Global Governance for Development Programme, South Centre.

video

This interview is also available at YouTube.com at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okCrd3sckfg and at http://blip.tv/file/664666

South Centre in Media: EU Sugar Reform a Bitter Pill for Poorer Producers

This piece written by David Kleimann while working at the South Centre appears in the IPS Columnist Service.

(IPS/South Centre) - For more than three decades, the European Union has maintained an extremely costly supply management scheme for its domestic sugar market which insulates domestic producers from international market forces with price supports and tariffs and has resulted in domestic prices triple world market prices and a major production surplus. At the same time, the EU has granted duty free market access for guaranteed quantities to some of its former colonies at guaranteed prices, writes David Kleimann, a German expert on international law and international relations.

In February 2006, the EU adopted a radical reform programme of its sugar regime which is having severe effects. Some ACP high-cost producers are very likely to cease production because of the price reductions, while others will face a sharp reduction in their export earnings, and only a small group of competitive LDCSs will be able to comfortably continue to supply the EU market after the price reductions have been implemented and the preferences terminated. The EU has the moral and legal obligation to provide the small and vulnerable ACP economies with market access for sugar that is worth no less than the previous trade arrangement and that continues to contribute to the realisation of their economic development and poverty reduction.

South Centre: Handover Ceremony of Chairmanship of G-77 and China in Geneva

Ambassador Delmer Urbizo of Honduras today (12 February) handed over the Chairmanship of Group of 77 to Zimbabwe at an official ceremony in Palais des Nations, Geneva. Ambassador Chitsaka Chipaziwa of Zimbabwe has been elected as the new Chairman of the Group in Geneva.

Dr. Yash Tandon, Executive Director, South Centre, spoke on the behalf of Mr. Benjamin Mkapa, Chairperson of the South Centre during the event.

Dr. Tandon reminded the audience that we are living through exciting but challenging times, and there is a need for more and not less South-South cooperation to deal with the challenges ahead. Some of the challenges the South has to face include in the area of energy, finance, trade, climate change, on intellectual property rights and on access to knowledge. South Centre will continue to work on these issues to providing timely assistance to developing countries.

After formally accepting the chairmanship of the Group of 77, Ambassador Chipaziwa provided a short commentary for the South Centre TV on the challenges ahead for the Group of 77.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Government officials from African countries visit South Centre

Government officials from African countries participating to AITIC's capacity building Official Fellowship Programme were recieved by Darlan Fonseca-Martí, of the Trade for Development Programme of the South Centre, on 7 February for an informal briefing about the WTO Doha negotiations. The group had an opportunity to discuss issues of their interest related to Agriculture, NAMA and Services negotiations. In addition, the group was presented with an overview of the Centre's trade-related capacity building activities.

Working Lunch on Trade Facilitation

South Centre organized a working lunch meeting on trade facilitation for Missions of Developing Countries in Geneva on 6 February 2008. Vice Yu, Coordinator of the Global Governance for Development Programme, South Centre conducted the meeting.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

South Centre in Media: More Balance Needed In IP And Trade; Disclosure May Not Be Enough

The current patent system has been seen as the primary enabling mechanism for biopiracy, the misappropriation of genetic resources, said panellist Xuan Li, Coordinator of the innovation and access to knowledge programme at the intergovernmental South Centre. The World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) also has allowed the misappropriation of genetic resources, she said.

Li made the remarks at a 24 January event organised by the South Centre and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), held alongside a weeklong meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) working group on access and benefit sharing (ABS). A Chinese official on the panel also raised these concerns and said that TRIPS is sometimes unbalanced and privileges the holder of IP.

Source: IP-Watch, 29 January 2008. http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/index.php?p=898

Read the South FACE from the event at: http://www.southcentre.org/southface/South_Face_IAKP-CBD-Jan-2008.pdf and watch the Digital Videos at: http://southcentre.blip.tv/

Watch Digital TV on "Disclosure of Origin at the CBD, WIPO and the WTO: Conflict, Coherence or Complementarity?"

The presentations made at the South Centre event on "Disclosure of Origin at the CBD, WIPO and the WTO: Conflict, Coherence or Complementarity?" have now been captured on the South Centre Digital TV.





For rest of the presentations, go to: http://southcentre.blip.tv

Monday, February 4, 2008

South Centre Participates in Prince Mahidol Award Conference 2008

Ermias Tekeste Biadgleng, Programme Officer, Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme participated in the Prince Mahidol Award Conference 2008 held in Bangkok, Thailand from 30 January - 1 February 2008. The theme of this year conference was "Three Decades of Primary Health Care: Reviewing the Past and Defining the Future."

Development Cooperation 2.0: ICT mainstreaming into International Cooperation

Vikas Nath, Head - Media and Communication spoke at the plenary on emerging opportunities and challenges in ICT mainstreaming into International Cooperation at the "Development Cooperation 2.0" event held in Astruias, Spain on 30- 31 January 2008.

The event was first ICT International Meeting for Development Cooperation organized by the Spanish Development Agency (AECID) which brough together governments, social bodies and business organisations to discuss and exchange experiences and knowledge on ICT with a clear aim: to bridge the digital divide, promoting social integration and improving methods and practices for development cooperation through the use of ICTs.

Annual planning and strategy meeting for Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme

The Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme (IAKP), South Centre held its annual planning and strategy meeting on 29 January in Geneva. The objective was to provide developing country delegations with an opportunity to review the work undertaken at the WTO Council for TRIPS and related processes and selected processes at the WIPO.

The year 2007 was characterised by the active participation of developing countries in several processes, most crucially, the WIPO Development Agenda. The meeting aimed at providing assistance to developing country negotiators in the WTO TRIPS Council, WIPO and WHO IGWG to strategize and coordinate on the basis of a coherent plan for action in 2008.