Monday, May 26, 2008

South Centre participates in the African Group Retreat on WTO Doha Negotiations

Ms. Luisa Rodriguez and Mr. Darlan F. Marti participated in the WTO African Group Seminar on Agriculture and NAMA modalities from 23-25 May 2008. The two programme officers with the Trade for Development Programme of the South Centre participated as speakers at several of the sessions of this seminar.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

South Centre on Radio: Statement on "Digital Divide" and "Access to Knowledge"

On the occasion of the World Telecommunication Day, a statement was made by Dr. Xuan Li, Coordinator- Innovation and Access to Knowledge Progrmme, on "Digital Divide" and "Access to Knowledge".

The statement was dubbed in German and broadcasted on 16th May for the World Communications Day by the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation for one of their Radio programmes from 6:05pm to 6:30pm.

The digital stream of the programme is available from:

Policy Space and Conditionality: South Centre participates in 2nd OECD Annual Plenary on Global Forum on Development

Dr. Yash Tandon, Executive Director, South Centre addressed the Session on "Policy Space and Conditionality" at the 2nd OECD Annual Plenary on Global Forum on Development held today (2o May) in Paris. This year’s Annual Plenary of the OECD Global Forum on Development focuses on "Strengthening Country Ownership".

More information at:

South Centre in Media (AllAfrica/Africa Focus)- Africa: UN Conference on Trade and Development

The South Centre piece on UNCTAD XII appears at (AllAfrica/Africa Focus)....

AfricaFocus (Washington, DC). "Attempts to take matters outside of the United Nations (UN), such as at G7/8 meetings or at the World Economic Forum, have not been inclusive or democratic. The UN, with all its weaknesses, is still the only multilateral intergovernmental democratic institution the world has, and UNCTAD [United Nations Conference on Trade and Development] is part of that machinery.... Unfortunately, UNCTAD seems to have been further compromised in Accra." - Yash Tandon, Executive Director, South Centre.

South Centre in Media: Equitable Development- The Risks of Inaction

Here is the recent column piece from the South Centre appearing at the Inter Press Service.

MAY 2008 (IPS/South Centre) - There is much to celebrate in the growth and development of the South in recent years, from the ability of certain Latin American countries to avoid dependence on the North to the growth of the economies of certain Asian countries whose increasing sovereign wealth is now being tapped to bail out distressed banks in the North. While there are signs of growth in Africa too, the continent is worse off than the rest of the South, writes Yash Tandon, Executive Director of the South Centre.

Complete piece is available at:

FAO: Implementation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources

Dr. Xuan Li, Head - Innovation and Access to Knowledge, attended the first meeting of the Capacity Building Coordination Mechanism for the implementation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, held on 16 May 2008 in Bonn, Germany.

The meeting was aimed at establishing a platform of providers of capacity building on Treaty implementation. The platform will serve organizations involved in capacity building activities for the implementation of the Treaty as a central point for information exchange and coordination on capacity building initiatives around the world.

South Centre the only IGO Observer at the WCO/ SECURE Meeting

The World Customs Organization (WCO) held its Third Meeting of the Working Group on the Provisional Standards Employed by Customs for Uniform Rights Enforcement (SECURE) at its Headquarters in Brussels 24-25 April 2008. The meeting, largely driven by selected developed countries and private members, is an attempt to promote their TRIPS-Plus-Plus agenda on international border enforcement, i.e. voluntary international standards and best practice that exceed those established by the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), in the absence of the scrutiny of the international community.

The proposed SECURE under WCO, if adopted, will have far reaching consequences. Compared with the WTO TRIPS Agreement, the proposed SECURE standards on IP enforcement border measures represents a significant departure from TRIPS provisions in terms of scope and intensity of the border measures and member states obligations. The delicate balance under TRIPS would be broken, thus affecting the flexibilities contained in TRIPS. Compared with WIPO Development Agenda, the proposed SECURE standards tend to favor the right holders of IPRs, thus affecting the balance between the rights holders and other stakeholders, such as importers, manufacturers, consumers, for example in respect of generic pharmaceutical products, etc.

Dr. Xuan Li, Head of the Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme, South Centre, participated in the meeting. South Centre was the only intergovernmental organization of the developing countries present as an observer for the Meeting.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

South Centre hosts International Trade Policy Students from University of West Indies

South Centre hosted the International Trade Policy Students, Cohort 4, Academic Year 2007-8 from the University of West Indies on 13 May 2008 at its office.

The Coordinators of the South Centre programme areas briefed the students on the various activities of the Centre, its constituency and the impact they have had.

South Centre organizes Meeting on SECURE / World Customs Organization

The South Centre organises a working lunch for its member countries in view of certain developments on issues concerning intellectual property (IP) enforcement at the World Customs Organisation (WCO). The WCO is increasingly focussing on the formation of enhanced border measures, primarily supported by G8 countries. In this connection, the third meeting of the Working Group on the provisional Standards Employed by Customs for Uniform Rights Enforcement (SECURE) in Brussels from April 24 to 25, 2008.

The meeting called for by the Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme (IAKP) of the South Centre focused on the implications and possible strategies that developing countries must adopt in making their concerns properly addressed at the WCO. Dr. Xuan Li, Coordinator of the IAKP gave a presentation on the defects in both the process and contents in WCO SECURE draft provisions. According to Dr. Li, many provisions are TRIPS-Plus, which the developed countries were trying to push hard through the back door.

The member country delegates raised serious concerns over the choice of forum on IP enforcement related issues and strongly stated that such provisions in SECURE, and WCO as a forum to discuss IP enforcement, was totally unacceptable. The need for better coordination among and within developing countries was emphasised.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

South African ‘Oliver Tambo: Gold' Honour for South Centre Board Member Chief Emeka Anyaoku

Chief Emeka Anyaoku, the distinguished Board Member of the South Centre has been conferred with South Africa's highest national honour for non-South Africans, the Order of Supreme Companions of O.R. Tambo: Gold.

The honour was conferred on Chief Anyaoku by South African President Thabo Mbeki in on 22nd April 2008 in a special ceremony in Pretoria, South Africa.

South Centre and its staff members extend their heartfelt congratulations to Chief Anyaoku on this honour.

South Centre in Media: UNCTAD To Address Challenges Of Change In Africa

Quoted from ISD News-Ghana and Government of Ghana Portal:

UNCTADXII/Accra. The Executive Director of the South Centre, an Intergovernmental Organization of the Developing Countries based in Geneva, Dr Yash Tandon, has urged the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to direct its energies and future efforts towards addressing the obstacles to change in Africa.

He said “at the systemic level there are still many serious and formidable obstacles to change towards a more equitable and just world that needs urgent collective action by the global community” adding that “Africa looks more mired than the rest of the South in the quagmire of the past, but there are signs of growth in Africa too".

Dr Y. Tandon made this known in a statement dubbed "Towards National and Collective Self Reliance of the South" at the General Debate of ongoing UNCTAD-XII in Accra yesterday .

Complete quote can be read at:

South Centre in Media: Aid and charity is wrong for Africa

Quoted from Ghana News, Joy Online.

UNCTADXII/Accra. An International Economist has said “aid and charity are the wrong way towards addressing the systemic challenges and development issues in Africa.”

Dr. Yash Tandon, Executive Director of the Geneva based South Centre, an intergovernmental organisation of developing countries made the statement during the general debate at the conference.He, therefore, called on UNCTAD to lead the way in finding ways and means of exiting from aid dependence for countries in the South, especially Africa.

Dr Tandon noted that though there were areas of development in the South that gave reasons for celebration “we are still confronted with major challenges at the systemic level of the world economic order that hampered the development of the South despite so much aid from the North.”

Read the complete quote at:

ECOWAS Workshop on Sensitive Products in the EPA negotiations

Ms. Luisa Rodriguez, Programme Officer, South Centre participated in the workshop to assess the process of identification, by the West African Region, of Sensitive Products in the EPA negotiations organized by the ECOWAS Commission in Bamako, Mali from 28 to 30 April 2008.

The South Centre was invited to participate in this event because of its research experience on EPAs and because of its contribution to the process of identification of Sensitive products in previous events organized by the region.