Tuesday, March 10, 2009

South Centre briefs senior developing country officials from trade and commerce ministry

Mr. Offah Obale and Ms. Wase Musonge today briefed around 12 senior officials from trade and commerce ministries from several developing countries to acquaint them with complex multilateral trade workings. These senior officials were visiting the South Centre as a part of AITIC’s capacity-building programmes, namely the Official Fellowship and Professional Training Programme.

Mr. Offah provided them with an overview of the South Centre activities, including those related to trade for development programme, namely WTO and EPA negotiations. This was complemented by Ms. Musonge who touched upon several other issues including regional issues concerning trade, migration and employment.

Over the years, this briefing has emerged as a joint collaboration between the South Centre and AITIC.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

EPA General Exceptions undermine WTO negotiations on commodities

Peter Lunenborg, Trade for Development Programme, South Centre, has his piece "EPA General Exceptions undermine WTO negotiations on commodities" published in the Trade Negotiations Insights. Volume 8, Number 2, March 2009.

The article is available from: http://ictsd.net/i/news/tni/42025/

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

South Centre organises workshop on EPAs in Angola

The Trade for Development Programme, South Centre is organising a workshop on EPAs on 4 -5 March 2009 in collaboration with Ministry of Trade, Angola. The resource person include Ms. Aileen Kwa, Coordinator, and Mr. Offah Obale, Programme Officer, Trade for Development Programme. The keynote address is to be delivered by Minister of Trade, Angola.

More information at: http://www.southcentre.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=974&Itemid=77

Working Lunch Meeting with WTO Delegates

The Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme (IAKP) , South Centre organised a working lunch meeting for the WTO delegates on 27 February 2009

The objective of this meeting was for developing country delegates to discuss and prepare for the upcoming meetings of the TRIPS Council on 3-4 March (regular session) and 5 March (special session).

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dr. Devaki Jain, Member of erstwhile South Commission visits South Centre

Dr. Devaki Jain, Member of the erstwhile South Commission today visited the South Centre to get briefed on the activities being taken up the South Centre and to share her experiences and insights from the South Commission period.

Apart from meeting some of the staff Members, she also met with Mr. Martin Khor, the Executive Director of the South Centre to exchange views on a range of issues, including on financial crisis, human rights and on strengthening the intellectual network withinn the South.

2nd March: Mr. Martin Khor joins as the new Executive Director of the South Centre

2 March: Today, Mr. Martin Khor spent his first day in the office as the Executive Director of the South Centre. He was given a warm welcome by all the staff members who introduced themselves and wished him well in his new role. Mr. Khor also took this opportunity to brief all the staff members on his vision and the role he sees for the South Centre, and the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Prior to joining South Centre, Mr. Khor served as the Director of the Third World Network, a leading developing-country civil society organization involved in research and publications in trade, environment and development issues. He is the editor of the South-North Development Monitor (SUNS) and a member of the United Nations Committee on Development Policy.

Mr. Khor replaces Dr. Yash Tandon who successfully completed his term as the Executive Director of the Centre from 1 March 2005 to 28 February 2009.

South Centre @ African Information Ethics Workshop, Pretoria

Vikas Nath, Head - Media and Communications, South Centre delivered the plenary address at the workshop on African Information Ethics and E-Governance, organised by the Government of South Africa and UNESCO in Pretoria, South Africa from 23 -27 February 2009.

The presentation delivered briefed the audience on case-studies picked out from several developing countries.

South Centre @ UNCTAD-ICTSD workshop on WTO US -China Panel Report - Geneva, 23 February 2009

Dr. Xuan Li, Coordinator, Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme of the South Centre, made a presentation on "US-China case: Implications for the protection and enforcement of IPRs in China" at UNCTAD-ICTSD workshop on WTO US -China Panel Report, Geneva, 23 February 2009.

Her presentation can be downloaded from here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

South Centre Cautions African Countries when Approaching Economic Partnership Agreements

The way EPA has been conceived, based on the requirement for reciprocal market opening with the European Union (EU), is likely to bring more losses than gains for Africa. The gains are not much, as the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which make up 34 out of 47 African countries negotiating the EPAs, can avail of the Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential scheme of the EU. And the value of the preferences African countries will reap from an EPA will essentially become nil in about 5 to 10 years. It is of vital importance for developing and the least developed countries, that the options for industrialisation for future generations are not foreclosed.

Read the press release at:


South Centre @ CONNEXION: The Career Forum

Ms. Xuan Zhang and Mr. Ranson Lekunze from South Centre represented the organisation at the "Connexion" in Geneva on 12 February 2009.

Connexion is a career forum organised by the Graduate Institute largely for its students and alumni. South Centre used this opportunity to give a presentation about the South Centre and to brief several students who were interested in internship and other work opportunities with the South Centre.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Newly elected Chair of the G77 and China in New York visits South Centre

H.E. Mr. Lumumba Stanislaus-Kaw Di-Aping, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Sudan to the UN in New York visited South Centre to meet the Chairperson, Executive Director and the Staff members.

Sudan has been newly elected as the Chair of G77 and China in New York for 2009 and Ambassador Stanislaus-Kaw Di-Aping will have the responsibility of coordinating the G77 and China positions and acting as the spokesperson on several issues.

Ambassador Stanislaus-Kaw Di-Aping, also participated in the fifth South Intellectual Platform Meeting organised by the South Centre on 7th February where he shared his reflections on the challenges ahead for the G77 and China in 2009 and called for greater cooperation and advisory role of the South Centre to the G77 Chair in New York for 2009.

Fifth South Intellectual Platform Meeting

The fifth South Intellectual Platform (SIP) meeting was held on 7th February 2009 at Chateau de Bossey. Almost 40 colleagues participated in the meeting.

The full-day SIP meeting was chaired by H.E Mr. Benjamin W. Mkapa, President of Tanzania (1995-2005) who is also the Chairman of the South Centre. President Mkapa provided an overview of the global situation and prospects, and what it means for the developing countries. Dr. Yash Tandon, Executive Director, South Centre presented the reflections coming out of the previous SIP meetings.

Professor Norman gave a presentation on "Cuba: The Debt is Unpayable" based on the speech he delivered in Cuba on the receipt of the degree of Doctor of Economic Sciences, Honoris Causa, at the Great Hall of the University of Havana on 3 December 2008. This was followed by remarks byMr. Jorge Ferrer Rodríguez, Minister Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Cuba to UN in Geneva.

The first session was on "Did South Show Leadership in 2008?" where reflections were made by Chief Emeka Anyaoku (on US Presidential Election), followed by Mr. Bagher Asadi (on Climate Change) and Ambassador Kwabena Baah-Duodu of Ghana (on the Ghanian Election and what good governance means for the South).

The second session was on "Where Should South Show Leadership in 2009?" where reflections were shared by Mr. Yilmaz Akuyz and Mr. Deepak Nayyar (on financial crisis and how the South will be impacted). Mr. Rashid Bawja from Pakistan shared his views on poverty alleviation in South Asia. Mr. Martin Khor provided an overview of the new and ongoing challenges the South is facing including those related to trade and financial crisis.

The third session was on "South South Cooperation or Competition". Reflections were shared by Ms. Leticia Ramos Shahani (on migration and national development issues) and Ambassador Mr. Lumumba Stanislaus-Kaw Di-Aping of Sudan and the current Chair of G77 and China in New York (on the role of G77 and China, and the challenges ahead for it in 2009).

The Fifth South Intellectual Platform ended with vote of thanks by the Chairman on the stewardship of Dr. Yash Tandon as the current Executive Director of the South Centre and the work and dedication of all the South Centre staff. Mr. Martin Khor was welcomed as the new Executive Director of the South Centre from 1 March 2009 onwards.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Working Lunch on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)

The Trade for Development Programme organised an information exchange and brainstorming meeting on the ongoing EU - ACP EPA negotiations today (5 February) at the South Centre.

The meeting provided an update on where African countries and their sub regions are in the EPA/FTA negotiations; how the processes will unfold in the coming months and how the Centre can better support them.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Aileen Kwa, Coordinator, Trade for Development Programme, South Centre.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

South Centre and BaKaForum 2009

Dr. Yash Tandon, Executive Director, South Centre was one of the keynote speakers at the Basel-Karlsruhe Forum (BakaForum) 2009 on 30th January 2009 at the Basel University. Other keynote speakers included, Vandana Shiva, Klaus Leisinger and Thomas Stocker.

Monday, February 2, 2009

South Centre participates in European Patent Office organised worskhop

Nirmalya Syam, Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme (IAKP), South Centre participated in a Workshop organized by the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich, Germany from 29-30 January 2009.

The workshop discussed various strategies through which the European Patent Office can interact meaningfully with stakeholders in the civil society with the objective of ensuring a balance between representation of interests of users of the patents system and other stakeholders in the patents system. The discussions were based on four possible scenarios for the future and the role of the EPO in those contexts. Participants were divided into 5 working groups to discuss strategise on the future role of the EPO in these contexts.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

South Centre in BBC Documentary "Beyond A Dollar A Day"

Dr. Yash Tandon, Executive Director, South Centre attended the preview of the BBC documentary "Beyond A Dollar A Day" which includes his short interview on the issue of aid and development.

The preview took place in Zurich and was attended by almost 500 people and was followed by a panel dicussion which included Martin Dahinden, Director-General, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; Hernando de Soto, Director, Institute for Liberty and Democracy, and Yash Tandon and David Syz, the producer of the film.

Despite massive flows of aid over the last 50 years, poverty remains endemic. More than a billion people live on less than a dollar a day. If poor countries are to generate their own wealth, the entrepreneurial spirit of all of the people needs to be unleashed. 'Beyond a Dollar a Day' travels to three countries - Peru, Mozambique and Pakistan – to meet a range of entrepreneurs to discover how far their work is helping to reduce poverty.

The documentary will be casted on BBC World News at: 1410 GMT on Saturday 31st January Repeated: Sunday 1st February 0810 and 1810 GMT, Monday 2nd February at 0210 GMT. http://www.bbcworldnews.com/Pages/Programme.aspx?id=249

South Centre participates in Science and Commons World Forum

Ms. Viviana Munoz Tellez, Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme (IAKP), South Centre participated this week at the first World Forum on Science and Democracy, held in Belém, Brazil from 26-27 of January 2009. The Forum is created as a space aimed to extend democratic principles to the fields of science and technology, and to support new initiatives and new forms of partnerships between social movements, citizens and the world of scientific and technological research. The Forum is linked to the annual World Social Forum that took place in Belém from 27 January to 1 February 2009. Viviana participated in the panel on "Access to Knowledge: Building the Commons", and spoke on the topic of Traditional Knowledge and the Commons. The full programe of the forum is available at http://fm-sciences.org/

EPA scenario building workshop for West African countries

Ms. Wase Musonge, Trade for Development Programme, South Centre participated in the EPA scenario building workshop for West African countries organised by the
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in Benin from 19 -23 January 2009. Almost 30 participants attended the training programme.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Training on EPAs/ FTAs for Developing Country Negotiators in Brussels

On 4 -5 December 2008, the Trade for Development Programme of the South Centre organised a training programme on EPAs/ FTAs for Developing Country Negotiators in Brussels.

Over 30 colleagues from different regions participated in this programme. The purpose of this meeting was to bring a small group of like minded countries together to discuss key issues that these countries are likely to agree on. The intention is that these countries will then be able to strengthen each other in their respective negotiations by presenting the same arguments to the EU in their FTA negotiations. It is also hoped that these countries will be able to encourage other countries within their regions to take more progressive positions in the FTA negotiations.

Some of the issues covered included Market Access Issues – Agriculture and Industrial Products; Services and Investment Liberalisation: What has been proposed and what are the development challenges?; Intellectual Property – Going Beyond TRIPS: What Implications?; Competition Provisions and Trade Agreements; and Government Procurement and Trade Agreements among others.

Friday, January 16, 2009

South Centre @ Poznan Climate Conference

South Centre participated as an Observor at the UN Climate Conference held in Poznan, Poland from 1 -14 December 2009.

During the Conference, South Centre provided negotiations assistance and research support to the G77 and China and also participated as an Observor in the various meetings. Vice Yu, Coordinator, Global Governance for Development Programme and Vikas Nath, Head (Media and Communications) represented the South Centre to this Event.

Is there any Development Agenda left in the Doha Development Round?

On 5 December, the South Centre organised an invitation-only brainstorming discussion on the Development content of the Doha Round at the World Trade Organisation.

Leading the discussions were H.E. Mme Maria Nzomo, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Kenya to the WTO and Dr. Yash Tandon, Executive Director, South Centre.
Some of questions of interest to developing countries were taken up during the presentations and subsequent discussions, namely: Is the idea of liberalization as the golden bullet to development still valid?, Is the Doha Round simply about technical coefficients and numbers or are there broader development issues at stake? Are the processes of the proposed mini-Ministerial democratic and transparent?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

South Centre Networks at Financing for Development Conference, Doha

Some snapshots of South Centre Networks at the Financing for Development Conference in Doha (28 October - 2 November 2008).

Yash Tandon, Executive Director with H.E Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania.

With H.E Mr.E. Ahamad Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, India

With H.E Pedro Páez Pérez, Minister of Economic Policy Coordination, Republic of Ecuador.

With Mr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union.

South Centre @ FFD Doha 2008 - Climate Change and Development – How to Mobilize, Transfer and Use Innovative Funding

Dr. Yash Tandon, Executive Director, South Centre was a Panelist for the side event "Climate Change and Development – How to Mobilize, Transfer and Use Innovative Funding", organised by European Commission, Governments of Germany and Sweden on 1 Dec. 2008, 1:15 - 2:45 pm.

Other panel members included, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany (Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development), Louis Michel, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, European Union, and Margareta Wahlström, Member of the Swedish Commission on Climate Change and Development.

Watch the intervention made by Yash Tandon below:

Financing for Development, Doha: Time for Change: Building a New Global Economic Architecture

South Centre was represented by Yash Tandon, the Executive Director and Vikas Nath, Head - Media and Communications at the Financing for Development Conference held in Doha, Qatar from 29 November - 2 December 2008.

Time for Change: Building a New Global Economic Architecture

This South Centre organised side event was held on 30 November and was attended by over 60 participants. The panelists included Mr. Pedro Páez Pérez, Minister for Economic Policy Coordination of Ecuador and President of the Ecuadorian Presidential Commission for the New Regional Financial Architecture-Banco del Sur, and Mr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Research Director, Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four (G-24) along with Dr. Yash Tandon.

The financial crisis which started with the US and then got “globalised” through inter-bank collaterised securities is not a product of “severe market disruption but endemic to the present system of capitalism, as part of its inner logic.

It is imperative that the South decouples itself from the crisis-prone institutions of the North and looks towards other alternative solutions than those provided by the existing global economic architecture.

Cuba: The Debt is Unpayable

On 3 December 2008, Professor Norman Girvan (Board Member of the South Centre), a former economic adviser to the late Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley, one of the founders of the Association of Caribbean Economists and later a former secretary-general of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), was the recipient of an honorary degree of Doctor of Economic Sciences from the University of Havana.

There have been three recipients of honorary doctorates from the University of Havana since Eric Williams - the historian and first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago - became the first to have been so honoured back in 1975. The others were the Jamaican scholar Keith Ellis (1999); the noted political novelist and commentator George Lamming (2007) and followed by Professor Girvan.

Click here to read the remarks (The Debt is Unpayable) made by Professor Girvan at the Great Hall of the University of Havana on receipt of the degree of Doctor of Economic Sciences, Honoris Causa.