Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Commentary: Linking Climate Change Policy with Development

Vice Yu, Head of Global Governance for Development Programme (GGDP), South Centre and the inhouse Climate Change Expert speaks at a side-event Development and Climate Change: Managing Risks, Realizing Opportunities" to the UN ECOSOC Session in Geneva on 13 July 2007 on how climate change is a sustainable development issue.

Click here to listen to his commentary on how climate change issue has to be viewed from the perspective of common but differentiated responsibilities between North and South. And it requires multilateral cooperation on development financing, debt relief, humanitarian assistance, disaster and risk prevention and mitigation, and technology transfers. Equally required is a supportive and enabling international economic policy architecture to address the specific climate change concerns of SIDS’ and LDCs’ as an urgent global priority.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Commentary: Scenarios in the Doha Round

Luisa Bernal, Head of Trade for Development Programme, South Centre provides a commentary on the various possible scenarios of the WTO Doha Round. This commentary was given at the informal meeting of NGOs organized by South Centre in the Julius Nyere Conference Room on this issue on 27 July 2007. Over 20 NGO representatives participated in this meeting and shared their views.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

9th Annual SALISES Conference: Honouring Norman Girvan

The 9th Annual Conference of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) is being organized this year in honour of Dr. Norman Girvan. Dr. Girvan is Member of the Board of South Centre.

"Reinventing the Political Economy Tradition of the Caribbean" is the theme of the conference scheduled to take place on March 26–28, 2008. Through the Conference SALISES proposes to take the work of Norman Girvan and his generation of intellectual thinkers as a point of departure for rethinking the political economy of the Caribbean. Norman Girvan holds pride of place because of the breadth and originality of his work, as well as his association with SALISES. He remains one of a small group of academics from that period who continue an intellectual engagement with the current international paradigm, seeking to find spaces for the articulation of the development challenges of countries of the South, particularly the Caribbean region and its small states. Read full text

Monday, July 23, 2007

Making Globalization Work for Least Developed Countries

Address by Benjamin Mkapa, the former Tanzanian president and the Chairperson of the South Centre board, to the UN Ministerial Conference, Istanbul, 9 July 2007

...In my view, the declining support from the international community provides us with the opportunity for a sober reflection on the appropriateness of our “aid dependent” development strategies. It may be time for developing countries, including LDCs to “empower” themselves through greater economic nationalism and self reliance, as we increasingly see in Asia and Latin America, in order to better manage the effects of globalization and to be a more proactive participant in that reality.

Developing and least developed countries, if they are to succeed in their war on poverty, must demand that a supportive international economic environment be built.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Developing countries will face the challenge of moving the IGC discussion towards norm-setting

The Innovation & Access to Knowledge Programme (IAKP) team of South Centre was an Observor at the recently concluded Eleventh Session of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committe on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) held in Geneva from July 3 to July 12, 2007.

The IAKP team notes that the current IGC mandate expires by the end of 2007. Accordingly, the recently concluded session was crucial in determining the future of the IGC process. The Committee decided to recommend to the WIPO General Assembly that the current mandate of the IGC be extended for two more years. The decision also recommends that the General Assembly reassert that the future work of the Committee will not exclude “the possible development of an international instrument or instruments” and urge the IGC to accelerate its work and to present a progress report to the session of the General Assembly in September 2008.

Although WIPO Member States agreed to recommend to the next General Assembly the renewal of the IGC mandate, the recommendation adopted was watered down by developed countries which refused to accept language that would mandate the IGC to focus on the development of an international binding instrument(s) on TK and EoF. Therefore, developing countries in the next two years of the IGC will be faced with the challenge of moving the IGC discussion towards norm-setting.

Panelists Predict Future International IP Protection Of Traditional Knowledge

Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen from the IP-Watch, reports on an event organized by South Centre “Towards an international sui generis regime for the protection of traditional knowledge” on 9th July alongside the 3-12 July meeting of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC).

While national intellectual property protection regimes for traditional knowledge in Peru and China were seen as somewhat effective by panelists, the general message was that there still is need for an international system. Speakers also predicted that new regimes in this area, as well as changes to existing trade law, will happen in the future.

Xuan Li, acting coordinator of the Innovation and Access to Knowledge programme at the South Centre, said China introduced patent protection for traditional knowledge in 1993. She said one of the questions is related to novelty: “Do all kinds of existing TK fail to meet novelty requirement when acquiring a patent?” She further adds that while other countries have limited experience in patent examination on TK, China has “limited performance assessment on protection regimes.” She said more than 90 percent of patent applications filed in China by Chinese nationals are for traditional medicines. Read full text

Benjamin Mkapa: Country-based policies are best

Benjamin Mkapa, the former Tanzanian president and the Chairperson of the South Centre board, writes in the East African (Nairobi) that Africa’s poorest countries should develop policies to suit their unique circumstances to replace policies imposed on them by their developed country counterparts. Such policies would enable world’s poorest countries to benefit from globalisation because “how governments manage the country’s internal affairs determines the extent to which their people benefit from globalisation and are protected from its negative effects.
Read full text