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.

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

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.