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.