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Future of the WTO

There is a need to assess the key developments in the Doha Round, which have contributed to the present stalemate. At the same time, it is imperative to identify options that the organisation could consider for defining its future work programme, given the new realities of global economic engagement. Since the Doha Round negotiations began, the drivers of economic integration have undergone significant changes. Recognition of global production networks as the harbinger of deepening economic integration between countries is the most prominent of them. An exercise of this nature is important, since it helps in analysing the issues on which agreement has eluded the WTO Members. Looking at the WTO rules that can support the new reality of the global production networks is one of the other thrust areas that RIS focuses on within the board ambit of WTO’s future profiles.

Post-2015 Global Development Agenda

The targets laid down under MDGs have to be met by 2015 and as that date nears, a variety of organisations, not to speak of UN agencies, have got involved in monitoring their progress. Another reason why MDGs are making news is centred on a debate whether the global community should buy into a post-2015 development compact comprising another set of goals. RIS has been working intensively on this issue. This work received an impetus when the UNDP requested the institute to coordinate the discussion among the think-tanks of the country as a part of the national process to obtain feedback from the major stakeholders. This task has successfully been accomplished and based on the feedback received from the think-tanks, RIS has submitted a paper to the UNDP which is part of the UNDP’s National Consultation Report Post 2015 Development Framework: India.

Global Economic Crisis, International Financial Institutions and G-20

This study aims at understanding the genesis of the economic crisis of 2008. Apart from analysing the nature and causes of the crisis, the research focuses on the reform of the international financial institutions and the responses of the G-20. A critical analysis of the ongoing initiatives to bring out certain policy suggestions is an integral part of this research. A part of the research is being used in one of the chapters of the forthcoming South Asia Development and Cooperation Report of the RIS. Some preliminary and basic research has been shared in various RIS workshops.

International Aid Architecture and Development Cooperation Approaches

RIS has initiated work programme in this area to collect field level details to analyse data and information so as to undertake impact assessment. However, data and information on the contributions that several administrative ministries are making in the development programmes of several developing countries are not readily available This exercise also involves a detailed analysis that would focus on two sets of issues: (i) effectiveness of the India’s development assistance from the point of view of the donors; and (ii) measures that may be required for enhancing effectiveness of India’s assistance for development. The findings would be out in form of a book and series of monograph under the RIS Discussion paper series. A discussion paper on‘Balancing State and Community Participation in Development Partnership Projects: Emerging Evidence from Indian SDPs in Nepal’ has been brought out.

Post Busan Dynamics of South-South Cooperation

South-South Cooperation (SSC) has gained prominence in discussions on international cooperation for development and thus the expectations from SSC have multiplied several times. It is in this context that RIS has initiated a major work programme for supporting policy formulation process in the post Busan context and partnered with several different agencies. The current work is focusing on various facets of SSC as it promotes the exchange of best practices and support among developing countries in the common pursuit of their broad development objectives. RIS worked closely with The Asia Foundation (TAF) and the World Bank for two major conferences on this theme where more than 30 countries participated.RIS provided inputs for the International Development Cooperation Report (IDCR) on new dynamics of SSC. RIS, along with UNDESA and Ministry of External Affairs, had also organised a Conference of Southern Providers on South-South Cooperation: Issues and Emerging Challenges.

Global Ethics in Science and Technolgy

Global Ethics in Science and Technology is a three year (2011-2014) project funded by the European Commission. RIS is a partner institution in this project. The other institutions are University of Central Lancashire, Rathenau Institut, KIT and CASTED. The project envisages comparative study of Ethics in S&T policy in the three regions (Europe, China and India) and three case studies (nanotechnology, synthetic biology and food technologies). Brazil and South Africa are special invitees. The idea of ethics in this project stands for access, equity and inclusion (AEI). This project has opened up new avenues for RIS to work on S&T and Innovation and Ethics issues. RIS is exploring the opportunities for future work in these. Although the project was on Global Ethics, RIS team brought a new dimension to the debate on Global Ethics in S&T by specifying Access, Inclusion and Equity as norm and criteria to assess Ethics in policies and outcomes. This project enabled RIS to strengthen its connection with individuals and institutions working on STI issues in India.

Global Ethics in Science and Technology Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) has become an area of increasing global debate within the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). ABS has become one of the main issues of contention with regard to the WTO’s Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, creating a state of incompatibility between TRIPS and the objectives of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). RIS has worked on the ABS regime for human genetics. The area of human genetic resources lacks any such binding of international regulations on benefit sharing. Benefit sharing frameworks which are currently used to justify human genetic research in developing countries are often ethically questionable. There is a real need to re-evaluate existing frameworks and suggest realistic alternatives.

Plurilateral Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) at WTO: Implications for India

The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), initiated by the United States and Australia, is currently being negotiated in WTO with 50 participants that represent 70 per cent of the world’s trade in services. The RIS study is examining the implications of it for India. It probes into the question whether India’s joining a plurilateral regime under TISA would undermine the multilateral system. What could be the best strategy to ensure India’s export interests in various areas of services trade including IT, Audio-Visual Services,etc? Most importantly, what would be the best route of negotiations which would get India greater and effective flexibility under Mode IV of Temporary Movement of Natural Persons?