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Chakravarthi Raghavan: A Relentless Advocate of the Global South Passes Away

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 28 2021 (IPS) - Chakravarthi Raghavan, who passed away early this week, was a prolific writer and a distinguished journalist who covered the United Nations both in New York and Geneva for several decades.

A proponent of development journalism, Raghavan’s voluminous reporting and writings were sharply focused on the global South. A longstanding reporter for Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency in Geneva, he was Editor of Third World Economics and representative of the Third World Network (TWN) in Geneva.

Chakravarthy Raghavan

He was on a team which launched the first ever IPS UN conference newspaper – Terra Viva— at the historic 1992 Earth Summit in Rio.

As a leading Indian journalist, he once held the post of Chief Editor of Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency. In 1980, Raghavan became the Chief Editor of the SUNS (then known as the Special United Nations Service), which was founded by the International Foundation for Development Alternatives (IFDA).

The aim of the SUNS was to provide information and analysis on global events and developments from a Third World perspective. Raghavan was its strongest advocate. In 1989, TWN took over responsibility for publishing SUNS.

As Chief Editor of SUNS, Raghavan provided critical and unique analyses of crucial international developments (such as the Uruguay Round negotiations and the subsequent developments in the WTO) from the perspective of developing countries.

In 1997, he was presented with the G77/UNDP award for promoting TCDC/ECDC (Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries/Economic Cooperation Among Developing Countries).

In his speech, he offered his profoundest thanks to the Group of 77 and China and the selection committee and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for the honour bestowed on him.

“I was not present at the birth of the Group of 77, and UNCTAD, in Geneva in 1964; but I was at its conception – here in New York when a handful of key delegates from Afro-Asia and Latin America used to meet in the corridors and lounges outside the ECOSOC/Trusteeship chambers, and this led to the joint resolution presented to the General Assembly in the name of 65 countries for a UN Conference on Trade and Development – to bring economic issues back into the UN,” he said.

Since then, cooperation among developing countries has increased. There are many regional and sub-regional groups and integration agreements. But the international system currently favours those groupings and integration agreements that are associated with or led by the North, and disfavours independent groupings, he pointed out.

“And, at a time as now when the developing world is facing new threats to its independence, sovereignty and the well-being of its people, there is also a measure of dis- spiritedness and disunity within the South that those of us who have an interest in the well-being of the South, and the North, must strive hard to reverse and remove’

“As one individual from the South, I do pledge my intention to continue to strive for this, but I do plead with the governments of the South, and their delegates represented here, and the international institutions to do their utmost in this direction,” he declared.

Raghavan’s publications include: Recolonization: GATT, Uruguay Round and Third World (1990); ‘The New World Order – A View from the South’ (1997); ‘World Trade Order: Advantage for Whom?’ Third World Economics (1994);, ‘Role of Multilateral Organizations in the Globalization Process,’ Third World Economics, No. 128 (1996); ‘The World Trade Organization and its Dispute Settlement System: Tilting the balance against the South’, TWN Trade and Development Series No 9 (2000); Financial Services, the WTO and Initiatives for Global Financial Reform (2010); From GATT to the WTO: The Secret Story of the Uruguay Round, Third World Network Penang (2000); Developing Countries and Services Trade: Chasing a black cat in a dark room blindfolded (2002) TWN Penang; Disconnects at all levels, Third World Economics 403, June 2007.

The awards he received during his journalistic career include: 1998 UNDP/Group of 77 TCDC/ECDC Award for outstanding contribution as Chief Editor of South-North Development Monitor and Editor of Third World Economics to the promotion of technical and economic cooperation among developing countries; Membre d’Honneur de l’Association de la Presse Étrangère en Suisse (June 2007); Membre d’Honneur Association des Correspondants auprès des Nations Unies.


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