The 'Bottom-up Accountability Initiatives to Claim Tenure Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa' project was a multi-year many-partner endeavour: FIAN, ISS, PLAAS (the institute for Poverty, Land, and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa), and TNI collaborated with local partners in Nigeria (ERA/Friends of the Earth Nigeria), Mali (CNOP- Coordination Nationale des Organisations Paysannes), Uganda (Katosi Women Development Trust), and SouthAfrica (Masifundise Development Trust). The project focused on Action Research, carried out by the country partners, working with communities of peasants and fishers whose access to land or resources (including fisheries) were being threatened by land, water, and resource grabbing. The project sought to find ways that these communities could use the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of the Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests (VGGTs or TGs), an international soft law instrument endorsed by the UN Committee on Food Security in 2012, to strengthen their rights and push for bottom-up accountability.
The UN has held almost annual climate talks since the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed in 1992, however these have failed to deliver the radical and justly-distributed emission cuts that are required largely due to the failure of industrialised nations to accept their historic responsibility, the corporate capture of the talks by fossil-fuel interests, and the false market-based solutions pursued by many nations.
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) was established in 1968 as the monitoring body for the implementation of the United Nations international drug control conventions. Tensions have arisen about the way the INCB performs its duties and about its legal interpretation of the conventions which many feel goes beyond its mandate.
Global drug policy could see major changes following The United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) from April 19-21, but political divisions and entrenched institutional dynamics have dampened hopes that it will go down in history as the beginning of the end of the war on drugs.
The coca leaf has been chewed and brewed for tea for centuries in the Andean region – and does not cause any harm and is probably beneficial to human health. Yet the leaf is treated as if it is comparable to cocaine or heroin. The inclusion of the coca leaf in the list of narcotic drugs raises questions about the logic behind the current system of classification under the UN conventions. TNI believes we can find a more culturally sensitive approach to plants with psychoactive or mildly stimulant properties, and should distinguish more between problematic, recreational and traditional uses of psychoactive substances.
The war on drugs is waged at its worst in the source zone of production. Major consumer countries - the US in particular - think they are able to tackle drug consumption at home by reducing the supply from the "source zones" such as the Andean region - Colombia, Bolivia and Peru - and Central and South-East Asia - Afghanistan and Burma. The primary goal of the supply reduction strategies is to decrease the amount of drugs entering the major consuming countries and subsequently, because the strategy allegedly leads to higher prices that would lead to lower demand.
After more than four years of peace talks in Havana, the Colombian government and the FARC have taken important steps toward a definitive agreement to end the conflict. Addressing the issue of drugs – crops for illicit use, production, consumption and drug trafficking– is key to achieving sustainable peace in the country. Violence linked to the drugs economy and the financing of armed groups have been central to the country's conflict, while the illicit drugs market has also served as a survival economy and safety net. Rethinking the war on drugs is therefore critical to building peace throughout the rural regions of Colombia.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a proposed free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. The negotiations for CETA concluded on August 1, 2014, but its completion and ratification is expected to take at least two years, due to the number of parties involved. Many sections of the agreement have been severely criticised, in particular its Investor-State Dispute Settlement processes (ISDS) and its likely negative implications for the environment.
This alliance for a binding treaty on Transnational Corporation (TNC's) gathers global networks and alliances including Dismantle Corporate Power Campaign, FIAN, Friends of the Earth International and Transnational Institute, among others, which collectively represent more than 500 groups world-wide who are determined to stop corporate human rights violations.
The BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies (BICAS) is a collective of largely BRICS-based or connected academic researchers concerned with understanding the BRICS countries and their implications for global agrarian transformations. Critical theoretical and empirical questions about the origins, character and significance of complex changes underway need to be investigated more systematically.
TNI is advocating Public Public Partnerships (PUP) as an alternative policy to privatisation or to Public-Private Partnerships in water services as well as a concrete tool to work with partners to reform public water companies/utilities, improve services and realise the right to water on the ground. A public-public partnership (PUP) is simply collaboration between two or more public authorities or organizations, based on solidarity, to improve the capacity and effectiveness of one partner in providing public water or sanitation services. They have been described as a “peer relationship forged around common values and objectives, which exclude profit-seeking”. PUPs avoid the risks which are typically encountered in public-private partnerships: transaction costs, contract failure, renegotiation, the complexities of regulation, commercial opportunism, monopoly pricing, commercial secrecy, currency risk, and lack of public legitimacy. In general the objectives of PUPs are to improve the capacity of the assisted partner. In practice, PUPs' work can be divided into five broad categories: training and developing human resources, technical support on a wide range of issues, improving efficiency and building institutional capacity, financing water services, improving participation. Public Community Partnerships Public-communitarian partnerships (PCPs) are internationally referred to as public-public partnerships but PCPs has a stronger connotation of community. While government and public water authorities should adopt and implement a water delivery policy that prioritises serving the needs of rural communities, many state-owned utilities fail to serve hard-to-reach areas. Community-based water systems are bridging the gap in water service delivery in many parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. TNI has observed new forms of partnerships between public authorities and rural communities, in which the communities are engaged in the decision-making about water solutions, supported with public funding and expertise and are empowered to take responsibility for running water systems. Such partnerships can bring rapid and lasting improvements.
Harm reduction is a set of strategies that aim to reduce negative consequences of drug use, by mitigating the potential dangers and health risks. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has significantly expanded its HIV/AIDS programme thanks to support from harm reduction-friendly donor countries, despite ambiguities on the issue within UN drug control agencies. There is a need for up-scaling of basic services for HIV/AIDS prevention and the 'frontline' of heroin prescription and drug consumption rooms.
Absolving drug users from arrest and prosecution for drug use and preparatory acts like acquisition, simple possession or cultivation for personal use does not lead to increased drug use, but does significantly lower pressure on law enforcement agencies and on the judicial and penitentiary systems, and it removes barriers for users with problematic patterns of use to approach treatment and harm reduction services.