Signing international investment treaties, in the hope of attracting foreign investments, has been a central strategy for governments looking to improve economic development. The less known side of this story is that by signing investment treaties, governments are giving away the sovereign right to regulate in the interest of people and the environment. They also expose themselves to the risk of spending millions in law suits that could have been used to serve public needs. It’s time that the dark side of investment is put under the spotlight.
Around the world, citizens have been mobilizing to defend their environment and economic sovereignty from transnational corporations, but there is another threat lurking in the shadows that can ride roughshod over our rights. A video of the Network for Justice in Global Investment in collaboration with the Transnational Institute.
Gus Van Harten discusses specific cases of investor-to-state arbitration to highlight what are the key problems with international investment treaties. How developing countries are being impacted by investment disputes and what the role is of lawyers and experts in promoting a growing international arbitration industry.
The secretive and lucrative world of international investment arbitration has enriched a small coterie of multi-billion dollar international firms, which actively promote and even help finance litigations against states and have fought fiercely to prevent changes to an unjust international investment regime.
Between 20 and 21 September 2011, 40 ASEAN campaigners and experts met in Manila to share knowledge and experiences, articulate common strategies and discuss alternatives to the current investment regime.
Bilateral investment treaties (BITs) allow transnational corporations to by-pass domestic courts and sue sovereign states - costing tax payers millions in legal expenses and preventing governments from acting in the best interests of their citizens.
Pietje Vervest is an economic anthropologist. She has specialised in the European Union's trade and investment agenda and in the international investment regime.
At TNI she coordinates the Economic Justice Programme and the Myanmar in Focus Programme, is part of the Coordination Group of the Seattle to Brussels network and is the European anchor of the Asia-Europe People's Forum.
A clear and plain language guide to the EU's neoliberal investment regime, explaining both the social and environmental costs of prying open poor, vulnerable countries' economies, as well as outlining a number of ethical alternatives.
The letter below and updated petition was delivered on 20 March 2008 to World Bank President Zoellick and ICSID General Secretary Ana Palacio and to contacts for ETI and their lawyers, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, World Bank external affairs, and the ICSID secretariat. For background information see Global campaign against anti-democratic investment rules
Hilde van der Pas joined the 'Economic Justice, Corporate Power and Alternatives' programme in July 2011. She has a BA degree in journalism and a MA in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam.
Cecilia Olivet is a social scientist who specialises in the European Union's trade and investment agenda and the international investment regime. Cecilia is Uruguayan, has a BA degree in International Relations from Universidad de la República in Uruguay and an MA in International Politics and East Asia from Warwick University, UK. In 2005, she joined TNI where she is part of the Economic...