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.
Despite the track record of systemic and systematic violations of the range of human rights, the efforts to establish legally binding obligations and an instrument of enforcement within the UN system have been defeated by determined corporate opposition. The current Guiding Principles developed by the former Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, John Ruggie, do not create "any new international legal obligations" and are therefore non-binding.
The controversial legal case that Canadian mining firm Pacific Rim has launched against El Salvador has added fuel to the growing international debate on the balance of corporate rights and responsibilities and the need for new legal international frameworks to address corporate impunity.
Transnational corporations, particularly gas & oil industry, and banking have continued to benefit extraordinarily from the ongoing economic and financial crisis, says Brid Brennan, who presents TNI's State of Power Report 2014 at the Public Eye Awards in Davos.
In a recent Public Forum held in Amsterdam, representatives of the Union of People Affected by Texaco (UDAPT) from Ecuador began their Europe speaking tour with a call for a “Global Minga” to support a treaty that will sanction transnational corporations for their crimes and ensure access to justice for affected communities.
Why has the UN allowed 13 corporate partners, many deeply responsible for climate change, to sponsor and influence climate talks in Warsaw? An infographic from a series that illustrates TNI/CEO's COP19 guide to corporate lobbying.
Civil society organisations are writing to express deep concerns about the lack of transparency around the ongoing trade talks on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). They call on The European Commission to open the negotiation process to the public, by releasing the negotiating mandate, documents submitted by the EU, and negotiating texts.
The 26th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) opened in Geneva on June 10th. A major focus on the UNHRC agenda is the issue of binding regulations for Transnational Corporations (TNCs). This demand has been raised by Ecuador and 84 other governments in a Statement to the UNHRC last September 2013.
On June 26, 2014, under the leadership of Ecuador and South Africa, the UN Human Rights Council passed landmark resolution 26/9,2 establishing an open-ended inter - governmental working group (IGWG)3 that is mandated to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (hereinafter, the Treaty). It was a tight vote: the resolution was supported by 20 states, mainly from Africa and Asia, and opposed by 14, including the United States and the European Union, with 13 abstentions. The resolution strikes a nerve — and there is much expectation around it.
The massive concentration and growth of corporate power poses a major threat to what remains of public services, highlighting the ever-deepening crisis of democracy, and the urgent need for people to reclaim the state.
Forced to leave their homes to flee violence, war or poverty and invisible because they are vulnerable, large numbers of migrants disappear while travelling. This analysis of border control looks at the power and impunity of transnational corporations, militarisation, the externalisation of borders, Israel’s role as a laboratory for the wall industry and the criminalisation of international solidarity, among other issues.
Saturday October 11 saw an extraordinary mobilization success. Over 400 actions were organized in 20 European countries to reject the secret trade deals that the EU is negotiating (TTIP, CETA and TiSA)
As invitation-only Davos gets under way, our public space and politics shrink that little bit more across the globe. Rolling back state authority will turn today’s accountability gap into a yawning abyss.