Today marks the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Its origin can be traced back to the institutional architecture of the global drug control system which for the last five decades has served as a mechanism that regulates, controls, or prohibits the use and distribution of more than 300 psychoactive substances.
This week, representatives of around 100 countries are meeting in New York to talk about investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). ISDS is a legal instrument that multinationals can use to sue governments for billions. External experts and observers fear that the new negotiations will amount to ‘old wine in new bottles’. They believe that those who benefit from this instrument (powerful states and top lawyers from the ISDS sector) are controlling the debate.
John Walsh, Martin Jelsma, Tom Blickman, David Bewley-Taylor
19 March 2019
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD or Expert Committee) released in January 2019 the outcomes of the first-ever critical review of cannabis, recommending a series of changes in the current scheduling of cannabis-related substances under the UN drug control conventions.
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.
Policy changes over the past five years or so have dramatically reshaped the global cannabis market. Not only has there been an unprecedented boom in medical markets, but following policy shifts in several jurisdictions a growing number of countries are also preparing for legal regulation of non-medical use. Such moves look set to bring a clear range of benefits in terms of health and human rights. As this groundbreaking Report, highlights, however, there are also serious concerns about the unfolding market dynamics.
What are the implications of the rise of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) for agrarian and environmental transformations, worldwide and in the BRICS countries in particular? This is the main issue with which the BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies (BICAS) has been concerned since 2013, when it was launched in Beijing by a collective of largely BRICS-based research institutions1.
The international bank transfer system, SWIFT, is a form of contemporary digital colonialism and surveillance capitalism as it is run by US firms and provides data to US government agencies. Drives by governments and philanthropists to increase use of digital money will only strengthen it further.
Giant corporations have taken control of our food. In the last two years, these companies have begun the process of merging and re-arranging themselves into just four colossal corporations. The larger these companies grow, the less we can control them. And the less control we have, the harder it is for us to build the kind of food system that more and more of us want: one that recognizes the value of people, respects the planet, and provides decent, dignified work. How did this happen, and what can we do about it?
Ever more people are connecting the dots between our economic system and ecological destruction but rarely make the link to militarism and security. As climate change will dramatically increase instability and insecurity, we examine the role of the military in a climate-changed world.
The voice of communities involved in illicit cultivation had long been excluded from policymaking platforms. However, thanks to growing networks such as the Myanmar Opium Farmers Forum, more and more farmers have gained more space to provide input to drug policy discussions at the UN level.
How can we resolve the tensions between current drug control policies and states’ human rights obligations? The international human rights framework clearly establishes that, in the event of conflicts between obligations under the UN Charter and other international agreements, human rights obligations take precedence. As legally regulated cannabis markets start to grow, now is the time to secure a legitimate place for small farmers using alternative development, human rights and fair trade principles.
Countries that embrace legal regulation find themselves in breach of international law. In this video, we explain a strategy to resolve those treaty tensions and to enable progressive and sustainable change at the global level.
Prof John Ruggie has shared his comments on the Zero Draft treaty on TNCs and human rights on this blog earlier this month. His core concerns are that the zero draft has not adequately deal with ‘scale’ and ‘liability’. This response argues that Ruggie’s arguments in opposition to the binding treaty are misdirected and they fail to recognise the historic opportunity offered by the Human Right Council to create a human rights remedy system for corporate abuse across national boundaries.