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.
Thomas Marois, Senior Lecturer in Development Studies argues that until people regain control of money and credit, we will not be able to stop economic and ecological crises. Most people don't know that fortunately there is untapped potential in public banks, that make up a quarter of all banks worldwide. Drawing on his research on public banks in Turkey, Costa Rica and elsewhere, Marois points to the potential and problems of public banks and how we might harness them to deliver social and environmental justice.
To inspire us for action in 2016, TNI picked 12 significant victories of social movements in 2015 that show that, despite the immense challenges we face in a world of unprecedented concentration of corporate, financial and military power, people power works.
One of the most impacting meetings took place Thursday, when more than 100 people filled a lecture hall, organized by the coalition Stop Corporate Impunity, to hear an array of speakers on a panel called “Confronting the Power of Transnational Corporations and Unpacking the Global Investment, Trade and Financial Regimes.”
Dramatic changes around food, climate, energy, and finance in recent years have pushed questions of land use and land control back onto the centre stage of development discourse, at the very moment when the same conditions are spurring an unprecedented rush for land and water across the globe.
Much touted "land investment" involves appropriation or landgrabbing. What positive alternative investments should public policy support which would strengthen the right to food, re-valorise agricultural work, and build up ecological capital?
Researchers and activists from fifteen countries met in Amsterdam with the aim to jointly draft the research agenda of the New Politics Project, a decentralised think tank on counter-hegemonic politics. It will aim to boost the development of desirable, viable and achievable alternatives, transcending current oppressive and exploitative structures; acknowledge the diversity of knowledge as a source of inspiration for the co-creation of alternatives; and promote fruitful collaboration and exchanges among researchers and activists from different regions of the world.
'Policy Shift' identifies ten key policy changes that are required to support just alternative agriculture investments. The approach integrates human rights into the core of decision-making and is informed by practical, on-the-ground examples of positive agricultural investments that benefit both small-scale farmers and communities.
How are people across the world taking back power over the energy sector, kicking-back against the rule of the market and reimagining how energy might be produced, distributed and used? How can the concept of energy democracy be deployed to demand a socially just energy system, with universal access, fair prices and secure, unionised and well-paid jobs? This report summarises the discussions and outcomes from an international workshop on energy democracy held in Amsterdam in February 2016.
Pauline Tiffen (TNI Board member), Editor -in-Chief of the Journal of Fair Trade, and a pioneer of the movement, explains the rationale for launching the Fair Trade Society - a worldwide membership organisation which owns the Journal of Fair Trade. She describes the complex but impactful story of the Fair Trade movement so far, while laying out the challenges we face, the relevance of Fair Trade and aspirations we should have for a fairer and environmentally safe global economy.
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.
Why are people around the world reclaiming essential services from private operators and bringing their delivery back into the public sphere? There are many motivations behind (re)municipalisation initiatives: a goal to end private sector abuse or labour violations; a desire to regain control over the local economy and resources; a wish to provide people with affordable services; or an intention to implement ambitious climate strategies.
Not all types of investment are equal in terms of their impact on poverty reduction and development. Through an alarming global tendency, which has governments shaping investment and development policy around the needs of transnational capital, large-scale land deals capturing land and its associated resources are packaged as ‘investments for rural development’. The shift underway in development frameworks is from public sector responsibility for food security towards the private sector as the remedy to hunger and malnutrition, at the expense of the livelihoods, dignity and lifestyle of rural working people, especially poor and marginalised groups. There is a need to ‘reboot’ the debate on agricultural investment, away from the narrow corporate centric perspective, towards investments which best addresses rural poverty and hunger and democratic control of resources – such as public investments and the investments made by small-scale food producers.