The status of cannabis in the UN drug conventions is controversial. It is now scheduled among the most dangerous substances. How and why did cannabis get in the conventions? Does it belong there? What are the options to review the status of cannabis according to current scientific data? Is making cannabis subject to a control regime similar to harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco a solution?
TNI Fellows are internationalist intellectuals with a track record of progressive activist-scholarship and a passionate commitment to social change. They bring TNI vision and new ideas, expertise relevant to current programme, connect TNI to relevant networks and commit themselves to an active role in TNI. TNI Fellowships do not involve any financial remuneration.
Susan George is one of TNI's most renowned people for her long-term and ground-breaking analysis of global issues. "Shadow Sovereigns: How Global Corporations are Seizing Power" is the newest of her seventeen widely translated books. She describes her work in a cogent way that has come to define TNI: "The job of the responsible social scientist is first to uncover these forces [of wealth, power and control], to write about them clearly, without jargon... and finally..to take an advocacy position in favour of the disadvantaged, the underdogs, the victims of injustice."
David Fig is a South African environmental sociologist, political economist, and activist. He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics, and specializes in questions of energy, the extractive industries, and corporate accountability. He chairs the board of Biowatch South Africa, which is concerned with food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture, and works closely with various...
Ben Hayes is a TNI fellow and an independent researcher and consultant on security policies, counter-terrorism, border control and data protection. He has worked with the civil liberties organisation Statewatch in the UK since 1996, and also consulted for the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, the UN High Commission for Refugees, Cordaid, the Heinrich Boll Foundation,...
Lander is one of the leading thinkers and writers on the left in Venezuela. He was a critical supporter of the Venezuelan revolution under Chavez in its early stages. However as the economic policies led to an increasing dependence on oil, consolidating the rentier state, as a huge proportion of the Venezuelan territory has been opened up to transnational mining corporations in a neoliberal mode, and the authoritarian tendencies have became dominant in the Bolivarian Revolution, he has become active in the search for democratic non depredatory alternatives to the Maduro government. He was actively involved in social movements in the Americas that defeated the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA).
Hilary Wainwright is a leading researcher and writer on the emergence of new forms of democratic accountability within parties, movements and the state. She is the driving force and editor behind Red Pepper, a popular British new left magazine, and has documented countless examples of resurgent democratic movements from Brazil to Britain and the lessons they provide for progressive politics....
Achin Vanaik (India) TNI Fellow and Retired Professor of International Relations and Global Politics from the University of Delhi, Achin is an active member of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (India). He has (co)authored or (co) edited 20 books ranging from studies of India's political economy, issues concerning religion, communalism and secularism as well as international...
Phyllis Bennis is a fellow of both TNI and the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC where she directs IPS's New Internationalism Project. Phyllis specialises in U.S. foreign policy issues, particularly involving the Middle East and United Nations. She worked as a journalist at the UN for ten years and currently serves as a special adviser to several top-level UN officials on Middle...
Saturnino 'Jun' M Borras Jr. is a Filipino political activist and academic who has been deeply involved in rural social movements in the Philippines and internationally since the early 1980s. He was part of the core organising team that established the international peasant movement La Via Campesina and has written extensively on land issues and agrarian movements. He is...
Daniel Chavez, a TNI fellow, specialises in left politics, state companies and public services. He is an active contributor of the Municipal Services Project (MSP) research network, has contributed to Alternatives to Privatization: Public Options for Essential Services in the Global South (Routledge, 2012) and has co-edited The Reinvention of the State: Public Enterprises and Development in...
David Bewley Taylor is the founding Director of the Global Drug Policy Observatory at Swansea University, UK. He has been researching various aspects of drug policy for over twenty years with his main areas of interest being US drug policy, the UN and international drug policy and more recently counter narcotics strategies in Afghanistan....
Manuel Perez Rocha is an Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, and regular contributor to TNI's Alternative Regionalisms programme who has been associated with TNI since 1996 when he began work on EU-Latin America relations.
Ricardo Vargas Meza is a Sociologist with a Masters in Social Philosophy from the National University of Colombia. He is an author, among other texts of Fumigation and Conflict: Anti-drugs policies and the delegitimisation of the Colombian state (Tercer Mundo, TNI and Acción Andina, December 1999); Drugs, Armed Conflict and Alternative Development (Acción Andina Colombia, June 2003, Bogotá);...
Associate Myriam Vander Stichele has been monitoring international trade negotiations and agreements since 1990, both at a regional and global level. She is an advisor to many NGOs whose indepth research on investment agreements and policies, and private investor strategies has sparked many international campaigns....
Arruda is an economist and veteran popular educator, who has worked closely with Brazilian labour, co-operatives and solidarity economy movements for many years. Arruda has served as an advisor to local governments and as visiting professor in universities in Brazil and abroad. He is a facilitator for the Gaia Education Program and is active in the Ecovillage and the Transition Towns movements....
Kamil Mahdi is an experienced analyst of Middle Eastern politics and economics, in particular the political economy of oil-exporting countries. Mahdi is secretary of the International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies, researching Iraq's economy, politics and modern history including the politics and economics of sanctions, conflict and occupation. His other interests include economic...
Howard Wachtel is a former TNI fellow and an expert on the financialisation of the global economy who foresaw the financial crisis long before it struck in autumn 2008. His book in 2003 Street of Dreams. Boulevard of Broken Hearts: Wall Street's First Century (London: Pluto Press) is a widely respected history of the infamous New York street. Howard was the first co-ordinator of TNI's...
John Cavanagh has been Director of IPS since 1998 and a founding fellow of TNI. He worked as an international economist for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (1978-1981) and the World Health Organization (1981-1982). ...
Mariano Aguirre is Director of the Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution (NOREF). A journalist and analyst on the Middle East, US foreign policy, international conflicts, peacebuilding and peacekeeping, he has written, co-authored and edited several books, among them: La ideología neoimperial: La crisis de EEUU con Irak (Icaria/TNI/CIP 2003), co-authored with Phyllis Bennis and "...
Gonzalo Berrón, TNI Associate Fellow, has played a leading role in coordinating Latin American movements resisting corporate "Free Trade Agreements." He has been an integral part of ongoing discussions with civil society and progressive governments on building alternative just regional trade and financial architecture in Latin America. ...
Dot Keet is a South African academic and activist involved in many national, African and international networks resisting corporate "free trade" agreements. She is an active member of the national South African Trade Strategy Group (TSG) and the Southern African Peoples Solidarity Network (SAPSN), the key coordinator of the Southern African Social Forum (SASF); as well as the continent...
Boris Kagarlitsky is a well-known international commentator on Russian politics and society. Boris was a deputy to the Moscow City Soviet between 1990-93, during which time he was a member of the executive of the Socialist Party of Russia, co-founder of the Party of Labour, and advisor to the Chairperson of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia. Previously, he was a student...
Author of more than 14 books, Bello was awarded the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize) in 2003 for "... outstanding efforts in educating civil society about the effects of corporate globalisation, and how alternatives to it can be implemented." Bello has been described by the Economist as the man “who popularised a new term: deglobalisation.”...
Tom Reifer is currently Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of San Diego and publishes widely on global peace and social justice issues. He has also been a long-time activist in the anti-nuclear movement as well as a rank and file trade union activist. His specialty is the study of large-scale, long-term social change and world-systems analysis. ...
Anthony Barnett was one of the early Fellows of TNI, from 1978 to 1983, working on Vietnam and Cambodia. He left TNI after he wrote Iron Britannia about the Malvinas/Falklands conflict and focussed on UK politics and journalism, writing for the New Statesman and the Guardian. He was the first director of Charter 88 from 1988 to 1995. It called for Britain to embrace a European style codified...
Based in Amsterdam, David works as an independent researcher and writer. As an associate of the Norwegian think-tank NOREF, he currently focuses on public control over transnational flows affecting societies on the global periphery. Professional activities since 1970 provided a basis for books and articles on the politics of foreign aid, and on Africa, particularly Angola and South Africa....
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.
Mexico is the Latin American country that has bore the highest costs from the War on Drugs, suffering from high national rates of violence, corruption in state institutions, and an increase in the power of organised crime groups. As with other countries in the region, implementation of a prohibitionist drug law approach has had the adverse effect of increasing the number of people held in prison for minor drug offences. This page summarises the latest developments in the debate on drug law and drug policy in Mexico.
A legacy gift (or Gift in Will) is one of the most significant and lasting contributions you can make to an organization such as TNI.
Once you secure the well-being of your loved ones, you may choose to include in your will a significant donation to one or more charitable organisations you believe in. If important changes occur in your life, you can always modify your will according to your situation.
We ask you to think about the things you are passionate about in life and to help sustain them into the future. You can leave a long lasting legacy by remembering TNI in your estate.
If we only had the resources of those we are up against, we could change the world.
- Susan George
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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.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed free trade agreement, in negotiation, between the United States and the European Union. Its proponents claim that the agreement will benefit consumers with lower prices, increased competition and more jobs.
However, very little of the TTIP deals with trade; the vast majority of the agreement relates to government regulations and will therefore have huge implications in matters such as food sovereignty, digital rights and the environment. It will limit the capacity of governments and local groups to regulate and increase the capacity of transnational corporations to act with impunity. TNI’s focus for TTIP and other free trade agreements is on the investment chapter, and particularly the problems caused by Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms that allow corporations to sue governments for actions that affect their profits.
TNI has long been an advocate for trade and investment policies that prioritise people and the environment over corporate interests. In the case of Colombia, TNI has worked closely with local activists and researchers in analysing and proposing alternatives to free trade agreements that are implemented at the expense of basic human and environmental needs, mainly in relation to the FTA EU-Colombia. In doing so, TNI works on different sectors and communities that are affected by bilateral and multilateral agreements.
The Drug Law Reform project organises a series of expert seminars, drug policy briefings and informal drug policy dialogues. The activities serve to cross-fertilise policy debates between countries and regions, stimulating participants to exchange experiences and learn lessons between policy officials, representatives from international agencies and nongovernmental experts and practitioners. Seminars are held under Chatham House Rule to ensure confidentiality and to allow participants a free exchange of ideas.
In 2004 the Transnational Institute (TNI) and the Andreas G. Papandreou Foundation (APF) started an Informal Drug Policy Dialogue. Purpose of the dialogues is to have an open-minded exchange of views on current dilemmas in international drug policy making and discuss strategies on how contradictions might be resolved. The meetings are guided by 'Chatham House Rule' to encourage a free exchange of thoughts and confidentiality. In 2007, TNI and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) started a Latin American Informal Drug Policy Dialogue. In 2009, TNI and the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) started a series of drug policy dialogues in Southeast Asia.
The Transnational Institute (TNI) is an international research and advocacy institute committed to building a just, democratic and sustainable planet. For more than 40 years, TNI has served as a unique nexus between social movements, engaged scholars and policy makers.
When was the Institute founded?
The Transnational Institute was founded in 1974 as the international programme of the Washington DC-based Institute for Policy Studies.
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In 1993, Venezuela replaced prison sentences with ‘social security measures’ for possession of up to 2 grams of cocaine and 20 grams of cannabis. Possession for personal use is punished with referral to treatment, which can still lead to obligatory internment in specialized centers.
Analysis by and for the European social movements acting against the EU crisis regime. European social movements inform what strategic lessons can be learned from resistance, the challenges we face and how to be prepared for upcoming struggles.
Consensus is growing that the prohibition on production, supply, and use of certain drugs has not only failed to deliver its intended goals but has been counterproductive. Evidence is mounting that this policy has not only exacerbated many public health problems, but has created a much larger set of social harms associated with the criminal market such as violence, corruption, organised crime, and endemic violence.
A more refined distinction is required to define appropriate drug control measures according to the specific characteristics of drug substances, their health risks, the dynamics of their markets and their user groups. The existing classification schedules for drugs from the UN 1961 and 1971 Conventions do not provide sufficient differentiation. The consideration of such diverse substances as coca, cocaine, cannabis, opium and heroin in the same schedule, hampers effective policy responses that can properly take into account the different properties of drugs and the reasons people use them.
People across the world are taking back power over the energy sector, kicking-back against the rule of the market and re-imagining 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?
The rise in authoritarianism is often credited to the successful machinations of charismatic, skillful charlatans, ignoring the longer historical trends towards authoritarianism which has become deeply embedded in contemporary politics, economics and society. TNI has brought together researchers and activists worldwide to examine the underlying causes of today's authoritarian wave with a view to examining how progressive forces' resistance can better challenge and articulate emancipatory alternatives.
In recent years, various actors, from big foreign and domestic corporate business and finance to governments, have initiated a large-scale worldwide enclosure of agricultural lands, mostly in the Global South but also elsewhere. This is done for large-scale industrial and industrial agriculture ventures and often packaged as large-scale investment for rural development. But rather than being investment to benefit the majority of rural people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, this process constitutes a new wave of land and water ‘grabbing’. It is a global phenomenon whereby the access, use and right to land and other closely associated natural resources is being taken over - on a large-scale and/or by large-scale capital – resulting in a cascade of negative impacts on rural livelihoods and ecologies, human rights, and local food security.
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.