While tens of thousands of refugees have died fleeing terrible violence and hardship to get to Europe, not everyone has lost out. This report exposes the military and security companies that have profited from the tragedy, winning contracts to provide the equipment to border guards, the surveillance technology to monitor frontiers, and the IT infrastructure to track population movements.
The EU and Mexico launch negotiations for a ‘modernised’ Free Trade Agreement. A key feature is the investment protection chapter which grants major multinational companies in Mexico and the EU the exclusive right to challenge democratic decisions taken by States, even when they were taken in the public interest. The report outlines six reasons of major concern.
Cecilia Olivet, Jaybee Garganera, Farah Sevilla, Joseph Purugganan
24 May 2016
Mining firms have been one of the main corporate sectors worldwide to take advantage of investor-state dispute mechanisms to sue states for regulation of mining, having sued governments for a total of USD 53 billion so far. The Philippines, one of five countries worldwide with the highest overall mineral reserves, has a web of investment treaties which severely constrain the government's ability to regulate or close polluting mines. This legal straitjacket will become even tighter if the EU–Philippines Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) proceed.
The Transnational Institute proudly presents the first issue of Dynamo, a monthly and bilingual (English and Spanish) review of current debates and new ideas on international politics and economics. Dynamo is jointly published by TNI, la diaria (a Uruguayan newspaper run by a cooperative of journalists and media workers) and a collective of Latin American scholar-activists.
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.
Representatives of the governments of Austria, France, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands (AFFGN) tabled a proposal, in April, to establish “a multilateral agreement among the [EU] Member States […] which would replace and supersede pre-existing intra-EU BITs”. With this proposal, all EU investors would effectively be able to sue any member state at an international tribunal when they feel government regulations have undermined their (future) profits. This proposal undercuts the very basis of the European Union and is the best example of how the EU has become a vehicle for business rights at the expense of democracy.
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.
Opium farmers and representatives of their communities came together to discuss the challenges they face in their lives, and to share experiences and find ways to solve their problems. This is their statement.
The 7th GIZ/TNI Asian Informal Drug Policy Dialogue was organised in collaboration with the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) of the Cambodian Government. Key issues on the agenda were recent trends in the drug market in the region and the development of effective policy responses. Specific attention went to the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Alternative Development in the Asian context, including in the implementation of alternative development programmes in conflict areas. The involvement of affected communities in policy making and project implementation was another important theme that was discussed. A major aim of the dialogue was to look at the state of the Asian drug policy before UNGASS 2016.
Land politics and the social movements mobilizing around land have changed profoundly, inspiring a new generation of scholar-activists. Professor Saturnino ('Jun') M. Borras explores land politics, agrarian movements and scholar-activism in his inaugural lecture at the International Institute for Social Studies.
Cecilia Olivet, Natacha Cingotti, Pia Eberhardt, Nelly Grotefendt, Scott Sinclair
19 April 2016
The European Commission says that its new investment proposal –the Investment Court System - will protect governments' abilities to regulate on crucial matters such as public health and environmental protection. But analysis of five of the most controversial arbitration cases in recent years shows they could still be launched under the current proposal.
As jurisdictions enact reforms creating legal access to cannabis for purposes other than exclusively “medical and scientific,” tensions surrounding the existing UN drug treaties and evolving law and practice in Member States continue to grow. How might governments and the UN system address these growing tensions in ways that acknowledge the policy shifts underway and help to modernize the drug treaty regime itself, and thereby reinforce the UN pillars of human rights, development, peace and security, and the rule of law?
International Mission "Justice for Berta Caceres Flores"
13 April 2016
Report by international mission of 15 parliamentarians, jurists and representatives of human rights, trade union, and popular organizations and networks that travelled to Honduras in mid-March to clarify the context of the assassination of Berta Caceres and to make recommendations to end the culture of impunity affecting human rights defenders in the region.
Alexander Kravchuk, Zakhar Popovych, Roeline Knottnerus, Daniel van Heijningen
31 March 2016
On 6 April 2016, the Netherlands voted in a referendum on the EU’s Association Agreement (AA) with Ukraine. The referendum was a special democratic event – 427,939 signatures of citizens were collected to make it possible. With a turnout of 32.2%, just above the 30% threshold, the vote was valid. The deal was rejected by 61.1% of votes, compared with 38.1% in favour.
The Transnational Institute (TNI) attended the 59th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna from the 14-22nd March. The CND negotiated the outcome document to be approved at the 2016 UNGASS on the world drug problem, to be held on April 19-21 in New York.