The Transnational Institute (TNI) attends the 59th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna from the 14-22nd March. This storify features tweets, blogs and news from the event. Our team in Vienna includes Martin Jelsma, Pien Metaal and Tom Blickman.
We are proposing a binding mechanism to allow people access to medicines and hold Transnational Corporations (TNCs) responsible for violating a human right if they block their access. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is one of the pillars of global corporate power, that we are countering with the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power.
This timeline draws on The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibition that described the history of international control, how cannabis was included in the current UN drug control system and the subsequent defections by countries and states that have brought the international treaties to breaking point. As the UN gathers for a special session on drug policy in 2016, TNI is calling for a revision of the treaties to be based on scientific evidence and embodying principles of harm reduction and human rights.
Many countries continue to incarcerate and criminalise people for possession or use of drugs, with criminalisation alone undermining employment, education and housing opportunities. In addition, many people who use drugs are often subject to human rights abuses by the state in jurisdictions which continue to criminalise them. The continued targeting of this group has not only a negative impact on the individuals in question, but their families and broader society as a whole.
Countries around the world have reached a critical moment in the fight against climate change. Last year, hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets demanding climate action, more than 190 countries reached a climate agreement in Paris, and renewable energy became more affordable and accessible to communities across the globe. Meanwhile, in sharp contradiction to that, countries negotiated new trade deals that would empower fossil fuel corporations to undermine the exact climate and conservation policies that are needed to tackle the climate crisis.
Privatisations of state-owned assets have become a central plank of EU/Troika agreements with debtor nations such as Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal, but there has been little examination of their track record nor an examination of who really benefits. This report puts a spotlight on the legal and financial corporate giants making millions out of the new wave of privatisations across Europe.
Demands for tax justice have resounded worldwide, with growing anger at the tax practices of corporations such as Google and Starbucks. Yet trade and investment agreements are already constraining the ability of governments to impose fair tax deals and with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) this could become worse.
The concepts of “accumulation by dispossession” and “ocean grabbing” are applied to East Africa in order to explain the ongoing dispossession of small scale fisheries. The emergence of a corporate (sea) food regime can be traced, posing challenges for terrestrial food sovereignty via land grabbing and ocean grabbing.
“Sustainable citizenship”: To what extent is such an idea and promotion of sustainability actually sustainable and can it contribute to decreasing climate change? Or can and should it rather be dismissed as a neoliberal strategy to control consumers and their choices? And which subjects do actually get such citizen responsibilities?
The recent political and economic liberalization in Burma/Myanmar, while indicative of some positive steps toward democratisation, has increased foreign and domestic investments and geared the economy toward industrialisation and large-scale agriculture. Land governance procedures and implementation tend to favour the more powerful and well-connected, with little protection mechanism for the majority smallholding farmers in the country.
Governments are facing an existential crisis with respect to food security. What is their role in ensuring local food security and supporting domestic agricultural sectors, and particularly small- scale farmers, while the world is increasingly looking to market-based solutions to meet global food security needs?
In light of the April 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS), a change of the global order on drug policy should be made. Any outcome of UNGASS will have essential developmental impacts on Afghanistan’s economy and especially on those involved in the agricultural production side of the opium economy that is farmers and farm-workers.
Zoe Brent, Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Gonzalo Colque, Sérgio Sauer
04 February 2016
The approval of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security in 2012 marked a historic victory. The high level of participation of civil society organizations and social movements in the negotiation of every word of this text sets this global policy document apart from the majority of other initiatives of this nature, to date.
Joan Martinez‐Alier, Leah Temper, Daniela Del Bene, Arnim Scheidel
04 February 2016
Changes in the economy economy in terms of growing flows of energy and materials are leading to the existence of a rural and urban global movement for environmental justice. And not only complaints, there are also many successful examples of stopping projects and developing alternatives.