Multistakeholderism has become a new buzzword for global governance, shaping standards for products, setting the rules for global initiatives and increasingly entering every arena of global governance including the UN. They are driven by transnational corporations to consolidate power and profits and have disturbing implications for democracy, accountability and for communities most affected by corporate human rights violations.
This article focusses on TNCs as global actors, the structures and mechanisms that grant them impunity for wrong doing, and the deepening and widespread popular resistance to TNC extractivism and destruction of the planet.
The UN Secretary General and the World Economic Forum signed on June 13 a Strategic Partnership Agreement for the implementation of the 2030 agenda (SDG). More than 240 organisations signed the following letter demanding the end of the agreement and denouncing it for formalising the corporate capture of the UN and moving towards an increasingly privatized and less democratic global governance.
The climate crisis is a manifestation of the systemic, capitalist crisis. We demand governments tackle the climate crisis by ending corporate power, facilitated by the trade and investment regime, that has long destroyed livelihoods and communities.
This corporate impunity has led to the wholesale looting of the biosphere, authoritarian responses and worsening social, political and environmental conflicts, particularly in the Global South.
Multistakeholder approaches are becoming ever more dominant, shaping standards for products, setting the rules for global initiatives and increasingly entering every arena of global governance including the UN. What is the driving force behind these initiatives? To whom are they accountable? What are the implications for social movements seeking to challenge unjust power relations within states and globally?
The Transnational Institute (TNI) in the Netherlands is issuing an open call for essays, accessible papers, infographics and artistic collaborations for its forthcoming State of Power report launched in late January 2020 to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos. The focus for our ninth annual edition is on 'The Corporation'.
No stakeholder-based global governance system comes close to matching the democratic legitimacy of a citizen-based and nation-state-based governance system, but there are ways global governance can and should be reformed.
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.
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.
Despite causing the worst financial crisis in decades, the financial sector emerged even stronger. TNI's eighth flagship State of Power report examines through essays and infographics the varied dimensions and dynamics of financial power, and how popular movements might regain control over money and finance.
For decades, affected communities around the globe have been resisting the modus operandi of transnational corporations (TNCs) in their territories and workplaces and documenting systemic human rights violations and the track record of corporate impunity with their lives and their deaths. Corporate impunity is embedded in and protected by an ‘architecture of impunity’ that legitimises and legalises the operations of TNCs. This architecture has been established through free trade and investment agreements, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the structural adjustment policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and other financial instruments and the aggressive push for public-private partnerships (PPPs). At the core of this architecture is the infamous investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system, a private arbitration system that allows TNCs to sue states whenever they consider that their future profits are threatened by new measures or policies aiming at improving social and environmental protection. Thus, it neutralises the function of the state, whose primary responsibility is to defend public interest and protect the well-being of its citizens and the planet from corporate interests.