A Memorandum of Understanding to establish the China Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) was signed by the governments of Myanmar and China in September 2018. The CMEC forms part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a 21st century reimagining of the ancient Silk Road, the network of land and sea trade routes that once linked Imperial China with markets in the west.
For around 13 years, on the Dutch Trade and Investment Board (a body that is not familiar to most of the Dutch public) top civil servants and company lobbyists have been discussing how the government can support the country’s international trade. Minutes reveal how lobbyists and ministers collaborated in reforming fiscal and development policies in favour of private interests. It’s an example of the power of ‘quiet politics’ of company lobbyists in the Netherlands, calling into question the country’s image as an exemplar of liberal, consensual corporatism.
What are the implications of the rise of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) for agrarian and environmental transformations, worldwide and in the BRICS countries in particular? This is the main issue with which the BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies (BICAS) has been concerned since 2013, when it was launched in Beijing by a collective of largely BRICS-based research institutions1.
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.
The recently-released “Myanmar Opium Survey 2018” by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) entails specific accusations against several of the conflict actors. This commentary explains how this further distorts, rather than reflects, the complex realities in Myanmar.
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.
This week, representatives of around 100 countries are meeting in New York to talk about investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). ISDS is a legal instrument that multinationals can use to sue governments for billions. External experts and observers fear that the new negotiations will amount to ‘old wine in new bottles’. They believe that those who benefit from this instrument (powerful states and top lawyers from the ISDS sector) are controlling the debate.
Del 1 al 5 de abril de 2019, representantes de unos 100 países se reunieron en Nueva York para hablar sobre el sistema de solución de controversias entre inversores y Estados (ISDS). El ISDS es un instrumento jurídico al que pueden recurrir las multinacionales para demandar a los Gobiernos y exigirles miles de millones de dólares. Observadores externos temen que las nuevas negociaciones se limiten a “poner vino nuevo en botellas viejas”. Consideran que quienes se benefician con este instrumento (países poderosos y abogados de élite especializados en el ISDS) están controlando el debate.
In 2012, citizens from Highland Park, Michigan came together to form Soulardarity in response to the repossession of over 1,000 streetlights from their city. Their goal is to organise for community-owned solar street lights, energy production and equitable development. Since its formation, Soulardarity has installed seven solar streetlights and deployed over US$ 30,000 worth of solar technology in Highland Park and the surrounding communities through the PowerUP bulk purchasing programme. The group has also organised advocacy at the city and state levels for regulation, policy and local political leadership to support community ownership, transparency and environmental responsibility.
Soulardarity also advocates for a Community Ownership Power Administration (COPA) as part of the growing call in the United States for a Green New Deal to tackle climate change, economic inequality and racial injustice.