All over the world countries conclude agreements with each other in order to receive access to foreign markets. The Member States of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)* want to establish a common market in 2015 to promote economic growth. Officially ASEAN has formulated the goal of making this growth as sustainable, fair and inclusive as possible. However, in many cases local communities that depend on natural resources such as forests will be the victims of this agreement.
In March the Indonesian government announced that it will terminate the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with the Netherlands as of July 1st, 2015 (for more information, see the press release of 24 March at the bottom of this post). Several organizations, including Both ENDS, have been raising questions about these controversial international trade agreements for a long time and think they should be drastically revised or even terminated. The Socialist Party and GreenLeft have asked parliamentary questions about the effects of these treaties following Indonesia’s decision. Both ENDS is curious about the answers to these parliamentary questions and about the consequences they will have for Dutch policy in this area.
Countries could be facing a wave of cases from transnational corporations suing governments over actions taken to respond to the Covid pandemic using a system known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS. 630 organisations from across the world, representing hundreds of millions of people, are calling on governments in an open letter to urgently take action to shut down this threat.
The closing of the Barro Blanco dam last year caused not only material but also cultural damage in the affected Ngäbe-Buglé communities in Panama. So far, funder FMO is not taking responsibility for the human rights abuses caused by the project. So, what now?