News / 28 November 2011

‘No more corporate privileges’ - Week of Action on Investment Treaties

More than 100 international experts and social activists gathered from 5-8 November in Brussels, Belgium, for a 'Week of Action' to call attention to the negative effects of International Investment Treaties (IIA) on human rights and the environment.

Critical approach
For four days, activists, lawyers and academics from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Latin America intensively worked together in Brussels on a joint critical approach to the current international investment regime and on alternative models that support sustainable development. "An exceptional conference," says Burghard Ilge of Both ENDS, present in Brussels during the Week of Action. "Never before, so many experts and activists came together to throw light upon the various aspects of investment treaties from different angles and to develop a common strategy."

Sustainable development

During the 'Week of Action', several debates with MEPs and members of the European Commission and Council were on the program. The EU and its Member States highly value the so-called Investment Protection Agreement as a means to encourage foreign investment. The EU sees foreign investment as a development strategy; these would supposedly bring growth and thus development to developing countries. NGOs around the world firmly criticize this argument. As it happens, the treaties are foremost beneficial to big international corporations and in fact undermine the ability of national governments to achieve sustainable development.

No more privileges

Besides the series of discussions with policy makers, presentations, argumentation training sessions and workshops focusing on capacity and strategy building, a short and snappy protest was organised. Summarising its position, a group of activists chanted on the square in front of the buildings of the European Commission: "No more corporate privileges - change EU Investment Policy now!"

For more information on the conference:

Seattle to Brussels Network

Transnational Institute


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