Global Civil Society letter to UNCTAD Secretary General on Investment Issues

Delivery date: 
15 October, 2014

To:

 

Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Member States of UNCTAD

We the undersigned civil society organizations, representing constituencies from various regions of the world, write in concern about the implications of investment protection treaties on the prospects for sustainable development in our countries and regions.

Experience of both developing and developed countries has shown that the international investment protection regime, codified in a growing number of bilateral investment treaties (BITS) and investment chapters in free trade agreements, creates major impediments to sustainable development and the role of the state in protecting the public interest.

These challenges emerge out of both the imbalanced substantive provisions that these treaties set in place, as well as the problematic and expansive role of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). These tribunals, usually comprised of three private attorneys, are authorized to rule against public interest policies on the basis of broad foreign investor rights that surpass those afforded to domestic firms. The tribunals often order “compensation” to foreign corporations for the “expected future profits” that they believe were impeded by the challenged policies. There is no outside appeal. Many of these attorneys rotate between acting as tribunal "judges" and as the lawyers launching cases against the government on behalf of the corporations.

We have, in various fora, documented and highlighted many cases that reveal how the system encroaches on policy, regulatory and fiscal space. Through the dispute process, states’ regulatory efforts in the areas of health, environment and climate change, financial stability, water, labor rights, and agriculture among other areas have been challenged, with billions of dollars of taxpayer money already awarded to corporations, and with many billions more still pending. These awards, alongside the excessive legal costs incurred by states in defending such cases, have created an increasing burden on the taxpayers of our countries. UNCTAD’s monitoring of ISDS cases has made a significant contribution to the understanding of these problems. We have also been highlighting the severe implications of new trends fuelling ISDS, including third party funding and speculation over arbitral awards.

Our concerns take on a renewed importance given the ongoing negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development framework. Indeed, transforming the approach toward investment rules is essential for improving the policy space in developing countries and providing the enabling environment for the pursuit of development-oriented national objectives. When geared towards the achievement of national development goals and in the right policy context, investment can be an important tool of development; yet as UNCTAD’s TDR concludes “results do not support the hypothesis that BITs foster bilateral FDI.” 

We have welcomed the steps taken by several governments reviewing their policies on investment protection treaties, and seeking to find alternatives that do not unduly restrict the space of host governments to regulate in the public interest. 

We welcome the additional light that UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Report (2014) has shed onto the growing restrictions on policy space resulting from the investment protection rules. The TDR rightly highlights the need for change including through terminating or renegotiating investment treaties, and seeking alternatives in domestic laws and judicial systems.

We also welcome the ongoing efforts taken by the International Investment Agreements (IIAs) Team in UNCTAD’s Investment Division to support the formulation of investment policies and treaties that truly promote development.

We urge that the primary role of the Investment Division should be to provide the invaluable service to developing countries of increasing their knowledge of the impediments resulting from the unbalanced provisions of international investment treaties and in pursuing alternatives.

We urge greater coherence in the work of UNCTAD’s various divisions on these issues, through aligning their work with the long-established development perspective established over more than 30 years in UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Report.

Sincerely,

 

International Organizations and Networks

1

ActionAid International

ActionAid International is an international organisation, working with over 15 million people in 45 countries for a world free from poverty and injustice.

2.     

Association for Women’s Rights in Development

The Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) is an international, feminist, membership organization committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women's human rights.

3

Compassion in World Farming

Compassion in World Farming leads a growing worldwide movement of people concerned about how factory farming mistreats animals, wastes precious resources and utterly fails to meet the needs of the planet’s inhabitants.

4.     

Dignity International

Dignity International advocates with, connects, and supports the empowerment of deprived and struggling communities in claiming their human rights, and creating social justice around the world.

5

Friends of the Earth International (FoEI)

FoEI is the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, uniting 73 national member groups and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent. With over 2 million members and supporters around the world, FoEI campaigns on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues.

6

IBON International

IBON initiates and implements international programs, develops and hosts international networks, initiates and participates in international advocacy campaigns, and establishes regional and country offices. IBON strengthens links between local campaigns and advocacies to international initiatives.

7.     

International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)

The IUF is currently composed of 385 trade unions in 123 countries representing a combined representational membership of over 12 million workers (including a financial membership of 2.6 million). It is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

8.     

International Women’s Anthropology Conference (IWAC)

An international network of women involved in anthropology and related fields whose research and activities center on issues of concern to women.

9

LDC Watch

LDC Watch is a global alliance of national, regional and international civil society organisations (CSOs), networks and movements based in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

10

Medical Mission Sisters

Medical Mission Sisters were founded in 1925 in Washington, D.C. Our Community started with just four members, from three different countries. Over time, hundreds more women from around the world joined us in our mission of healing presence to those in need.

11.  

OpenMedia International

OpenMedia International brings the global pro-Internet community together, empowering people to participate in Internet governance through fresh and engaging citizens campaigns. We provide the Internet freedom movement with a platform to pressure leaders everywhere when bureaucrats and lobbyists threaten our digital future.

12

Oxfam International

Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations working together with partners and local communities in more than 90 countries.

13.  

Pax Romana ICMICA

The International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs was created in 1947 and now has members in more than 54 countries from every continent, as well as several contact groups and individual members.

14

People's Health Movement

The PHM is a global network bringing together grassroots health activists, civil society organizations and academic institutions from around the world, particularly from low and middle income countries (L&MIC) with a presence in around 70 countries.

15

Public Services International (PSI)

Public Services International (PSI) is a global trade union federation dedicated to promoting quality public services in every part of the world. PSI brings together more than 20 million workers, represented by 650 unions in 150 countries and territories. 

16.  

RIPESS - Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy

RIPESS is an intercontinental network that connects social and solidarity economy networks throughout the world.  As a network of networks, it brings together continental networks, which in turn bring together national and sectoral networks.

17

Social Watch Network

Social Watch is an international network of citizens’ organizations in the struggle to eradicate poverty and the causes of poverty, to end all forms of discrimination and racism, to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth and the realization of human rights.

18

Society for International Development (SID)

The Society for International Development (SID) is a global network of individuals and institutions concerned with development, which is participative, pluralistic and sustainable, with a network of individual and institutional members and local chapters in more than 50 countries worldwide.

19

Third World Network

Third World Network (TWN) is an independent non-profit international network of organisations and individuals involved in issues relating to development, developing countries and North-South affairs.

20

Transnational Institute

The Transnational Institute (TNI) of Policy Studies carries out radical informed analysis on critical global issues builds alliances with social movements develops proposals for a more sustainable, just and democratic world.

Regional Organizations and Networks

21.  

Campaign2015+ International

Africa

22.  

Global Network for Community Development

Africa

23.  

Africa Development Interchange Network (ADIN)

Africa

24.  

ARCADE

Africa

25.  

Association Panafricaine d'Alphabétisation et d'Education des Adultes (PAALAE)

Africa

26.  

Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF)

Africa

27.  

Economic News Africa

Africa

28.  

Third World Network Africa

Africa

29.  

Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI)

Africa

30.  

Asia Pacific Research Network

Asia

31.  

Asian Solidarity Economy Council (ASEC)/RIPESS Asia

Asia

32.  

Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)

Europe

33.  

Delegation of PODEMOS in the European Parliament

Europe

34.  

European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU)

Europe

35.  

European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)

Europe

36.  

Food & Water Europe

Europe

37.  

Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE)

Europe

38.  

European Federation for Transport and Environment

Europe

39.  

Asociación Latinoamericana de Medicina Social (ALAMES)

Latin America

40.  

Consejo Sindical Unitario de América Central y El Caribe (CSU)

Latin America

41.  

Friends of the Earth Latin America and Caribbean (ATALC)

Latin America

42.  

Mesa de Coordinación Latinoamericana de Comercio Justo

Latin America

43.  

Movimiento Mesoamericano contra el Modelo extractivo Minero (M4)

Latin America

44.  

Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD Regional)

Latin America

45.  

Red de Educación Popular Entre Mujeres de América Latina y el Caribe (REPEMLAC)

Latin America

46.  

Trabajadores del Estado y los Servicios Públicos

Latin America

47.  

Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND)

Middle East

48.  

The Gulf Economic Association

Middle East

49.  

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

North America

50.  

Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG)

Pacific

National Organizations and Networks

51.  

Social Watch Afghanistan

Afghanistan

52.  

Federación Argentina de Empleados de Comercio y Servicios (FAECYS)

Argentina

53.  

Foro Ciudadano de Participación por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos (FOCO)

Argentina

54.  

Center for the Development of Civil Society (CDCS) 

Armenia

55.  

Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network  (AFTINET)

Australia

56.  

National Tertiary Education Union, Australia

Australia

57.  

New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA)

Australia

58.  

Bahrain Transparency Society

Bahrain

59.  

Bangladesh Krishok Federation

Bangladesh

60.  

Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD)

Bangladesh

61.  

11.11.11- Coalition of the Flemish North-South Movement

Belgium

62.  

Centre d’Action Laïque de la Province de Liège

Belgium

63.  

Centre National de Coopération au Développement (CNCD-11.11.11)

Belgium

64.  

Centre Tricontinental (CETRI)

Belgium

65.  

CGSP wallonne (General Confederation for Public Services)

Belgium

66.  

Fédération des Résistances

Belgium

67.  

Le Monde Selon les Femmes

Belgium

68.  

Peuple et Culture Wallonie

Belgium

69.  

Dynamique des Organisations de la Société Civile d'Afrique Francophone

Benin

70.  

Groupe de Recherche et d'Action pour la Promotion de l'Agriculture et du Développement (GRAPAD)

Benin

71.  

Le Programme Globethics.net Francophone Africa (GEFA)

Benin

72.  

Le Réseau des Journalistes Économiques du Bénin (REJEB)

Benin

73.  

Plateforme des Acteurs de la Société Civile au Bénin (PASCiB)

Benin

74.  

Social Watch Bénin

Benin

75.  

Fundacion Solón

Bolivia

76.  

Instituto Justiça Fiscal

Brazil

77.  

Rede Brasileira Pela Integração dos Povos (REBRIP)

Brazil

78.  

Graine de Joie

Burkina Faso

79.  

Save the Earth Cambodia

Cambodia

80.  

Association of Canadian Financial Officers

Canada

81.  

Council of Canadians

Canada

82.  

Group of 78

Canada

83.  

Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad

Colombia

84.  

Corporación Cactus

Colombia

85.  

Friends of the Earth Costa Rica (COECOCEIBA)

Costa Rica

86.  

GCAP Czech Republic

Czech Republic

87.  

Social Watch Czech Republic

Czech Republic

88.  

Service de Renforcement et d'Appui aux Communautés de Bases et aux OSC SEARCOB en Sigle, Délégation Nationale OSCAF

Democratic Republic of the Congo

89.  

Social Watch DR Congo

Democratic Republic of the Congo

90.  

Confederación Nacional de Unidad Sindical (CNUS)

Dominican Republic

91.  

La Fundación Etnica Integral

Dominican Republic

92.  

ALBA Movimientos

Ecuador

93.  

Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.” (CSMM)

Ecuador

94.  

Fundación de Estudios, Acción y Participación Social (FEDAEPS)

Ecuador

95.  

Red Latinoamericana de Mujeres Transformando la Economía (REMTE)

Ecuador

96.  

Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)

Egypt

97.  

The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights

Egypt

98.  

Service Centre for Development Cooperation (KEPA)

Finland

99.  

Sherpa

France

100.         

Worldview

Gambia

101.         

Berlin Center for Research and Documentation Chile-Latin America (FDCL)

Germany

102.         

Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII)

Germany

103.         

PowerShift e.V.

Germany

104.         

World Economy, Ecology & Development (WEED)

Germany

105.         

EKPIZO

Greece

106.         

CEIBA

Guatemala

107.         

Coordinación de ONG y Cooperativas de Guatemala (CONGCOOP)

Guatemala

108.         

Les femmes entrepreneures et femmes d'affaire de la CEDEAO section Guinée (FEFA)

Guinea

109.         

Plateforme Haïtienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif (PAPDA)

Haiti

110.         

Hungarian Social Watch Coalition

Hungary

111.         

ActionAid India

India

112.         

Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union (APVVU)

India

113.         

Asha Parivar

India

114.         

Bharatiya Krishak Samaj (BKS)

India

115.         

Citizen News Service (CNS)

India

116.         

Consumers' Association from Kerala

India

117.         

Social Watch India

India

118.         

Madhyam

India

119.         

Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (West Bengal Agricultural Workers Union)

India

120.         

Vote For Health Campaign

India

121.         

Asosiasi Perempuan Indonesia untuk Keadilan (APIK)

Indonesia

122.         

Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ)

Indonesia

123.         

Institute Keadilan Global (Institute for Global Justice)

Indonesia

124.         

Migrant CARE Indonesia

Indonesia

125.         

Iraqi Al-Amal Association

Iraq

126.         

Presentation Justice Network

Ireland

127.         

Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL)

Italy

128.         

Mediterranean Institute

Italy

129.         

Campaign for Social & Economic Justice

Jamaica

130.         

Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies

Jordan

131.         

Dockworkers Union

Kenya

132.         

Kenya Debt Relief Network (KENDREN)

Kenya

133.         

Seed Institute Kenya

Kenya

134.         

Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), KENYA

Kenya

135.         

Citizen's Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ)

Korea

136.         

Humanitarian Group for Social Development (HGSD)

Lebanon

137.         

NGO Platform of Saida (Tajamoh)

Lebanon

138.         

Rassemblement des Femmes Democrates Libanaises (RFDL)

Lebanon

139.         

Consumers Association of Penang

Malaysia

140.         

Malaysian AIDS Council

Malaysia

141.         

Sahabat Alam Malaysia

Malaysia

142.         

Coalition Malienne des Acteurs Non Etatiques  sur l’ Accords de Partenariat Economique  (CMANE-AC)

Mali

143.         

Fondation pour le Développement au Sahel (FDS)

Mali

144.         

Social Watch Malta

Malta

145.         

L'association de l'Espace Culturel-Nouakchott

Mauritania

146.         

NTIC et Citoyennete/Maurifemme

Mauritania

147.         

ONG GLOBE

Mauritania

148.         

Point Focal de la Société Civile de Mauritanie

Mauritania

149.         

Réseau pour la Promotion de la Citoyenneté

Mauritania

150.         

Mauritius Trades Union Congress (MTUC)

Mauritius

151.         

Migration and Sustainable Development Alliance (MSDA)

Mauritius

152.         

Centro de Estudios Sociales y Culturales Antonio de Montesinos A.C. (CAM)

Mexico

153.         

Centro de Promoción y Educación Profesional Vasco de Quiroga, A.C.

Mexico

154.         

Grupo Tacuba

Mexico

155.         

Mujeres para el Diálogo A.C. (MpD)

Mexico

156.         

Otros Mundos, A.C.

Mexico

157.         

Red Nacional Género y Economía (REDGE)

Mexico

158.         

Siembra A.C

Mexico

159.         

Democracy Education Center (DEMO)

Mongolia

160.         

Espace Associatif

Morocco

161.         

Le Réseau Marocain pour la Défense des Biens Publics

Morocco

162.         

JOINT - National Coalition of NGOs

Mozambique

163.         

All Nepal Peasants Federation (ANPFa)

Nepal

164.         

Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN)

Nepal

165.         

Both ENDS

Netherlands

166.         

SOMO (Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations)

Netherlands

167.         

Vrijschrift

Netherlands

168.         

Wemos Foundation

Netherlands

169.         

L'Association Nigérienne des Scouts de l'Environnement (ANSEN)

Niger

170.         

Réseau des Organisations de Développment et Associations de Défense des Droits de l'Homme et de la Démocratie (RODADDHD)

Niger

171.         

CAFSO-WRAG for Development Nigeria

Nigeria

172.         

Centre for Human Rights and Climate Change Research

Nigeria

173.         

Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth

Nigeria

174.         

Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centre

Nigeria

175.         

l'Association Nigérienne des Scouts de l'Environnement (ANSEN)

Nigeria

176.         

Southwest Freedom of Information Act Network Nigeria

Nigeria

177.         

Ogoni Solidarity Forum

Nigeria

178.         

Association pour la Taxation des Transactions financière et l'Aide aux Citoyens (ATTAC) Norway

Norway

179.         

Norwegian Trade Campaign

Norway

180.         

The Development Fund

Norway

181.         

The Omani Economic Association

Oman

182.         

Civil Society Support Program (CSSP)

Pakistan

183.         

Dharti Development Foundation Sindh

Pakistan

184.         

Institute for Development Initiatives (IDI)

Pakistan

185.         

Palestinian Non-Governmental Organization Network (PNGO)

Palestine

186.         

Centro de la Mujer Panameña

Panama

187.         

DECIDAMOS, Campaña por la Expresión ciudadana

Paraguay

188.         

Central Unitaria de Trabajadores del Perú (CUT)

Peru

189.         

La Red Peruana por una Globalización con Equidad (RedGE)

Peru

190.         

Programa Laboral de Desarrollo (PLADES)

Peru

191.         

Red Peruana de Comercio Justo y Consumo Ético

Peru

192.         

Ecological Society of the Philippines

Philippines

193.         

Migrant Ministry and Program for Victims of Human Trafficking, The United Methodist Church

Philippines

194.         

People's Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS)

Philippines

195.         

Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement

Philippines

196.         

Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)

Philippines

197.         

Social Watch Philippines

Philippines

198.         

Southwest Philippines Annual Conference Board of Church and Society Mindoro

Philippines

199.         

Oikos – Cooperação e Desenvolvimento

Portugal

200.         

Plataforma Não ao Tratado Transatlântico

Portugal

201.         

GREENACT

Senegal

202.         

L'Association Nationale des Handicapés Moteurs du Sénégal (ANHMS)

Senegal

203.         

Le Mouvement Citoyen Wa Gokh Bi Thiaroye Pikine

Senegal

204.         

L'office Africain pour le développement et la coopération (OFADEC)

Senegal

205.         

Ongd AFRICANDO

Senegal

206.         

Cooperative and Policy Alternative Center

South Africa

207.         

South Durban Community Environmental Alliance

South Africa

208.         

Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO)

South Sudan

209.         

Association pour la Taxation des Transactions financière et l'Aide aux Citoyens (ATTAC) Spain

Spain

210.         

Ecologistas en Acción

Spain

211.         

Unión Universal Desarrollo Solidario

Spain

212.         

The Gender Studies Centre

Sudan

213.         

Alliance Sud

Switzerland

214.         

Health Innovation in Practice (HIP)

Switzerland

215.         

Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima (MVIWATA Farmers’ Union)

Tanzania

216.         

Social Agenda Working Group (Social Watch)

Thailand

217.         

FOSCAO - Togo

Togo

218.         

Groupe d’Action et de Recherche en Environnement et Développement

Togo

219.         

Humanitaire Plus

Togo

220.         

La ligue des consommateurs du Togo (LCT)

Togo

221.         

Ligue Togolaise des Drots de l'Homme (LTDH)

Togo

222.         

OSCAF

Togo

223.         

POSCAO

Togo

224.         

Syndicat Democratique Des Mines

Togo

225.         

WELFARE Togo

Togo

226.         

Development Network of Indigenous Voluntary Associations (DENIVA)

Uganda

227.         

Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) Uganda

Uganda

228.         

Jubilee Debt Campaign

UK

229.         

Traidcraft

UK

230.         

War on Want

UK

231.         

Friends of the Earth Uruguay (REDES)

Uruguay

232.         

Mujer y Salud en Uruguay (MYSU)

Uruguay

233.         

Third World Institute

Uruguay

234.         

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO)

USA

235.         

Center of Concern

USA

236.         

Citizens Trade Campaign (CTC)

USA

237.         

Consumer Action

USA

238.         

Food & Water Watch

USA

239.         

Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

USA

240.         

Friends of the Earth (FOE) U.S.

USA

241.         

Global Exchange

USA

242.         

Global-Local Links Project

USA

243.         

Global Policy Forum

USA

244.         

Health GAP (Global Access Project)

USA

245.         

Holy Cross International Justice Office

USA

246.         

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

USA

247.         

Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project

USA

248.         

Just Foreign Policy

USA

249.         

Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)

USA

250.         

Moana Nui Action Alliance

USA

251.         

National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA)

USA

252.         

Network for Justice in Global Investment

USA

253.         

Public Citizen

USA

254.         

Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)

USA

255.         

Sierra Club

USA

256.         

Small Planet Institute

USA

257.         

The Democracy Center

USA

258.         

United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries

USA

259.         

Family Youth Bridge Training Center

Vanuatu

260.         

Vanuatu Environment Advocacy Network

Vanuatu

261.         

Al-Jawf Women Organization For Development (ALJWOFD)

Yemen

262.         

Eastern and Southern Africa Small-Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF)

Zambia