The power of corporations has reached a level never before seen in human history, often dwarfing the power of states. That is why civil society organisations are backing the new UN initiative for a legally binding global treaty on transnational corporations and human rights.
Imagine a world in which all of the main functions of society are run for-profit by private companies. Schools are run by multinationals. Private security firms have replaced police forces. And most big infrastructure lies in the hands of a tiny plutocratic elite. Justice, such as it is, is meted out by shady corporate tribunals only accessible to the rich, who can easily escape the reach of limited national judicial systems. The poor, on the other hand, have almost no recourse against the mighty will of the remote corporate elite as they are chased off their land and forced into further penury.
The Sustainable Development Goals aim to achieve a world free from extreme poverty by 2030, as well as a reduction in inequality within countries. Although presented as two separate issues, these goals are interrelated in a fundamental way. In fact, the key finding of new research is that three-quarters of global poverty could be eliminated by addressing inequality and redistributing existing resources within developing countries.
As world leaders gear up for the first ever UN Summit on refugees and migrants, civil society organisations already expect the summit to fail to agree any concrete steps for governments to share the responsibility for dealing with the escalating crisis. That is why calls for putting the equitable sharing of responsibility into practice will continue well after the Summits, reports Josephine Liebl of Oxfam International.
As the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flore (CITES) gathers in Johannesburg for its 17th Conference of the Parties, Global Financial Integrity (GFI) releases new estimates on the link between wildlife trafficking and the global shadow financial system. From a forthcoming report, to be published in November 2016, GFI finds that wildlife trafficking generates an estimated US$5 to $23 billion in revenues each year.
At this year's UN General Assembly, world leaders launched an unprecedented effort to roll out universal social protection in countries all around the world. Heads of state, the World Bank Group and the International Labour Organization convened on Wednesday 21 September to launch the Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection, which aims to make pensions, maternity, disability and child benefits, among others, available to all persons, closing the gap for hundreds of millions currently unprotected worldwide.
The Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection brings together the African Union, FAO, the European Commission, Helpage, IADB, OECD, Save the Children, UNDP-IPC, UNICEF and others, along with Belgian, Finnish, French and German cooperation.
At a conference in Berlin on 29 June, the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, when asked about the situation of Deutsche Bank, said he was more concerned with the situation in Portugal. He added that if Portugal does not comply with EU budget rules, a new rescue program will be needed. It is not the first time that Schäuble has made this kind of statement about Portugal when questioned about Germany’s leading bank.
Read the article about how the German banks are saved ...
Memo to accountants: In the future, there are going to be fewer shadows and more sunlight in your world. Even investors are fed up with the opaque system in which you’ve thrived.
For much of the past 10 years, a mixture of espionage, intrepid journalism and political pressure has exposed financial practices that thrived in the dark but don’t do nearly as well when made public. Tax minimization schemes. Deals with low-tax governments. Complex legal structures that obscure ownership.
Now, a mixture of investor activism and public shaming is turning the international tax and financial system, which all but invites companies to move and stash money all around the world, into an agenda item for federal regulators, lawmakers — and perhaps prosecutors — in the coming years.
Today we launch a detailed proposal for a new era of collaboration between the United States and Mexico: bilateral regulation of temporary, lawful labor mobility across the border. I join with a diverse, five-star group of experts from both countries—chaired by Ernesto Zedillo, the former president of Mexico and Carlos Gutierrez, the US Secretary of Commerce under George W. Bush (as featured in the New York Times)—to say that it is time for a new vision of the shared future at our shared border. We offer specific ways to get there.
‘Five-Alarm Threat to Our Food Supply’: Monsanto-Bayer Merger Advances
Chemical and GMO giants agree on takeover offer worth $66 billion; mega-merger to be reviewed by antitrust agencies worldwide
Monsanto accepted Bayer’s $66 billion takeover offer—the largest all-cash deal ever—on Wednesday morning.
The left sometimes has problems in seeing the positive dimension of the news. True, the overall reality of today certainly does not look rosy. Inequality keeps growing, unemployment keeps rising, neoliberalism certainly is not dead. And right-wing populism continues to rise, while even some left-wing forces now seem to be convinced to follow the road of nationalism and protectionism.
Yet, there are signs something might be changing positively.
People not versed in the complexities of the diplomatic world of distorted mirror images in Geneva or Accra or Nairobi may wonder in awe at the agreements negotiated in their name by their representatives in multilateral forums like UNCTAD. But, truth be told, UNCTAD is in no position to deliver the mandate that it got in Nairobi.