Global food shortages will become three times more likely as a result of climate change according to a report by a joint US-British taskforce, which warned that the international community needs to be ready to respond to potentially dramatic future rises in prices.
Food shortages, market volatility and price spikes are likely to occur at an exponentially higher rate of every 30 years by 2040, said the Taskforce on Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience.
The South Centre is pleased to announce the publication of Investment Policy Brief No. 5 entitled “Ecuador’s Experience with International Investment Arbitration” by Andres Arauz G., currently Minister of Knowledge and Human Talent in the Republic of Ecuador. At the time of writing the article, Mr. Arauz was serving as Deputy Secretary for Planning and Development of Ecuador.
The brief reviews Ecuador’s experience with investment treaties and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). The paper explains the historical and geopolitical context of the decisions Ecuador has taken in regard to bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and ISDS. The author notes that a number of treaties did not fulfill the constitutional and legal ratification processes.
The brief also explains the role of the audit commission on BITs and arbitration set up by Ecuador. It discusses some of the most contentious provisions in investment treaties, including the definition of investor, indirect expropriation, and fair and equitable treatment. It also reflects on some of the ISDS cases Ecuador has faced in the last decade.
The brief highlights a series of national, regional and global alternatives currently pursued by the Ecuadorean government. It describes how the world is transitioning to an alternative investment regime, concluding that there is always an alternative.
The brief is part of a new investment policy brief series by the South Centre that focuses on developing country experiences with international investment treaties and the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. This policy brief series also tackles lessons learned from ISDS cases, including how international investment agreement provisions have been approached and interpreted by arbitral tribunals.
To access the policy brief directly, go to this webpage: http://www.southcentre.int/investment-policy-brief-5-august-2015/.
With the outcome document for the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) now submitted, the development community turns to the final piece of the SDG agenda: the indicators. While the goals and targets have endured unending negotiations, from the Open Working Group to all UN member states, the underlying indicators have largely remained a big question. It’s now time to turn to that question.
After more than half a decade of debate dominated by the global financial crisis, 2014 saw a departure from this singular focus. Thomas Piketty started a global discussion about historical patterns of inequality and their negative repercussions. And looking to the future rather than back in time, The Second Machine Age by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed how the digital revolution is about to transform our economic and social lives. The key problem for policymaking is that these technology-driven developments are certain to further increase existing inequalities and to create new ones at a time when, as Piketty has shown, we have already returned to historically high levels
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Just ten days after the UN’s International Conference on Financing for Development, and just in time for the endorsement of the new sustainable development agenda, a UN Committee has agreed on a set of principles to guide further sovereign debt restructuring processes. The new UN principles were inspired by the devastating bank bailouts in Greece, and by the vulture fund lawsuits that Argentina faced at US courts. They build on preparatory work done by an expert group convened by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and, subject to approval by the UN General Assembly (UN GA) in early September, will be the first step towards a new multilateral debt restructuring framework that aims to prevent future debt crises, or at least manage them better.
At about a quarter to seven on the evening of Sunday, Aug. 2, the member states of the United Nations adopted the post-2015 development agenda outcome document, titled “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda.”
As governments endorsed the 29-page product resulting from almost two years of transparent and relatively democratic negotiations, the final 48 hours had witnessed a very different story, that of a sharp turn towards closed-door consultations and last-minute bargaining chips.
This new report outlines the broad features of alternative policy approaches to foreign direct investment (FDI) and the policy perspectives embedded in IIAs. It provides a critique of IIAs with respect to their structure and core provisions, particularly investor-state dispute settlement provisions. The paper also provides an overview of the results of studies on the relationship between IIAs and FDI flows, underlining that most studies are unable to demonstrate a clear relationship between signing IIAs and receiving greater flows of FDI. At best, the relationship is ambiguous, and IIAs are neither necessary nor sufficient to attract FDI, according to the author.
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Private, for-profit schools in Africa funded by the World Bank and U.S. venture capitalists have been criticized by more than 100 organizations who’ve signed a petition opposing the controversial educational venture.
A May statement addressed to Jim Kim, president of the World Bank, expressed deep concern over the global financial institution’s investment in a chain of private primary schools targeting poor families in Kenya and Uganda and called on the institution to support free universal education instead.
On July 16th, governments adopted the Outcome of the Third Conference on Financing for Development, held in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), called the “Action Ababa Action Agenda” (AAAA or the “Outcome”).
The broad-based disappointment of civil society with an outcome document that has very little to welcome was evident in statement after statement, including the collective one issued by the hundreds of CSOs in the Financing for Development Group. A number of process failures – that some delegates confessed to have never seen in a UN process before — converged to reach the poor outcome.
The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax is a taskforce of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. It was given additional powers by the world’s leading powers following the global financial crisis.
Moves against tax havens and off-shore centres across the world had gone into abeyance for some time. But the new impetus meant many countries now aim to share information about their citizens and corporations.
Member States of the UN reached agreement on the outcome document that will constitute the new sustainable development agenda, to be adopted at the UN Conference in New York end of September 2015.
The objective is to end poverty by 2030, to promote shared economic prosperity and to protect the environment.