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Our vision for global partnerships in the Post-2015 development agenda is rooted in a human rights based framework that prioritizes the dignity of people over corporate profit. We are calling for a partnership model for financing that engages all relevant stakeholders at the local, national and global levels as well as an end to binding free trade agreements such as the Transpacific Partnership currently under negotiation.
We point to the target under MDG 8: “to develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system” and support the on-going process to address the major focus areas covered in the Monterrey Consensus on FfD. But more must be done. Bi-lateral and multi-lateral trade agreements must not foster corporate profits at the expense of health and environmental sustainability. Rather these agreements must serve as a means for protecting labor rights and strong local economies that do not exploit workers. These priorities are currently threatened by the impending outcomes of the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) and similar agreements.
We are gravely concerned about the TPP – a pending free trade agreement between the Australian, US and other Pacific-country governments that will cover nearly a third of all global trade – a huge impact on global and domestic economies. Since 2002 over 600 corporate lobbyists and various heads of state have been meeting behind closed doors to negotiate the content of the TPP, a process that excludes input from many of the world’s governments and all of civil society. This allows corporations to insert their development objectives into the agreement that will enable them to realize huge profits while the livelihoods and health of people in the partnership countries are threatened.
We also understand one of its chapters is devoted to State-Investor Rights and contains language that will allow corporations to sue governments for any hindrance to expected profits – real or potential. Hundreds of lawsuits have been documented globally in similar trade agreements. These cases have significant economic impact, especially for developing countries thereby discouraging social and environmental policies that would serve to protect. Half of these lawsuits were initiated by oil, gas and mining corporations.
These treaties become particularly powerful tools as natural resource prices rise globally and governments seek to protect their people from negative impacts of extractive activity, but are up against much more powerful and unaccountable transnational corporations.
The international trade framework needs to support local democratic institutions and governance processes.
Therefore we call on the UN to address systemic trading issues in the Post-2015 development agenda. This is a critical time for reforming the global financial infrastructure, which underpins the potential for global partnerships as a means for strengthening the 3 pillars of sustainable development. Multilateral and bilateral trade agreements must include all relevant stakeholders – especially women, girls, indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups at the grassroots level. They must prioritize transparency mechanisms that respect the sovereignty of governments to protect their citizens’ rights. Conversely, governments must commit to good governance practices in the interest of their citizens and to promote development for all. We highlight the impending violations and inequalities that will emerge from agreements such as the TPP and are calling for development justice now.
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Loretto Community at the United Nations
777 United Nations Plaza, Suite 6E
New York, NY 10017
Loretto at the United Nations educates future global citizens, advocates on the international level for the needs of our constituents, and promotes climate justice.