Article prepared for the 'Global Capital, Global Rights' workshop convened by SFU and UBC. The text discusses civil society efforts in support of Bill C-300, legislation that sought to create accountability mechanisms regarding the provision of government support to Canadian extractive companies that operate overseas.
The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) recently devoted an edition of its magazine Report on the Americas to Canadian foreign policy in Latin America. The Canadian edition features an article by HI's Program Officer on Canadian mining investment in the region. The article describes recent efforts to reform domestic policy and law regarding the overseas operations of Canadian extractive companies. It focuses on current initiatives that seek to create accountability mechanisms for several government agencies that facilitate Canadian mining, oil and gas investments in the global South.
What’s changed in the international financial system and its institutions, what hasn’t and what needs to
Back in 1995, the G7 met in Halifax during a “time of change and opportunity.” The meeting took place in a context of mounting deficits and debt crises in countries in the South; in the wake of economic collapse in Mexico; and amid strong global criticism from civil society, the media and governments about the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) austere neo-liberal structural adjustment policies.
A lot has changed since then, partly in response to the Halifax G7 Summit and subsequent G7 and G8 meetings. Too many of these improvements, however, exist only on paper. Beyond the surface, the neo-liberal, market-oriented bias that guides the Bank and Fund’s agenda and thinking has not altered.
The 2010 G8 Summit in Toronto in 2010 takes place during another “time of change and opportunity.” The financial crisis has spurred many civil society organizations (CSOs) to insist on far-reaching changes to the global financial system and its institutions. Clearly, as this publication will illustrate, 15 years of refusing to deal with the manifest shortcomings of the global economic system is enough.
In 2000, the Halifax Initiative Coalition organized a conference on Transforming the Global Financial System. At that time, the prospect of alternative institutions and mechanisms to the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs), for funding international development, were very much a matter of theoretical debate.
Now, just seven years later, the landscape has changed dramatically. There are now new players in the field in the form of alternative institutions, such as the Bank of the South and the Chiang Mai initiative. There are alternative sources of development funding, for example through new bi-lateral donors from China, Brazil and India, or from private sources, such as the Bill Gates Foundation. There are alternative mechanisms for financing development and regulating financial flows, such as airline levies, advance market commitments and currency transaction taxes.
The Canadian Government, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund: A REPORT CARD on FINANCE CANADA’S 2007 ANNUAL REPORT to PARLIAMENT
Every year at the end of March, the Minister of Finance tables the “Report on Operations under the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act”. The Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 established the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). The annual report details Canadian priorities, commitments and interests over the past fiscal year at these institutions. The annual report to Parliament is an important tool for assessing the government’s actions within these institutions relative to its foreign policy and development objectives, and for informing Parliament and the Canadian public about Canadian priorities at these important multilateral fora. Canada is among a number of countries that report to Parliament on their activities at these institutions.
This paper examines international human rights law and officially-supported export credit agencies. It argues that under international law, specifically the principles of ‘state responsibility,’ the acts and omissions of export credit agencies are attributable to their states. States are therefore responsible under international law for the operations of their export credit agencies, including any ‘wrongful acts’ that these agencies may commit. Such wrongful acts may include violations of the state’s international human rights obligations. The paper argues that state obligations under international law are not currently being met in the provision of officially-supported export credit and investment insurance services. Moreover, the paper argues that through the operations of their export credit agencies, home states can be found complicit in the human rights violations of host governments.
The Canadian Government, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund:
A REPORT CARD on FINANCE CANADA’S 2006 ANNUAL REPORT to PARLIAMENT
Introduction Every year at the end of March, the Minister of Finance tables the “Report on Operations under the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act”. The Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 established the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), and this report details Canadian priorities, commitments and interests over the past fiscal year at these institutions. The annual reports to Parliament are important tools for assessing the government’s actions within these institutions relative to its foreign policy and development objectives, and for informing Parliament and the Canadian public about Canadian priorities at these important multilateral fora. Canada is among a number of countries that report to Parliament on their activities at these institutions.
Prepared by Özgür Can and Sara Seck, for the ECA-Watch, Halifax Initiative Coalition and ESCR-Net
International human rights law has traditionally focused on establishing the obligations owed by states to individuals. Much recent attention has been given to the question of whether non-state actors, such as transnational corporations, can be considered subjects of international law and as such duty bearers of international human rights obligations. However, less attention has been given to the equally significant question of whether financiers of transnational corporate activities have an obligation to ensure that the activities they support comply with international human rights norms. This paper will explore the international human rights obligations of one type of financial institution: officially supported export credit and investment insurance agencies (Export Credit Agencies or ECAs). ECAs are primarily public or publicly mandated institutions that support and subsidise national trade and investment activities, particularly in developing and emerging markets.