Public Interest

The Law of Global Value Chains as Transmission Nodes for Global Inequality

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of the current patterns of production and consumption, exemplified by GVCs and the global trade and investment order in which they operate. These fragilities have resulted in the aforementioned social, economic and financial crises but what they represent most of all, is a crisis of responsibility in which powerful actors, state and private, that have been the main beneficiaries of GVCs, have failed to discharge their ethical and normative obligations to those most vulnerable within their production and supply chains. To this end, a new approach is sorely needed to address the vulnerabilities of a global economy built on fragile GVC governance that serves as new nodes of global inequality and precarity.

Webinar Series III: Intellectual Property Rights: Global Rules, Regional and Local Realities

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised salient questions about global intellectual property rights rules and their implementation at regional, sub-regional and national levels. These questions revolve around the tensions between private rights and the public interest. For example, how can governments employ flexibilities and other measures to facilitate access to pharmaceutical products including drugs, vaccines, test kits, personal protective equipment and related technologies? Or how can governments navigate the intersections of copyright and the right to education to promote access to educational materials for teaching and learning? Broader conceptual, practical, and institutional issues, foregrounded on fostering development-oriented intellectual property rights systems in the Global South, will be analysed from different perspectives.

The Case Against National Treatment in Africa

This analysis addresses the question whether it is constitutional and prudent for African states to agree to a treaty term such as national treatment, which limits their sovereign and constitutional powers to regulate in the public interest without having to account to foreign investors. The constitutions of many African states endorse the principle that sovereignty resides in the people.

An Exceptional International Intellectual Property Law Solution for COVID-19: Spurring Innovation to Facilitate Access to Affordable Medicines

The current international, regional and national architecture of Intellectual Property law confers privileges to foreign transitional interest blocks in order to profit from patents by extending, trademarks, copyrights and so on for longer periods of time. This legal enclave diminishes the possibility of developing technologies, including diagnostics, medicines, vaccines and other medical supplies vital to treating patients infected by COVID-19 and it hampers efforts to distribute them in a timely manner to all the countries currently affected by the pandemic. However, the creative elements of a new global system are emerging now, one characterized by coordination between WIPO, WTO and WHO.

Protection of ‘Digital Rights’ Amid Fight Against Covid-19: The Missing Responsibility of ICTs Platforms

The rapid development and spread of ICT are providing great opportunity to accelerate governmental response to the Covid-19 health crisis. At the same time, this development has exposed the weak enforcement of digital rights and freedoms. The emerging technologies have turned governmental control upside down . It has given a unique opportunity to the ICT platforms not only to govern themselves but also perform governmental functions of maintaining law and order albeit in the cyberspace. It has become double-edge sword for developing countries like India.

COVID-19, Preventative Measures and the Investment Treaty Regime

States could rely on secondary rules on State responsibility to defend preventative measures relating to COVID-19, yet their successful invocation depends on satisfying several conditions set out in the ILC’s Draft Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, a discussion of which is beyond the scope of this post. Meanwhile, the applicability of the doctrine of margin of appreciation, developed by the European Court of Human Rights, to the claims arising under BITs has been accepted, justifying why investment tribunals should pay deference to governmental judgments of national requirements in the protection of public health when the “discretionary exercise of sovereign power, [is] not made irrationally and not exercised in bad faith”

TWAIL’s Blind Spots Concerning International Investment Law

Third world approaches to international law (TWAIL) is part of the critical branch of international legal scholarship and an intellectual and political movement. It is not easy to engage with TWAIL because of its heterogeneity. TWAIL serves as a kind of umbrella category that includes different theoretical and often conflicting ideological traditions. However, at the cost of oversimplification, it may be argued that TWAIL represents an endeavour to comprehend the history, structure, and process of international law from the perspective of third world countries that includes both third world governments and third world people