The Central Asian States should learn to rely on international law, more proactively and consistently, as a tool for advancing their lawful interests, and for maintaining regional and international peace and security. Kazakhstan’s recent membership in the UN Security Council (2017-2018) was an excellent occasion to promote respect for international law at the regional level. Other recent examples of such reliance include the adoption of a Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea in 2018, or an ongoing reform of criminal law and procedure in Uzbekistan.
COVID-19 generated a new buzz around our work and renewed interest in the study of vulnerability. Since then, we have reappraised our initial piece, with the intention of moving beyond its conceptual foundations toward a more practical and concrete application of the work. We realized however, that for many, there is curiosity around the TVI project, and ultimately what we are trying to achieve through it. In this reflective piece, we present briefly the TVI in a nutshell – its aims, methodology and conceptual premises – and then provide initial thoughts on the way forward under our TVI project.
The Mozambique scandal shows how much damage irresponsible lending can cause. A citizen or a class of citizens injured by an irresponsible loan should be able to pursue a civil suit for damages against the responsible government officials and lender or lenders: i) in the country where one or more of the lenders is headquartered, ii) the country where one or more of the branches or subsidiaries that extended or approved the loan is located, or iii) in any country where the lender or lenders have a substantial presence.
For the fiscal contract to be effective post-COVID-19, all parties to the contract must actively seek to engage on fairer terms. The terms must be implemented, in good faith and, with consideration to the economic and social realities created by the pandemic. A one-sided execution of the contract either by the government or the taxpayer would not cut it. After all, it takes two to tangle, and you can’t clap with one hand.
From a human rights perspective, ‘a new normal’ like COVID-19 should generate tremendous change. It is important that, in the midst of this crisis, we keep an eye on the future and begin to forge a better Nigeria that works for our vulnerable and marginalised citizens. Although we are uncertain of how the post- COVID-19 world will look like, our aim is to come out of it stronger and united.
Distribution-based approaches require a normative principle that integrates distributive justice considerations in a way that the predominant normative framework does not. If taxing rights are to be allocated based on distributional consequences, broader attention to the role of international tax in perpetuating or reducing international inequality is warranted.
Traditional medicines have an equally important role as vaccines, therapeutics and medical devices protected through classical IPRs such as patents. For this reason, it is important to include traditional medicines within the scope of IPR protection, including within the WTO’s TRIPS Agreement. Doing so would go beyond the classical debate of protecting medicines, vaccines and therapeutics mainly through patents as currently understood within the TRIPS Agreement.
Currently, the world finds itself at a crisis point. The global health pandemic caused by COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we live, how we run our economies and even, how we teach and research IEL. In the post-COVID world, old rules and games may not apply any more. The scholarly interventions presented in the IEL Collective symposia offers tools for a new, pragmatic internationalism – one based on critical reflection, methodological diversity and contributes towards the development of a more holistic landscape of scholarship on law and the governance of the global economy.
International law constructed along the voluntarist orthodoxy doesn’t help in the time of pandemic. It leaves the poorer at the good will of the mighty, for it largely ignores the actual power relations between states. The inter-state deals struck “voluntarily” and the policy choices thus fixed reflect the bargaining power of the States. This being the case, the international law is likely to reinforce and perpetuate inequalities, rather than being a check against the use of political power. As the post-corona crisis is likely to strike the poorest nations hardest, the bright future for some may mean dim prospects for others.
To mitigate the risk of speculation, I have proposed that the international community should create a Debts of Vulnerable Economies Fund (a “DOVE” fund) to help African countries deal with their private sector debt. The fund could be created by an African institution such as the African Development Bank or the African Union. The fund should be financed by governments, foundations, financial institutions, companies and individuals. In order to demonstrate its independence from both debtor countries and creditor institutions it should be managed by an independent board representing all stakeholders.