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.
International Covenant on Economic
The shortcomings of the current legal and policy framework does not mean that responses to COVID19 should be lacking. Instead, there is adequate room for responses as we learn lessons and take notes to do better. The best way to move policy and law is to ensure that it is constantly reviewed to make sure they serve their purpose.
Scholars tend to participate in the International Investment Law (IIL) and human rights debate using a thorough knowledge and expertise of their respective legal disciplines. In addition, they frame this discussion within the paradigms privileged by each legal community. Nevertheless, the problem with cross-disciplinarity in research and discourse is that IIL and human rights scholarship subordinates “the other” field of research to its own approaches and methods and in doing so, both reduce its counterpart’s receptiveness towards the IIL reforms they consider appropriate depending on their understanding of what IIL should be.
Attracting foreign investment while holding transnational corporations to account for any human rights transgressions is by no means an easy feat. It will require that a careful balance be struck between the interests of the host State and its people, and that of private actors expecting good risk-return ratios in pursuit of the bottom line. Although international mechanisms such as the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have long endorsed accountability for transnational corporations, a zero draft international convention to regulate this issue has only recently been developed.
It is crucial to incorporate both a balanced approach and a human rights perspective into the negotiations on intellectual property in the context of the AfCFTA. In this regard, it should be noted that the TRIPS Agreement gives countries considerable flexibility with regard to how they can choose to protect plants and new plant varieties because Article 27(3)(b) of the TRIPS Agreement permits countries to exclude plants from patentability although it requires them to provide protection for plant varieties either by patents or by an effective sui generis system or by any combination thereof.