Tension between investment protection and right to regulate has not been resolved yet and it is even more dangerous when States take measures in order to target health, social and economic effects of the covid-19 pandemic. Facing investor-State dispute resolution reform, an approach from Martha Fineman's vulnerability theory is imperative. Placing human being (vulnerable subject) as the center of the analysis, right to regulate protection should be a pre-stage for building resilience from social institutions. Therefore, States would not be at risk of compromising their budgets in international arbitration or experiencing “regulatory chill
How States proceed with building consensus to create a social contract that facilitates effective taxation, especially in the light of the massive disruptions caused by the pandemic will require continuous engagement by all parties. Success will perhaps depend on how proactively and quickly countries and the international taxation system unlearn old habits and begin to ascribe to the new normal way of doing things.
The ongoing negotiation of a business and human rights treaty represents without a doubt a complex political and legal challenge, where diverse aspects – economic, diplomatic and juridical– must be agreed upon between negotiating States with very different geopolitical positions. Despite the realpolitik involved, this process presents an opportunity to refineand reinforce State obligations vis-à-vis the domestic regulation of business activities, as well as to improve access to justice for victims of transnational corporate human rights abuses.
The debate to what extent the societies are willing to allow the relativization of human rights and the democratic mechanisms is essential to bring what Boaventura de Sousa Santos calls “a novel clarity” that according to him: “[…]pandemic clarity and the apparitions it brings to light. The things it allows us to see and the way in which they are interpreted and assessed will determine the future of the civilization in which we live”.
The suspension of operations as a result of government measures towards curbing Covid-19, should not be encouraged. Competition agencies must remain vigilant in protecting vulnerable consumers with no bargaining power from unscrupulous businesses. Further, while cartel conduct is per se illegal, it is the responsibility of the competition agencies to provide the business community with guidance on how they can operate during the crisis and at the same time comply with competition law. Covid-19 has also proved to us that, competition agencies need to reinvent their enforcement including the adoption of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and investing in the security and privacy concerns of the people. Integration of technology is no longer a choice.
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.
The opening quote taken from the G20 Ministerial Statement is a welcome acknowledgment by the most powerful that some countries and citizens lay greater claim to the title of “vulnerable” than others. However, it is not enough. Prime Minister Mottley’s clarion call for global leadership in this area and application of the vulnerability index is one we have wholeheartedly embraced. Through our TVI, we are proposing tangible and effective ways to cater to the patent vulnerabilities of countries in regions like the Caribbean and Africa.
In this blog, I continue discussing the broad understanding of informality while briefly touching on informal enterprise. And I hope to, simultaneously, point out a couple of proposed solutions to challenges of the informal economy in Africa. My very strong suggestion, though, is that African countries should embrace informality as a reality on the continent.
In the grander scheme of things, amidst the crisis of climate change in which the vulnerability of Africa continues to unravel, Africa remains a preferred choice of FDI in agriculture for the export of green energy and for food. This situation raises concerns about displacements, conflicts, shrinking traditional landraces and continental food security writ large. The traction for agricultural FDI comes through the scheme of large scale agricultural land acquisitions, which activists framed as agricultural “land grabs”.
By infusing international economic law curriculum both with doctrinal and policy-based critical analysis future African legal experts will not only understand what the rules of international economic law are but also be able to challenge the assumptions and biases of those rules that work to the determinate of their respective states. While encouraging black-letter law teaching it should also be a requirement for students to take non-doctrinal international economic law courses.