Collective Work

ESCR-Net - International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, coordinated by ESCR-Net’s Corporate Accountability Working Group, submitted remarks to the UN open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises, reaffirming its support for a legally binding instrument based on the third revised draft, with stronger provisions for corporate accountability. ESCR-Net emphasizes the need for urgent action by States to stop corporate capture, end corporate impunity, and establish effective mechanisms for remedying and compensating affected communities, including historically marginalized groups, with comprehensive attention to gender and diversity considerations.

From 24 - 28 October, a delegation of ESCR-Net members attended the 8th session of the negotiations for a Legally Binding Instrument on business and human rights (OIGWG). Alongside allies, members advocated for an instrument to regulate corporate power, and also against corporate capture of the treaty process and of the UN more generally.

ESCR-Net members, the Treaty Alliance; the Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples' Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and End lmpunity; the Feminists for the Binding Treaty and the Young Friends of the Treaty (YouFT) thank States present and remember them the urgency to advance in the process towards the adoption of the Legally Binding lnstrument.

Several social movements and civil society organizations have invested and/or continue to invest time engaging in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) by participating in consultations and promotional platforms. Most recently, through ESCR-Net's submission on corporate capture to the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (UNWG on BHR). After several years of engagement with the UNWG on BHR and in the UNGPs implementation process with its voluntary national action plans (NAPs), many have come to the same conclusion that the NAPs are not enough as a standalone tool for corporate accountability - particularly due to their voluntary nature.

As a critical complement to the UNGP process, we see it key that States mobilize their resources and efforts to champion the process to elaborate a legally binding instrument and, as a concrete first step, meaningfully and effectively engage in the Geneva intergovernmental negotiations from 24 - 28 October 2022. This year a delegation of members will be participating in Geneva's intergovernmental negotiations for a #BindingTreaty and will bring forward key demands the #BindingTreaty must address to #StopCorporateImpunity. Some of the key demands have been shaped by members' regional work, done in the lead up to the negotiations. 

As the pandemic and escalating climate crisis has exacerbated inequalities and reminded us of the centrality of care in our societies, ESCR-Net held a CSW66* parallel event entitled “Centering Care In a Feminist Intersectional Approach to Loss and Damage” (24 March 2022). During the event, women's rights advocates and feminist activists from across regions reflected on advancing action to ensure the rapid, equitable, ecologically sustainable, and just transition away from fossil fuels to a zero-carbon, regenerative care-based society focused on the well-being of people and the planet.

Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) are international agreements for the protection of intellectual property monopolies (including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets etc.) monitored by the World Trade Organization (WTO). TRIPS obligates member states to...

Nearly 200 ESCR-Net members and allies joined together to amplify the voices of our communities who have been most affected by the inequalities exacerbated by the WTO’s refusal to pass a comprehensive waiver on the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement on COVID-19 vaccines and therapies.  

ESCR-Net, Movement Law Lab, and The People’s Vaccine Alliance and Médecins sans frontières /Doctors Without Borders co-sponsor the Online Global Rally to put pressure on the World Trade Organization (WTO) and States who refuse to pass a meaningful vaccine waiver on life-saving COVID-19 vaccines and therapies.

Over 280 organizations and social movements united in ESCR-Net - International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), demand urgent answers from the World Trade Organization (WTO), States and pharmaceutical companies to the letters sent by the UN experts raising urgent questions about the measures they will undertake to facilitate universal and equitable access to vaccines. According to the World Health Organization, about 75% of the 5 billion vaccines already administered have been concentrated in just 10 countries, amid a mounting global pandemic death toll.

Statement by the Corporate Accountability Working Group on the occasion of the upcoming 7th session of the Open Ended IGWG on a treaty on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights.


Corporate Capture of Our Healthcare Systems Derails Health Equity

Download Full Document