Bridging Trade, Investment, Finance and Human Rights: A Pilot Project in Agriculture

The Center of Concern and ESCR-Net are spearheading a pilot project on trade, finance, investment and human rights. The goal of the project is to increase the impact of human rights advocates on policy-making processes on trade, investment and finance, with a particular focus on agriculture. The project is doing this by building the capacity of human rights advocates to effectively influence economic policy-making on trade, investment, and finance, strategically use their resources to influence this policy-making, and strengthen their collaboration with diverse groups worldwide already working on trade, investment and financial policy issues. One important virtue of this approach is that it will address trade, investment and finance policies in a holistic way, providing the basis for an integrated paradigm to assess the human rights obligations of financial, investment and trade organizations as well as governments. Another virtue is that, while the sector chosen for the pilot experience is agriculture, the project is amenable to replication in other sectors of the economy (manufacturing, services, etc.), thus opening the space for a transformative impact of the human rights community in each of these sectors. Representatives from the following human rights and trade organizations are participating, including Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales-CELS, Argentina, DECA Equipo Pueblo, Mexico, Instituto Latinoamericano de Servicios Legales Alternativos-ILSA, Colombia, Terra de Direitos, Brazil, Land Center for Human Rights, Egypt, Kenya Human Rights Commission, Kenya, Women in Law in Southern Africa, Zambia, Southeast Asian Council for Food Security and Fair Trade-SEACON, Malaysia, Forum Asia-Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, Thailand, International Gender Trade Network, Philippines, and Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute-SEATINI, Uganda.

A set of Guidelines for a Human Rights Approach to Economic Policy in Agriculture have been developed  by participating organizations. In addition, participants have begun to use the Resource Manual developed throughout the course of the project on Bridging Trade, Investment, Finance and Human Rights in Agriculture, which provides key information and resources to those interested in integrating these tools into their capacity-building workshops at the national and regional levels. Following a full-year testing period with this Resource Manual, participants will share their experiences, cases and lessons learned in order to strengthen the Manual for future use by ESCR-Net members and partner organizations.

Working Group Description: