International Trade, Investment, and Finance Institutions
The World Trade Organization
The WTO came into being on 1 January 1995, as an international institution able to make binding trade rules and as a set of agreements between member States, building on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). In addition to new rules on agriculture and textiles, the WTO also incorporated the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In addition, the WTO also created a Dispute Settlement Understanding, which allowed for enforceable decisions by WTO panels and it's Appellate Body.
For more human rights-related information on the WTO:
- Practical Guide to the WTO for Human Rights Advocates ( 3-D-> Trade - Human Rights - Equitable Economy and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development - FORUM-ASIA ): Published in December 2004, this guide provides an accessible, accurate and practical insight into the World Trade Organization (WTO) for human rights advocates.
- Understanding Global Trade & Human Rights ( FIDH- International Federation for Human Rights ): Report and Resource Guide for National Human Rights NGOs
in view of the 2005 WTO Ministerial Conference [ English , French ]
- WTO-Human Rights Caucus Listserv: For those eager to organize around ongoing WTO negotiations, the WTO-Human Rights Caucus has a listserv to discuss related issues and to coordinate efforts around WTO Ministerials. To join this listserv, persons are encouraged to send an email to Carole Samdup ( firstname.lastname@example.org ), at Rights and Democracy . A Statement of the Human Rights Caucus was prepared for the Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong.
- Aaronson, Susan Ariel. Submission to John Ruggie - Summary of Effect of World Trade Organization Rules on Business Ability to Meet Human Rights Responsibilities and upon the State Duty to Protect, (2008), 16 pages. Last access on September 29, 2008.
- Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law & Justice, New York University School of Law. The Law of the World Trade Organization Through the Cases: Teaching Materials for Academic Year 2007/2008, (2007). Last access on October 15, 2008.
- Sanchez, Michelle. Brief observations on the mechanisms for NGO participation in the World Trade Organization, Sur - International Journal on Human Rights, No. 4, (2006), 29 pages. Last access on May 1, 2008.
- Shaffer, Gregory / Sanchez, Michelle Ratton / Rosenberg, Barbara. Brazil's Response to the Judicialized World Trade Organization Regime:Strengthening the State through Diffusing Expertise, International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development, (2006), 66 pages. Last access on October 15, 2008.
- Dommen, Caroline. The WTO, International Trade, and Human Rights, In: Windfuhr, Michael, (ed.), Beyond the Nation State - Human Rights in Times of Globalization. Uppsala: Global Publications Foundation, (2005), 16 pages. Last access on April 21, 2008.
- Rights & Democracy. Human Rights: The WTOs Missing Development Agenda, (2003), 8 pages. Last access on April 30, 2008.
- Taillant, Jorge Daniel. Human Rights, Environment and the World Trade Organization, Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA), (2001), 11 pages. Last access on April 21, 2008.
- Howse, Robert / Mutua, Makau. Protecting Human Rights in a Global Economy: Challenges for the World Trade Organization, Rights and Democracy, (2000). Last access on April 30, 2008.
- International Coalition of Human Rights Institutions on Trade and Investment (ed.). Human Rights and Economic Globalisation: Directions for the World Trade Organization, Uppsala: Global Publications Foundation, (1999). Last access on April 21, 2008.
The World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides leveraged loans to poorer countries for capital programs, tied to neoliberal market restructurings. The World Bank has a stated goal of reducing poverty. The World Bank is one of two major institutions created as a result of the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, and has changed several times over its history. Initially the bank carefully screened applicants and undertook a low level of funding. Beginning in the late 1960s, the number of borrower nations and the size of loans increased as the bank expanded beyond infrastructure projects into funding social service and other programs. This resulted in a large increase in state debt level in the global South. Today it is part of the World Bank Group which also includes the International Finance Corporation and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.
The World Bank Group is a consortium of various international financial institutions, including the World Bank. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is a member of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, DC. Established in 1956, IFC is the largest multilateral source of loan and equity financing for private sector projects in the developing world. It promotes private sector development primarily by financing private sector projects and companies located in the developing world, helping private companies in the developing world mobilize financing in international financial markets, and providing advice and technical assistance to businesses and governments. Within the IFC, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman hears claims of adverse social or environmental impact, including any human rights abuse, resulting from a project the IFC finances or is otherwise associated with.
Lastly, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), is an institution in the World Bank Group and was established in 1966 pursuant to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the ICSID Convention or Washington Convention). As of May 2005, 155 countries had signed the ICSID Convention. ICSID has an Administrative Council, chaired by the World Bank's President, and a Secretariat. It provides facilities for the conciliation and arbitration of investment disputes between member countries and individual investors.
For more human rights-related information on the World Bank:
- Herz, Steven / Genovese, Kristen / Herbertson, Kirk / Perrault, Anne. The International Finance Corporation's Performance Standards and the Equator Principles: Respecting human rights and remedying violations? Bank Information Center / BankTrack / Center for International Environmental Law / Oxfam Australia / World Resources Institute, (August/2008), 15 pages. Last access on October 1, 2008.
- Herz, Steven. The Role and Responsibilities of International Financial Institutions with Respect to Human Rights and Their Relevance to the Private Sector, Washington, D.C.: Bank Information Center, (February/2007), 13 pages. Last access on October 1, 2008.
- Halifax Initiative Coalition. Private Sector Lending and the World Bank Group, Issue Brief, (June/2006), 4 pages. Last access on July 29, 2008.
- Halifax Initiative Coalition. The International Finance Corporation's Performance Standards, Issue Brief, (June/2006), 4 pages. Last access on July 29, 2008.
- Halifax Initiative Coalition. World Bank Extractive Industries Review - Lessons learned (and promptly ignored), Issue Brief, (April/2006), 4 pages. Last access on July 29, 2008.
- Van Genugten, Willem. Tilburg Guiding Principles on the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Human Rights, In: Genugten, Willem van / Hunt, Paul / Mathews, Susan (eds). World Bank, IMF and Human Rights. Nijmegen: Wolf Legal Publishers, (2003), p. 247-255. Last access on April 29, 2008.
- Taillant, Jorge Daniel. Human Rights and the International Financial Institutions, Paper for The Sustainable Justice 2002: Implementing International Sustainable Development Law, (2002). Last access on September 18, 2008
- Leite, S.P. Human rights and the IMF, Finance and Development, Vol. 38, No. 4, (2001). Last access on May 1, 2008.
- Clark, Dana. "A Citizen's Guide to the World Bank Inspection Panel," Center for International Environmental Law, (1999), 30 pages. Last access on April 29, 2008.