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The open-ended working group (OEIGW) on transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprises with respect to human rights successfully held its second meeting in October 2016, in Geneva. The OEIGW was established by a Human Rights Council resolution adopted in July 2014. According to this resolution, the next meeting of the OEIGW, expected in October 2017, will see the Chairperson rapporteur “prepare elements for the draft legally binding instrument [on TNCs and other business enterprises with respect to human rights] for substantive negotiations” (hereinafter referred to as “the Instrument” or “binding Instrument”).

In the movie “The Big Kahuna,” the character played by Danny DeVito tells a young salesman that he does not have any character, “for the simple reason that you do not regret anything yet.” “Are you saying,” the young man asks, “that I won’t have character unless I do something that I regret?”  “No, Bob,” DeVito answers, “I’m saying that you’ve already done plenty of things to regret. You just don’t know what they are.” 

In an unprecedented and historic move, the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly recently granted observer status to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The resolution was submitted by France, Albania, Colombia, the Netherlands and Tunisia and was adopted during the seventy-first session of the General Assembly. The resolution sets out the ICC’s position as observer in the General Assembly from 1 January 2017 on.

For the first time, the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly (GA) has approved a business organization as an observer to the UN General Assembly. So far, the current list of non-Member States, entities and organizations with observer status in the General Assembly was mainly limited to non-Member States, like the Holy See and the State of Palestine, and intergovernmental organizations like the African Union and the OECD. Trade unions and civil society organizations are not on the list.

The South Centre recently published Research Paper No. 73: "Inequality, Financialization and Stagnation," authored by Dr. Yılmaz Akyüz, Chief Economist of the South Centre.

The failure of exceptional monetary measures pursued in response to the financial crisis in advanced economies to achieve a strong recovery has created a widespread concern that these economies suffer from a chronic demand gap and face the prospect of stagnation.  This paper reviews and discusses the alternative views on the causes of the slowdown in accumulation and growth and the policies implemented and proposed to deal with it.

The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits UN member states to “leave no one behind.” One crucial component of that commitment – encompassed in the International Labor Organization’s own agenda – is decent work for all. At a time when worker frustration and disillusionment is being expressed in elections across the world, this goal could not be more important.

Nowadays, the expectation that each generation will be better off than the previous one, both socially and economically, is no longer automatic. For many, downward mobility has become the new normal.

Little wonder, then, that long-simmering frustration with the way globalization has been handled and resentment at the unfair distribution of its gains have fueled the political backlash sweeping the world of late. This disillusionment arises, at least partly, from people’s own experience of work, whether exclusion from the labor market, poor working conditions, or low wages.


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