Photo: Marten van Dijl/Milieudefensie

The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) and SOMO are pleased to announce the launch of a new project—Challenging Corporate Capture within International Trade and Investment Settlement Mechanisms.

International trade and investment dispute settlement mechanisms, namely the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism and the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system established through International Investment Agreements (IIAs), have enormous power in shaping rules and practices of trade and investment, both at the national and international level. However, the processes by which these mechanisms have been developed, the rules they have created, and decisions made are opaque and often dominated by powerful corporate interests to the detriment of working people, the environment, democratic governance, and human rights.

There is an urgent need to generate awareness on the extent of corporate capture of the international trade and investment rule-setting bodies and the negative impacts it has on human rights. Such awareness is a critical first step in reforming the structure and operation of trade and investment dispute settlement bodies.

This project therefore aims to raise awareness among civil society organizations, the media, and policymakers regarding the extent and impacts of corporate capture of international trade and investment dispute settlement mechanisms. Ultimately, the project seeks to contribute to the establishment of international trade and investment dispute settlement mechanisms that are transparent, inclusive, equitable, and rights-based.

Concept note Trade and corporate capture