A new website to help groups monitor, understand and work to defeat investor-state dispute settlement (#ISDS) mechanisms in trade and investment agreements has been launched: http://isds.bilaterals.org.
The ISDS platform is an online resource tool focused on the highly controversial ISDS mechanism found in many bilateral and plurilateral trade and investment deals. It aims to provide the latest news and critical analysis to people and social movements working on ISDS or wishing to find out more about it.
Produced in English, French and Spanish, the site will be updated on a daily basis with ISDS news coming from all over the globe, including the latest information on the major trade and investment agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Trans-Pacific Partnership or the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
It features area-specific material on the impacts of ISDS on local communities, specific sectors and the environment.
A collaborative initiative
The initiative to create a dedicated site on ISDS was taken by groups who participated in an investment campaigning meeting in Istanbul in 2014. The groups asked bilaterals.org to host the site and worked together over the last months to create it. The site draws from relevant materials posted on bilaterals.org, as well as more specialised materials, while remaining independent from it.
The platform is an open and collaborative project. You can get involved by submitting materials, taking responsibility for any section, helping with translations or any other way you would like. Please contact the platform coordination at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For many years, people and civil society movements around the world have been mobilising against ISDS as it creates a parallel judicial system exclusively for foreign investors. Embedded within arcane investment treaties, ISDS allows foreign transnational corporations to sue the countries they invest in, via private arbitration instead of public courts, if new laws or regulations affect their expected profits or investment potentials. It can be used to undermine public policies aimed at protecting people or the environment, and poses big threats to national budgets as awards typically reach hundreds of millions of dollars.
You can subscribe to get a monthly update from the platform at http://isds.bilaterals.org.