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Policy and Institutional Frameworks

Global Governance and Non-State Actors: Transnational Corporations, Environmental Justice and Human Rights in Developing Countries

This project explores the competing demands of economic development through foreign direct investment, and human rights and environmental justice in transnational corporate operations, within the framework of sustainable development in developing countries. Both within and outside the UN system, there is a plethora of human rights treaties, environmental norms and soft-law declarations aimed at the promotion of human rights and dignity, and environmental security.

Although corporations are non-state actors in international law, their operations in an age of economic globalization raise complex questions of the relevance, limits, and application of human rights and environmental norms to their operations. Do UN-led human rights and environmental norms bind transnational corporations when their operations violate basic international human rights and environmental laws in their host developing countries?

This project analyzes the relevance and application of multilateral environmental and human rights norms in transnational corporate behaviour, in the extractive natural resource sector of developing countries. Although international law applies mostly to the relations of states and only states can sign treaties in international law, nonetheless TNCs have emerged as autonomous actors in international relations.

This project studies and maps out pragmatic ways in which UN-led multilateral environmental agreements can be used to "regulate" or at least influence transnational corporate behaviour, where transnational corporate activities threaten or violate core human rights and environmental norms.

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Page last modified 2011.06.07.




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