Saturday, April 21, 2018

Environmental Harn, Nuclear Weapons, and North Korean Labor: Links to Rearly 2018 Actions of the Norway Pension Fund Global




Though this report comes very late, I thought it useful to include at least a nod in the direction of the batch of actions taken by the Pension Fund Global at the beginning of the year.  An assessment fo its recently distributed annual report will come in a later post.

The Secretariat of the Council on Ethics, Government Pension Fund Global, has recently published on line a set of decisions made by the Norges Bank upon the recommendation of the Council of Ethics, as well as posting a few Council of Ethics recommendations that have not yet produced action on the part of the Norges Bank.

Several of the decisions are consistent with past policies. These include the companies excluded because of their involvement in the production of nuclear weapons. More interesting are the sustainability decisions.  Companies have been excluded which have been found to have engaged in the practice of "beaching" (disposal of decommissioned vessels by sending them to be broken up for scrap on the beaches of Bangladesh and Pakistan). This signals the continuing expansion of the Pension Fund's sustainability objectives and its willingness to begin to sketch out more comprehensively those behaviors which are deemed to fall outside of what it will accept as good practice.But also interesting was the willingness to use observation rather than exclusion for the company (Pam Ocean) which provided "assurance that it is willing in future to take the method of breakup into account as far as possible when making decisions on the sale of vessels for scrapping." (here)

Most interesting of all was the exclusion of Atal SA, a Polish company, for its use of North Korean labor (Council’s recommendation here). Beyond the North Korean aspect (with its presumptions of forced labor) is the continued development of notions of supply chain responsibility in investment. "The Council on Ethics considers that Atal has a responsibility for all the workers at its building sites, even though it is a subcontractor that is the direct contracting party with the North Korean staffing company which is the North Koreans’ employer." (here).  The implications for Cuba and other states who use their labor to generate cash ought not to be dismissed, though politics may play a large role in the different treatment of the two states (and the determination fo where to draw the line between forced labor and enthusiastic participation in national aspirations).

More below, with links.


Friday, April 20, 2018

白轲, 在商业与人权中理解问责制:跨国企业、国家和国际社会 [New Paper Posted: “Unpacking Accountability in Business and Human Rights: The Multinational Enterprise, the State, and the International Community




在商业与人权中理解问责制:跨国企业、国家和国际社会 
白轲 [Larry Catá Backer]

摘要: 为了管制经济企业(公有或者私有)的人权、劳工及环境责任而构建的硬法与软法框架在某种程度上来说是通过问责机制来实现运作的。本文的目的在于首先结构问责制这一在治理中广为应用的概念并以一种更为有用的方式将这一概念重新构建。本文主旨是:问责制必须被理解为一组多重互动关系的简化,表现在回应期望的行为之中,这些期望是基于在参与者互相联结的语境下所实现的规范性标准之上的,此外,问责制还被引导向一般(公共的)和特定的(个人的)目的。一个聚焦于企业侵犯人权和可持续性问责体系要求所有的利益相关方有相互并同时发生的问责机制,使得他们互相负责,自己也负责,并且对其他利益相关方负责。本文第二章讨论了构成“问责制”这一复杂概念的一系列前提。其考察了问责制作为一种治理规范和该规范的工具的核心原则。首先,本文基于以下几点讨论了问责制的行为意义核心:(a)问责制作为对预期的回应与解释的行为,(b)(问责制)特定的功能上的被区分的目标,(c) (问责制)表现为行为、规范、方式和结果,(d)(问责制)导向(利益相关方)其自己和他人,和(e)(问责制)导向产生正确的有纪律的行为以保证秩序的特定目的。这些理性的并且从功能上受限的行为指明了“问责中的责任归属”得以显示给问责受益人的方式。本文第三章,“问责中的责任归属”则重新梳理了问责制。第一部分考察了其目标(即为何要问责)。目标包括规范的产生、良治、组织合法性和补偿机制。第二部分考察了问责制体系的系统性要素。其问责的方式(制度的、正式的和非正式的)和其治理的来源(法律和规范)---形成了问责制这一表达并定义了其语境。第三部分则紧接着考察了问责制体系的主体(即谁问责,谁负有责任):国家、企业、国际组织还是公民社会、NGO

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Transitions to Entertain and Distract the West: A Harder Review at a New Era that Changes little as Raúl Castro Remains First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party and Diaz Canel Assumes the Presidency Under the Leadrrship of the PCC [Transiciones para entretener y distraer al Occidente: una crtítica más fuerte en una era que ha combiado poco en lo qual Raúl Castro sigue siendo primer secretario del PCC y Díaz Canel asume la presidencia bajo la dirección del PCC]



Pix from Nicolas Acevedo and  Carmen Sesin, "Cuba has a new president, and for the first time in over 40 years, his last name is not Castro." ABC News (19 April 2018).

The world is abuzz today, if only for a few seconds. Today's momentary distraction centers, again, on Cuba, a state whose existence is felt only when it irritates or can be used as a tool by others, though one that has managed to punch well above its weight for almost a century.  For the last 70 years or so the character and direction of that distraction over directed, within Cuba, by the brothers who assumed the leadership of the Cuban Revolution after 1959 and who became in a sense synonymous with its direction, aspirations, ideals and a somewhat sad history of implementation at home and abroad.  Today, after a carefully orchestrated set of meetings and actions, a drama years in the making was at last brought to a close.
Cuba has a new president, and for the first time in over 40 years, his last name is not Castro. Miguel Díaz-Canel officially became president on Thursday morning after Raúl Castro stepped down and Díaz-Canel was confirmed by the National Assembly. (Nicolas Acevedo and  Carmen Sesin, "Cuba has a new president, and for the first time in over 40 years, his last name is not Castro." ABC News (19 April 2018).
Yet this is hardly the end of an era--or even the end of the period of leadership of the Castro Ruz family.  Indeed the opposite may well be true. 

El mundo se alborotó hoy, aunque solo sea por unos segundos. La distracción momentánea de hoy se centra, nuevamente, en Cuba, un estado cuya existencia solo se siente cuando irrita o cuando puede ser utilizada como una herramienta por otros ((o ellos mismos se utilizan en estas maneras), aunque ha logrado superar su peso durante casi un siglo. Durante los últimos 70 años más o menos el carácter y la dirección de la distracción ha sido dirigido, dentro de Cuba, por los hermanos que asumieron la dirección de la Revolución cubana a partir de 1959 y quienes se convirtieron en un sentido sinónimo con su dirección, aspiraciones, ideales y por supuesto la trsite historia de su implementación domestico y en el extranjero. 

 Hoy, después de un conjunto de reuniones y acciones cuidadosamente orquestadas, un drama en el que se fabricaron años finalmente llegó a su fin.    
Cuba tiene un nuevo presidente y, por primera vez en más de 40 años, su apellido no es Castro. Miguel Díaz-Canel se convirtió oficialmente en presidente el jueves por la mañana después de que Raúl Castro renunció y Díaz-Canel fue confirmado por la Asamblea Nacional. (Nicolas Acevedo y Carmen Sesin, "Cuba has a new president, and for the first time in over 40 years, his last name is not Castro."  ABC News (19 de abril de 2018).
Sin embargo, este tránsito no marca el final de una era, o incluso el final del período de liderazgo de la familia Castro Ruz. De hecho, lo opuesto bien puede ser cierto.

Empresas y Derechos Humanos. Temas actuales," edited by M.C. Marullo y F.J. Zamora Cabot and published (en Castellano) by Editoriale Scientifica (Napoli)




I am delighted to announce the publication of Empresas y Derechos Humanos. Temas actuales," edited by M.C. Marullo y F.J. Zamora Cabot and published (en Castellano) by Editoriale Scientifica (Napoli). This is a must read for anyone interested in enriching the discourse around business and human rights in important ways.

The announcement (Castellano only), which I cross post with thanks from Conflictus Legum, the Spanisj Private International Blog of Federico Garau, Catedrático de Derecho Internacional Privado. Miembro del 'Instituto de Derecho Europeo e Integración Regional' (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) follows.

Conference Announcement: “Contemporary Challenges to International Law and Policy on Sustainable Development, Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Protection, Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer”



This from my colleague and friend Paolo Farah:
I would like to share with you the programme of the conference “Contemporary Challenges to International Law and Policy on Sustainable Development, Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Protection, Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer”, organized by gLAWcal Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development (United Kingdom), the European Society of International Law (ESIL) Interest Group on International Environmental Law, and the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Interest Group on Intellectual Property Law on the occasion of the Conference for Young Lawyers (COFOLA) International, held at Masaryk University, Telč (Czech Republic) on April 20, 2018.
More informaiton follows.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

New Paper Posted: “Unpacking Accountability in Business and Human Rights: The Multinational Enterprise, the State, and the International Community

(Pix © 2018 Larry Catá Backer)


I have just posted a draft of a paper.  It is entitled  Unpacking Accountability in Business and Human Rights: The Multinational Enterprise, the State, and the International Community It considers the complex set of premises that together create the modern notion of accountability and then considers the ways those premises contribute to the construction of accountability systems in the context of the responsibility to account for the human rights, sustainability and labor effects of economic activity.

The ideas developed here were first presented in more summary form It was first presented at the Conference: Accountability and International Business Operations: Providing Justice for Corporate Violations of Human Rights, Labor and Environmental Standard held at the Utrecht Center for Accountability and and Liability Law (UCALL) on May 18-20 2017 (Conference information HERE; original PowerPoints HERE).

The Abstract and Introduction follow.  The full draft paper may be accessed HERE. Comments, reactions, engagement gratefully appreciated.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Flora Sapio: "What Do We Still Ignore About Chinese Constitutionalism?: The United Front and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Part 2"



What has become clear after the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is that the "New Era" addition to the CPC ideological line is having some very important and very quickly moving changes on the organization of the state apparatus and on the way on which the CPC asserts its leadership role.  In "The Ideal and Practice of Chinese Constitutionalism in the 'New Era'" (Connecticut Journal of International Law 33(2):''(forthcoming 2018)) I pointed to a likely development;
Indeed, one of the most interesting aspects of the invocation of constitution is the 19th CPC Congress Report is the potential relationship between constitution and its normative principles and the conceptualization of socialist democracy as something contextually appropriate to the Chinese political order. This socialist consultative democracy is not built around popular elections and the rise of political parties, but around engagement in governance exercised through the organs that bring together the CPC and the United Front parties. It is in those institutions that socialist democracy will be developed—an exercise in endogenous democracy in contradistinction to the West’s emphasis on exogenous democratic exercise.  It is in this context that democracy is to practiced and the meaning of the socialist democratic path is revealed. . . . What is then centered is socialist consultative democracy built around the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. . . . The nexus between state, CPC and United Front through the CPPCC, then, serves as the connective tissue between CPC and State constitutions, and between the political authority of the CPC and its exercise through the rule system it itself has mandated as its own political line. It expresses in contemporary form the ideals of the New Democracy thinking embraced by the CPC before the founding of the PRC. (Ibid., pp. 33-34).
In a marvelous new set of essays, "What Do We Still Ignore About Chinese Constitutionalism?:The United Front and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference ", Flora Sapio begins a sophisticated exploration of some of these issues. Part 1 (CPE Working Paper 4/1 (April 2018) can be accessed here.

Part 2 (CPE Working Paper 4/2 (April 2018)) can be accessed HERE and follows below.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Just Published: "The Corporate Social Responsibilities of Financial Institutions for the Conduct of their Borrowers: The View From International Law and Standards," Lewis & CLark Law Review 21(4):881-920 (2018)


I am happy to report the publication of my article,  "The Corporate Social Responsibilities of Financial Institutions for the Conduct of their Borrowers: The View From International Law and Standards," Lewis & CLark Law Review 21(4):881-920 (2018).  
The object was to think broadly about the regulatory and governance frameworks that are emerging around increasingly well recognized responsibilities of intermediaries for the conduct of their clients.  The particular focus is on financial institutions. These institutions are increasingly understood as suitable substitutes for the state in the creation and administration of regulatory systems (the issue of governmentalization).  At the same time, this development also opens the possibility for states to assert a regulatory authority even when acting in private form (the privatization of public authority). This willingness of states and other public organs to delegate is especially potent with respect to rules states are unwilling or incapable of adopting through traditional assertions of public authority.  Yet the examination also reveals parallels between the extension of corporate responsibility within supply chains and the extension of CSR responsibility to the client relationships of financial institutions.

The abstract, table of contents and Introduction follow. As always comments and reactions most welcome for what is a long term work in progress. The per-publication version of the article may be accessed HERE.


戴苗强 中美“贸易战”下美国的真正诉求和中国的历史性机遇 [Sino-US "Trade War": American Aspirations and China's historic opportunity]








(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2018)




Reposting a very interesting essay posted to the blog site of the Foundation for Law and International Affairs and written by 戴苗强 (Miaoqiang Dai) (Penn State MIA expected 2019) who also head's FLIA's OBOR project.  戴苗强   中美“贸易战”下美国的真正诉求和中国的历史性机遇  [Sino-US "Trade War": American Aspirations and China's historic opportunity] that suggests the complexities of the issues from a perspective rarely considered by Western analysis.

Monday, April 09, 2018

论中国“新时代”的国际化:对联合国人权理事会决议《促进人权领域的互利合作》(A/HRC/37/L.36)的简要想法 Chinese Translation of "On the Internationalization of China's "New Era" Theory: Brief Thoughts on the UN Human Rights Council Resolution: "On promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of human rights" (A/HRC/37/L.36)



In an earlier post I provided brief thoughts on the UN Human Rights Resolution  "On promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of human rights" (A/HRC/37/L.36; 19 March 2018), along with the text of Resolution A/HRC/37/L.36, the official summary of the proceedings culminating in its approval, and the Reuters reporting, Stephanie Nebehay, "U.S. and China clash at U.N. rights forum on Beijing text," Reuters 23 March 2018 (widely circulated).

The Background Brief ("On the Internationalization of China's "New Era" Theory: Brief Thoughts on the UN Human Rights Council Resolution: "On promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of human rights" (A/HRC/37/L.36))(English) may be downloaded HEREResumen en Español AQUI.
 
This post includes the Chinese translation of that Background Brief:   这一文章主要阐述了对联合国人权决议《促进人权领域的互利合作》(A/HRC/37/L.362018319日)的一些简短看法,同时也附上该决议全文、对决议通过过程的官方总结和一篇广为流传的路透社对此决议的报道(Stephanie Nebehay, "U.S. and China clash at U.N. rights forum on Beijing text," Reuters 23 March 2018)。