FUNDEPS as a part of the Coalition for Human Rights in Development (CCDH), opens up a consult searching a methodology to incorporate Human Rights within the Environmental and Social standards of the developing Financial Institutions.

Las actividades para el desarrollo pueden tener un profundo impacto en la efectiva vigencia de los derechos humanos. Desafortunadamente, las herramientas estándares de planificación del desarrollo, selección, evaluación y monitoreo no están diseñados para captar plenamente su impacto en los derechos humanos. Por lo tanto, la Coalición por los Derechos Humanos en el Desarrollo (CCDH), una alianza global de la que FUNDEPS forma parte, ha venido llevando adelante un proyecto para desarrollar una metodología para la incorporación de derechos humanos dentro de los marcos de estándares sociales y ambientales de las instituciones financieras de desarrollo. Para mayor detalle, haga click aquí.

 

¿Qué es esta herramienta?

Un componente clave de esta metodología ha sido la elaboración de una Herramienta de Análisis de Oportunidades y Riesgos (AOR). La AOR ha sido diseñada para ser utilizada por Instituciones financieras y gobiernos, que planifiquen e implementen proyectos y actividades de desarrollo. La AOR llevará al usuario a través de un proceso que identifique y evalúe riesgos y oportunidades asociadas para  los derechos humanos, permita ajustar el diseño de una actividad para responder a los mismos y desarrolle indicadores  y un plan de monitoreo.

AOR está basado en un Registro de Estándares, organizado en 12 Áreas temáticas y acompañadas por un set de preguntas de indicadores de riesgo y de evaluación de impacto. Haga click aquí para acceder los estándares e indicadores. Haga click aquí para mayor información.

Este es un proyecto ambicioso, que busca contribuir a la protección de los derechos humanos en el desarrollo. En este contexto, abrimos una consulta para poder crear una herramienta innovadora que demuestre tanto a gobiernos como instituciones financieras qué significa identificar y responder a riesgos e impactos en derechos humanos.

 

Cómo participar de la consulta

  • Documentos en borrador: Es posible acceder al Registro de Estándares e Indicadores directamente aquí. Los hemos organizado por área temática así pueden verse directamente los aspectos que más se vinculan con la experiencia de cada particiapnte.
  • Encuesta online: Hemos desarrollado un cuestionario online que se puede completar haciendo click aquí
  • Comentarios en documentos: Es posible enviar comentarios usando directamente los archivos de las tablas, con control de cambios, a esta dirección: hr_consultation@fundeps.org
  • Entrrevistas personales: Hemos dispuesto un equipo de trabajo para organizar reuniones virtuales para recibir comentarios y observaciones. Para hacerlo, comunicarse con el correo hr_consultation@fundeps.org.
  • Fecha límite: 31 de Octubre.

Fundeps prepares a working document that deals with the problem of MSW (Urban Solid Waste) in our city. The objective is to contribute and influence public policies at the local level that guarantee the right to health and a healthy and balanced environment adopted by international standards.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic.”

The problem of urban solid waste (MSW) begins with the development of the modern society in which they live, and has its origin in causes of another nature: from rapid population growth, the use of material goods of rapid deterioration or without degradability , even more complex causes that are due to an inefficient integral waste management accompanied by strong political and economic interests.

According to the statistical data provided by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, each inhabitant generates one kilo of garbage per day, which is deposited in one of the 130 end-of-end properties, in the worst case, in the hundreds of garbage dumps. open sky that were formed in the country. The city of Córdoba generates approximately 1200 tons per day of urban and similar solid waste that, until 2010, were deposited in the south of the city, in the Bouwer property, located on Route 36 and currently, temporarily, son disposed in the Sanitary Landfill of Piedras Blancas. This dynamic generates multiple situations of environmental degradation and violation of the right to a healthy environment and the right to health, among others.

This global and local problem has been addressed and regulated in different international and national instruments in order to minimize the harmful effects and adapt laws with sustainable public policies and according to the specific realities of each country / province.

From FUNDEPS we are working on this important issue and we have prepared as a first working document the following report “First Approaches: Current legal framework and real problem of solid urban resources in Córdoba”, which expects an approach to the problem.

We want to move forward starting from the study of the environmental institutionality in the matter of MSW (Urban Solid Waste), the funds that are destined to the GIRSU (budget item), the current situation of the bidding of the service, the environmental liabilities pending remediation (property ) Potrero del Estado, Bouwer), the real and legal situation of the foundations, the open sky and the adaptation of the practices and the management of RSU in Córdoba with the adopted international and national standards.

The purpose of this work proposal is to contribute and influence public policies at the local level that guarantee the right to health and a healthy and balanced environment adopted by international standards.

Contact:

Malena Martinez – Human Rights Area

malemartinez@fundeps.org

Our foundation is participating actively in the monitoring of the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation, and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, in accordance with Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration. By means of this letter we invite you to participate in the elaboration of the Guidance Document for Negotiations, providing comments and suggestions.

THE FOUNDATION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SUSTAINABLE POLICIES (FUNDEPS), as a TAI member (The Access Initiative) is participating actively in the monitoring of the Regional Agreement on Access to information, public participation, and access to justice in environmental matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, in accordante with Principle 10 of the Rio declaration For that purpose we cordially invite you to comment the Guidance Document for Negotiation, prepared by ELAC and attached to this email.

Our working team is responsible for coordinating and systemizing the commentaries of the document’s preamble and articles : 1 (objectives), 2 (definitions), 3 (principles), 4 (scope of application), 5 (general obligations) and 8 (public participation in environmental decision-making). We may also receive or forward commentaries on the entire text.

Being aware of your expertise and influence in this field, and so as to obtain ideas, commentaries, objections and suggestions on how to improve the text in preparation of the negotiation phase, and so that a wide participation becomes effective, we communicate this invitation to participate in the commentaries.

The commentaries will be received and processed until July 10th of this year. The commentaries can also be sent to the ELAC secretary until August 31st of of this year. Please do not hesitate in contacting us if you have any doubt or inquiry. We look forward to your input in the effective implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio declaration!

Best regards,

Juan Carballo, Executive Director

Yamile Najle, Coordinator of the Human Right Area

Additional information is available at : http://www.cepal.org/rio20/principio10/.

In a trial in which FUNDEPS intervened as amicus curia, The Eighth Chamber of Civil and Commercial Affairs of Cordoba rejected once again the injunction for which VERDOL S.A. requested authorization to fumigate in the City of Alta Gracia, in a celebrated but censurable decision.

Last August 27th, the Eighth Chamber of Civil and Commercial Affairs of Cordoba rejected once again the injunction for which VERDOL S.A. requested authorization to fumigate in the City of Alta Gracia. until such time as the closing of the trial over the constitutionality of ordenance 9375 of the Legislature of that city. This regulation established a “Emvironmental Protection Zone” of 1500 meters from the urban center or permanent populated settlements.

In this trial, the Chamber granted FUNDEPS a participative role as amicus curiae, as recognized in the very ruling (pg 2). In the judicially presented document, FUNDEPS argued that the ordenance should adequately protect health and the environment and that it be enacted by the local authorities. Also, it detailed that the principal risk is not the loss of profits, but the affectation to the right to health and a healthy environment, which demands that an adequate value be placed on the precautionary principal. The constitutional obligations to protect health and the environment demand the rejection of the injunction.

The recent decision of the Eighth Chamber of Civil and Commercial Affairs of the City of Cordoba has been celebrate for its rejection of the injunction. However, we are troubled by the lack of reference to the substantive regulation that establishes the obligation to protect health and the environment. On the contrary, in the text of the ruling, the court states that “We arrive at this decision with care to abstract the debate from the sowing conditions found in the judicial inspection.” FUNDEPS urges the judicial courts to recognize and adequately value the constitutional obligation to protect health and the environment.

For more information:

Text of the amicus presented by FUNDEPS

Contact:

info@fundeps.org

Despite the universitality of human rights, a large number of States continue interpreting their obligations as applicable only within their own territory.  This has led to an important void in the protection of these rights, for which reason a series of principles has been developed that intend to clarify what States’ extraterritorial obligations are in terms of economic, social and cultural rights.

“Extraterritorial obligations” (ETO) are those obligations that States have as a consequence of their acts or omissions, that impact on the enjoyment of human rights outside of their own territorial limits.  Although they have acquired greater relevance as a consequence of the effects of globalization, States still show a strong tendency to limit their obligations to their own territory.  This has led to important voids in the protection of human rights, particularly in the case of transnational businesses and intergovernmental organizations, such as the International Financial Institutions (IFIs).

Consequentially, since 2011, and thanks to the effort of international experts in the underlying principles of the ETO, there exists a set of principles known as Maastricht’s Principles about States’ Extraterritorial Obligations in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  At present, these principles constitute an expert international opinion, which clarify States’ extraterritorial obligations based on current international rights.

Extraterritorial Obligations (ETOs) and their relationship with International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and transnational businesses

In this context, it so happens that States frequently turn to IFIs with the aim of requesting financing for their projects, many of which are liable to cause violations to human rights, not only in the territory of the State that requested the financing but also outside of it.  However, it is important to clarify that international rights do no permit the States to ignore – nor transgress – their respective human rights obligations, through the use of the IFIs as agents that do not comply with, in their practices, the own obligations of the States.  In this sense, Maastricht’s principle number 15 directly refers to States’ obligations as members of international organizations, establishing that:

“A State that transfers competencies or participates in an international organization must adopt all reasonable measures to guarantee that the organization acts according to international obligations on the subject of  human rights of said State.” (Maastricht’s Principles, point 15)

That is to say, that States can not evade their obligations protecting themselves with the justification that actions are developed by the IFIs.  On the contrary, as members of said organizations, they must take the measures that are within their reach so that the activities of said organizations are consistent with internationally recognized human rights.

A similar analysis is applicable in the case of transnational businesses originating from a State, but whose activities can have effect on the human rights of the population where they operate.  In this case, point 24 of Maastricht’s Principles highlights the States’ obligation of protection or regulation, establishing that:

“All the States must adopt the measures to assure that non-governmental actors that are in positions to regulate […] including individuals and private organizations, transnational businesses and other commercial businesses, do not override or undermine the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights.” (Maastricht’s Principles, point 24)

This implies that a State can not wash their hands of  the actions and obligations of their transnational businesses that operate outside of their own territory.  To the contrary, they must take charge of regulating and supervising their activities,  above all those that are related to economic, social and cultural rights (DESC).  In this way, Maastricht’s Principles establish that the States must try through their means, to achieve the highest grade of satisfaction possible from the DESC; those that encompass basic questions of human dignity such as food, health, housing, work, education and access to water, among others.  States contribute to the guarantee of these rights through their acts or omissions, their decisions that support the governing bodies of the IFIs, and in the regulation and supervision of the actions of their transnational businesses.

In this context, civil society must advocate for the recognition of and compliance with Maastricht’s Principles, since without the observance of extraterritorial obligations, human rights cannot assume their role as legal basis for the regulation of globalization, nor assure the universal protection of all people and groups.  Therefore, one of the current challenges consists of finding the way to tackle the immunity that the IFIs claim and the consequent lack of accountability.

These types of advances in terms of international rights, and in relation to the protection of human rights, is relevant within the context of the work of FUNDEPS.  Both from the global view point when considering, for example, the obligations of the States that make up the IFIs; as from the local point of view, taking into account violations to human rights in the local sphere, that can be caused by the actions of transnational businesses or projects financed by the IFIs.

More information:

Web page of the ETO Consortium

Maastricht’s Principles about States’ Extraterritorial Obligations in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Contact:

Gonzalo Roza – Coordinator of the Area of Global Governability

gon.roza@fundeps.org

Yamile Najle – Co-coordinator of the Area of Human Rights

yamilennajle@fundeps.org

Translated By: Rebecca Rhoads

With virtually no regard for the comments and suggestions from civilsociety, the IDB has approved the new policy of the IndependentConsultation and Investigation Mechanism (ICIM). While this doesinclude a sparse few positive aspects, it implies a setback in theprocess of strengthening the ICIM started in 2010.

On December 17th, 2014, the IDB’s Board of Executive Directors approved by consensus the new policy of the ICIM, or the Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism, by which the Bank aims to respond to the concerns and complaints lodged by individuals or communities affected by “a substantial, adverse, and direct damage as a result of any potential breach by the Bank due to its operational policies in operations funded by the institution” [1] and, through this, improve the social and environmental outcomes of its operations.

According to the provisions established by the Bank itself, the aim of the recent review of the ICIM’s policies, which began in August 2013 and was recently completed in late 2014, was to “ensure that the mechanism is organized and appropriately staffed so as to meet current and future needs, and has the structure, policies, and processes needed to function effectively. “[2]

However, adopting this new policy has only confirmed the concerns of many civil society organizations that saw the review as a clear and deliberate weakening of the Mechanism and a set back to the process of strengthening it, launched in 2010.

In turn, throughout the entire review process imposed by the Bank, a series of irregularities and shortcomings have been pointed out, particularly with respect to public consultations and incorporating feedback from civil society. These irregularities question the legitimacy of the entire process.

Not only has the IDB turned a deaf ear to the claims of a number of organizations involved in the effective and participatory process of consultation for the second phase of the review of mechanism, but worse still it seems that the IDB has not taken into account the comments and suggestions made by civil society while preparing the Revised Draft ICIM Policy.

A clear example of this is the document Comments on the Revised Draft Policy that FUNDEPS, along with a group of more than 20 civil society organizations from different countries around the world, sent to the bank last September during the second phase of public consultation. Of the more than 45 comments suggesting improvements to the Mechanism made in that document, only 3 of them have been taken into account in the new policy, and only partially so.

Moreover, it is unlikely that the suggestions from other individuals and organizations from different countries of the region and of the world have been taken into account since they voiced their suggestions during the public consultation (a total of 43 written documents with comments, according to the Bank), and the new policy’s document is almost equal to the Draft provided for consultation, with the exception of some minor modifications. If analyzed comparatively, both documents are virtually identical, with only few substantial additions; the vast majority of the differences are strictly in wording. There are no more than 15 substantial changes, many of which do not even incorporate substantial improvements for the sake of forming a more effective and efficient mechanism.

In addition to this, the Revised Draft Policy has effectively covered very few of the recommendations and suggestions made by civil society during the first phase of public consultation. This can be observed from a comparative analysis of the Draft document to said comments, accessible through the Bank website.

In light of all this, one is left to wonder what the true purpose of the IDB conducting public consultations is; does the Bank really take into account the comments made by the many organizations and individuals who invest their time, effort, and resources in order to improve the functioning of the institution? … or is it a mere procedure by which the Bank legitimizes its actions without truly taking into consideration the comments made by civil society in these spaces?

Changes in the new policy

The new policy proposed by the Bank provides a number of important changes in the structure and function of the Mechanism, among which are the following:

Structure: The structure of the Mechanism has been redefined to include the following changes:

• From now on it will be lead by a ICIM´s Director, who will report to the Bank’s Executive Board and will be responsible for all ICIM’s office, administrative, and operational staff, including the two Phase Coordinators who are to work under the supervision of the Director.
• The Coordinator of the Consultation Phase will replace the figure of the Project´s Ombudsman.
• The Compliance Review Panel will no longer be permanent and will now be settled by the Compliance Review Phase Coordinator (who will act as chairman of the Panel) and two ad hoc independent experts hired for each case from a roster of experts.
• The Director of the ICIM shall be appointed by the Executive Board while Phase Coordinators shall be appointed by the Director.
• The position of Executive Secretary of the ICIM will be eliminated.

Operation: various modifications were introduced, among which stand out:

• Changes in the processing, requirements, and necessary content of applications.
• Scope: limited coverage to operations financed by the Bank with the approval of the Board (the previous policy also covered the operations financed before the approval of the Board) and up to only 24 months (2 years) after the last expenditure.
• simplified process of Eligibility of Applications establishing a sole eligibility managed by the Director of ICIM in conjunction with the Phase Coordinators.
• Elimination of the sequence requirement for cases in which applicants wish to go directly to Compliance Review Phase, yet they shall remain in the event that the applicant opts for both Phases.
• Deadlines for all stages are to be established so as to reduce response times.

It is worth mentioning that the new policy incorporates a number of provisions which, although few in number, are positive in relation to the previous policy, such as:

• Changes in the structure of the Mechanism in order to make it more effective;
• The unification of project eligibility processes into a sole process led by the Director of ICIM;
• The possibility of field trips to those countries in which the projects are carried out (during Eligibility Phase);
• The intention of making the process of Applicant Registration more structured and transparent;
• The possibility of allowing Applicants to choose either the Consultation Phase, the Compliance Review Phase, or both, thus eliminating the sequential requirement when Applicants wish to resort directly to Compliance Review Phase;
• The creation of a Roster of experts from which the two ad hoc Panel members that will accompany the Compliance Review Phase Coordinator will be selected in each particular case.

However, beyond these few positive aspects, the new policy is a serious weakening of the Mechanism, especially in terms of Accessibility and Independence, crucial aspects of an effective and efficient instrument. As such, the new ICIM Policy establishes conditions that challenge the independence of the Mechanism, creates many unnecessary barriers to its access, and renders the filing of a request by the affected parties much more complicated. (For detailed information on some of the main criticisms and suggestions made by a group of Civil Society Organizations under the ICIM review process, see the following document).

The new Policy not only means a sharp decline in the process of strengthening the Mechanism by replacing the old, inefficient IIM (Independent Investigation Mechanism) with ICIM, it also means a deterioration of other existing mechanisms of accountability in other institutions similar to the IDB. While most of these institutions’ mechanisms tend to facilitate and promote accessibility, it seems that the IDB is doing more the opposite by establishing an inaccessible mechanism, hardly independent and therefore very unreliable and ineffective.

As such, the IDB has begun 2015 by taking a preoccupying step backwards with respect to the ICIM, an instrument of great importance for environmental and protection of human rights in countries where the Bank operates. It is the responsibility of civil society to ensure that, beyond the weakening of the IDB’s accountability presented by the new policy, the mechanism works as effectively and efficiently as possible. FUNDEPS will continue to work towards that goal.

More information:

ICIM website
New Approved Version of ICIM – December 17, 2014
ICIM Policy Revised Draft – June 2014 (subject to public consultation in the second phase)
Comments on the Draft of the Revised Policy of the ICIM – September 2014 (sent to the Bank by over 20 Civil Society Organizations in the framework of the Second Phase of Public Consultations)
Summary of Major Changes Proposed for the Second Phase
Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism Policy 2010 (old policy).

Contact:
Gonzalo Roza – Coordinator  of the Global Governance Area
gon.roza@fundeps.org

[1] See section ICIM in IDB website: http://www.iadb.org/en/mici/home,1752.html
[2] Document “Revision of the structure and policy of the Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism (ICIM): summary of key changes.” July 30, 2014. IDB. Pp. 1. available at: http://www.fundeps.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Revised_Policy_Summary_of_Changes_in_English.pdf

In response to the proposed modifications to the World Bank’s social and environmental safeguards, a large group of UN human rights rapporteurs launched tough critiques of the proposed changes, requesting via a letter addressed to the President of the World Bank that human rights be properly considered in the guarantees that the financial institution demands.

On December 16th of last year, 28 special rapporteurs for the United Nations Human Rights Council sent a collective letter to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, severely criticizing the proposed modifications to the Bank. These modifications have been in full discussion and have been an ongoing project for FUNDEPS. According to the human rights rapporteurs, the proposed modifications “appear to move in opposition to progress” considering that they would reduce the amount of social and environmental guarantees that the Bank requires when approving loans, especially in regards to human rights. According to the special rapporteurs,“the document seems to go out of its way to avoid any meaningful references to human rights.”

Philip G. Alston, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, maintains that the principal reason for these modifications appears to be the Bank’s intention to compete with alternative financing initiatives (mainly backed by China, Russia, and India) which do not apply these minimum safeguards. Nevertheless, Alston explained that this is not sufficient reason to reduce the existing safeguards, considering that the World Bank, in their Articles of Agreement, are formally committed to the elimination of extreme poverty and to improving the quality of life for people in developing countries. The pursuit of these goals does not line up logically with the proposed modifications.

The authors of the letter hold that “the international community has already accepted that development and human rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.” That is why, in keeping with international law, they maintain that the World Bank should consider the relevance of human rights in its programs’ objectives, as well as incorporate human rights into its policies.

Ultimately, after appending a list of well-founded criticisms to the original letter sent to the President of the institution, the rapporteurs recommend that the Bank only finance projects that satisfy the established requirements. Further, they should withhold support from projects that do not comply with human rights obligations. In the screening process for each project, the Bank should rely not only on the information provided by the loan applicant, but should itself carry out the pertinent investigations, keeping in mind the affected or potentially-affected groups, as well as human rights defense groups and civil organizations. In this context, the rapporteurs pointed out that many vulnerable groups remain unprotected under projects funded by the World Bank, an issue that inspired protests at the Bank’s most recent annual meetings . In the same vein, they maintain that the proposed modifications should utilize stricter language that through clarity and precision would minimize discretionality when approving loans.

Here at FUNDEPS, we will continue participating in these global discussions, and in this way attempt to ensure that the World Bank establishes respectable human rights standards in its operational processes.

More information:

Letter to the President of the World Bank by the human rights rapporteurs-Safeguards-ENGLISH

Contact:

Gonzalo Roza, Area Coordinator of Global Governance
gon.roza@fundeps.org

Translated by: Elizabeth Laudenslager and Julian Novales Flamarique

 

The department of human rights submitted two Amicus Curiae briefs, enabling public participation in court cases, in discussions concerning health protection and tobacco control. FUNDEPS seeks to promote legal frameworks and protect the human right to health.

Argentina

In the case of “Inter-American Heart Foundation – Argentina versus the Government of the City of Buenos Aires under the Amparo Action of Protection”, FUNDEPS constituted as a “friend of the Court” in the appeal case presented before Room I of the Appeals Chamber in the Civil and Commercial Court of the City of Buenos Aires.Through Amparo, CIF Argentina, a Non-Profit Organisation working in public politics concerning chronic non-communicable diseases, demanded that the Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires take direct measures to effectively comply with provisions by the Law of Tobacco Control in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.

In the first instance, Judge Lidia E. Lago rejected the appeal, arguing that the Amparo Action of Protection was intended only for those cases in which constitutional rights are violated in a clearly arbitrary or unlawful manner. The judge accepts that, in this case this requirement was not fulfilled; therefore the Amparo procedure was not relevant, despite non-compliance of regulations causing direct damage to the human right to health of Buenos Aires citizens.

Before the adverse ruling, FIC Argentina appealed the adjudication and FUNDEPS appeared as a “friend of the Court”, supporting the arguments of the appellant. In this manner, FUNDEPS warned against the use of tobacco products and the industry’s focus on young people. Reference was also made to the content and scope of the right to health, the collective face of the right to health, the operating of direct damage prevention within the Argentinean legal system and the role of the judiciary in defending, promoting and protecting human rights.This case still remains unresolved to this day. We at FUNDEPS are hoping for a favourable ruling under this framework and that the right to health be protected, urging the Government of the City of Buenos Aires to respect Human Rights Covenants, the National Constitution, the autonomous city of Buenos Aires Statute and the local legal framework.

Colombia

In Colombia there was a request for nullification of two circulars of the Colombian Superintendency of Industry and Commerce (SIC), which regulates the display of tobacco products. The main argument is that articles 14, 15 and 16 of the 2009 Colombian law 1335 impose a general prohibition on the publicity and promotion of tobacco. The display of tobacco products (regulated by the circulars) is a form of this promotion, for which it should be banned. Adding to this domestic regulation, on 9th July 2008 the WHO framework agreement on tobacco control was enforced, incorporating the possibility of international responsibility of Colombia.

Alongside FIC Argentina, FUNDEPS submitted an amicus curiae brief with the objective of supporting this request to nullify the circular letters of the Superintendence of Trade of Colombia, emphasising how the display of tobacco products is used throughout the entire region as a clear form of marketing. References to the impact of these techniques on health are also incorporated within the analysis, particularly concerning the level of initial consumption in children and adolescents as well as the impediment of cessation in adult smokers.The document carried out a study of the international legal framework which implements the highest standards of the right to health and in particular those documents that specifically categorise the display of products as a form of publicity. In the same way, arguments frequently used by the tobacco industry were presented and answered; arguments with the objective of opposing those measures which tend to restrict these market techniques and aim to guarantee better protection of the right to health. Finally, scientific evidence was enclosed, with respect to positive impacts of this policy type.

At FUNDEPS we celebrate the collaborative efforts of civil society organisations, which seek to ensure adequate health protection, in particular against the tobacco epidemic. In this regard, we trust that the circular letters will be declared void by the Council of State and that it serves as a background record so that the region advances in legal frameworks that duly protect the human right to health.

More information:

Amicus Curiae brief submitted in Argentina

Amicus Curiae brief submitted in Colombia

Contact:

Juan Miguel Litvachkes
juanlitvachkes@fundeps.org

Gianella Severini
gianeseverini@fundeps.org

Translated by: Samantha Pearton

As part of the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, FUNDEPS represented Argentina at the first Latin American Meeting for the Right to Immunisation, which took place during 20-21 November 2014 in Lima, Peru.

The meeting, which was called by the America’s Health Foundation along with the non-profit organisation Voces Ciudadanas, included the participation of many representatives from children’s and adolescent organisations, representatives from networks of civil society organisations, as well as the presence of relevant government health authorities from some countries in the region. The core focus over the two days was the debate on how to promote the right to immunisations, recognising them as a human right and a public commodity. It was established that vaccinations are an enforceable right in all countries of the region, to be provided in full and for free as a routine part of the annual allocation of resources, rather than solely provided as a medical service. Education, information, prevention, awareness, participation, training, co-ordination, co-operation, investment, supervision and investigation are all concepts which were discussed, defined and identified as fundamental when dealing with health policies, and in particular, with vaccinations.

The conference was concluded with the signing of the Lima Declaration for the Right to Immunisation, a document which summarised everything discussed by the various participants, and established agreed guidelines which should be considered by all of the American states, in order to guarantee universally available vaccines for children and adolescents, addressing first the inequality, disparity and discrimination present in the different countries of the region.

As part of our work on the human right to health in general, we at FUNDEPS will continue to monitor the right to immunisation as a subcategory of this human right.

Contact:

Agustín Filippi
agustinfilippi@fundeps.org

Translated by: Siobhan Wood

The frame of activities for the Conference of Parties in the framework convention on the Lima Climate Change Conference, will discuss how international funding and socio environmental safeguards in infrastructure projects in Latin America have an impact on the Amazon jungle.

This event has been jointly organised by FUNDAR, Centre of Analysis and Investigation (Mexico), Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policies- FUNDEPS (Argentina) Association for Environment and Society AAS (Colombia) and the Right of the Environment and Natural Resources- DAR (Peru) all constituting as the regional group for Funding and Infrastructure.
The discussion forms part of the Conference of Parties in the framework convention on climate change in Lima. The speakers will tackle the actual state of funding for infrastructure in Latin America from traditional banks like the World Bank Group/ International Finance Corporation and the new bank from the BRIC Countries. A comparative analysis of four projects with external funding has been carried out in Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru, evaluating the impacts on the Amazon forest and the instruments (safeguards) for the management of social and environmental risks.

It will especially be about the negative example of Brazil and the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES, its acronym in Portuguese). The BNDES, who also funds projects outside of Brazil, has been accused of its lack of transparency, of described social and environmental norms, which have been clearly defined, and the mechanisms guaranteeing the fulfillment of national laws.
It is feared that the recent creation of the BRICS nations bank will neither put enough emphasis on the norms that protect the environment and society in the process of its application. This reality is affecting the policies of traditional banks, such as the World Bank Group or the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). Those countries seeking to attract more investment will also react to the changes in the available international funding. Large infrastructure projects that ignore the environmental concerns, such are the cases of CVIS (Peru), Mocoa Pasto (Colombia), Coca Codo Sinclair (Ecuador) and the TIPNIS (Bolivia), are proof of it.

A panel of experts on climate change, megaprojects and governance (transparency, participation, risk management) will debate the key ideas and any advance of the previously mentioned analysis. The session will also give the public the possibility to participate in the debate.

Key questions:

1.How can banks apply safeguards on project funding in Latin America to prevent social conflicts and environmental disasters?
2.What is the role of the new national and regional banks in the funding of regional infrastructure?
3.How the weakening of standards in funding the region affects the countries system? How can these react in front of new challenges?

More information:

Details on the logistics of the event
Panorama on the funding for infrastructure in Latin America
Guideline for the discussion. Implementation of a Freedom of Information Policy for The Brazilian Development Bank
Paradigmatic cases of BNDES investment in South America. Need and opportunity to improve internal policies

Contact:

Gonzalo Roza / Coordinator of Global Governance
gon.roza@fundeps.org

Translated by: Gisela Quevedo

The presentation of this special issue dedicated to the human right to health, which was supported by FUNDEPS, took place at the Buenos Aires Law School.

Last Tuesday, Juan Miguel Litvachkes, member of the Human Rights Division of FUNDEPS, was involved in the presentation of the special heath issue of Revista En Letra, which was held in the Blue Hall of the Buenos Aires Law School. In this special issue, FUNDEPS team members contributed two articles: Carolina Tamagnini (member of the Human Rights Division) and Virginia Pedraza (coordinator of the Human Rights Division) respectively authored “Reflections on the Initiative for a Framework Convention on Global Health” and “Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights from a Human Rights Perspective” (the latter was co-authored by Ignacio Pedraza). Juan Miguel Litvachkes also served as general coordinator of the issue and conducted two interviews: he interviewed Oscar Cabrera, Executive Director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health, and Veronica Schoj, Executive Director of the Inter-American Heart Foundation.

At the presentation event, Juan Miguel Litvachkes of FUNDEPS participated in the panel, along with Alejandro Ezequiel Coto, Director of Revista En Letra; Jonathan Brodsky, Deputy Director of Revista En Letra; Luciana Scotti, Professor at the University of Buenos Aires; and Marisa Aizenberg, Director of the Expert Committee on the Human Right to Health at the Buenos Aires Law School.

Revista En Letra is an emerging forum dedicated to the law and built upon the principals of independence, diversity, critical thinking, and academic excellence. It aims to stimulate the production of future generations of legal activists who will contribute to the development of a democratic culture rooted in informed public debate.

FUNDEPS contributed to this special health issue by working with the project coordinators. A space was also offered to allow the staff of FUNDEPS to contribute some of its experience on human right to health topics. “Reflections on the Initiative for a Framework Convention on Global Health,” by Carolina Tamagnini, described the topics on the agenda of academic sectors and civil society organizations dedicated to health law, and analyzed the possibilities and limitations of a framework convention. Virginia and Ignacio Pedraza approached sexual and reproductive health rights from a human rights perspective, examining the relationships and hierarchies of the rights at stake from a perspective linked to public policy. FUNDEPS invites you to download the Human Right to Health Issue (click here), and to reflect on the human right to health in Argentina and Latin America which, in the words of Dr. Aizenberg, is a continuously advancing road to a new paradigm for the service of an ideal: a more just society with better laws.

More information:

Contact:

Juan Miguel Litvachkes
juanlitvachkes@fundeps.org

Translated by: Heather Walker

In recent years, our country received and continues to receive various funds from international financial institutions in order to manage existing forest resources.  How are theseplanned, executed and decided? 

In this context, it is worthwhile for civil society to question the principles and governing rules that are taken as the starting point to apply the funds and if these areactually implemented. For this reason, FUNDEPS has decided to monitor the management of the funds that our country has received and match the conditions to the “AR Sustainable Natural Resources Management”, provided by the World Bank and the “AR – L 1067: Forest Sustainability and Competitiveness Program” provided by the Inter-American Development Bank. These standards are applied in several Argentinian provinces and will impact much of the country, but the goal is the same: improve forestry production sustainably.

The management of our forestry resources has historically been marked by the excessive encroachment on agricultural land, the constant deforestation of native forests and human rights violations of indigenous farming communities as well as the absence of transparent and participative decision-making processes. As such, we sent out numerous requests soliciting information linked tothese projects and we contacted a number of persons responsible for implementing the funds.

Although in our final report will include all the relevant conclusions, we find it necessary to bring forward that after the specified deadlines for responses to the information requests sent to the provinces had expired, only a handful responded. Of the responses received, the majority did not provide relevant information about the application of the projects. It is extremely complex to access the information needed to evaluate the areas where forestry projects are implemented and the breakdown of the state organizations is overwhelming.
Although we found much information about the rules that are applied, benchmarks and accountability, and technical criteria on the objectives of the funds, we believe that this reading is complex, the information is over-abundant, which, in practical terms, makes it inaccessibleand, in some cases, it is in another language.

For more information:

Informacion_sistematizada_-_Proyectos_gestion_de_bosques – Banco Mundial – BID

Contact:

info@fundeps.org

Translated by D. Phillips