Poverty, Transnational corporations and national debt
Council held an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights and a clustered
interactive dialogue with both the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other
business enterprises and the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial
obligations of States on the full enjoyment of human rights, particularly
economic, social and cultural rights.
Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human
rights, expressed gratitude that
extreme poverty was being prioritised but criticised the relocation of funds to
assist with climate change programmes.
transnational corporations and other business enterprises, stated that, last
year, the Human Rights Council had taken a historic decision to establish an
authoritative global standard to address business activities and human rights
and that the working group were looking at the possibility of country visits.
Cephas Lumina, the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt
and other related international financial obligations of States on the full
enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, said official initiatives on foreign debt had failed to deliver
an enduring solution. The debts of countries continued to grow and
constrain both their development prospects and their capacity to realize human
One would hope that standards for transnational
corporations could potentially alleviate extreme poverty and foreign debt.
However, although in the area of extreme poverty progress is still being made,
there, along with work on it appears that the UN is struggling. Funds are being
channelled away from extreme poverty programmes, the oversight of transnational
corporations has not yet begun and the expert on foreign debt reports the failure
of current UN policy. As the world economy falters, one might take this to
illustrate changing political priorities at the UN. In the absence of a global
financial recovery, whether a UN department designed to interfere with private
business will be given real political claws is a worrying question.