At the occasion of the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council
The Right to the City and the UN Binding Treaty
on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights
Wednesday 23rd June 2021
1.30 – 3.00 pm (CEST)
Eric Piolle, Mayor of Grenoble, France
Amanda Flety, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights
Irene Escorihuela, Observatori DESC, GPR2C
Nathalie Rengifo, Corporate Accountability, Global Campaign
Carla Canal, reference person for Policy Coherence for Global justice of the Directorate of Global Justice and International Cooperation of the Barcelona City Council
Nelson Saule, Instituto Polis, GPR2C
Facilitator: Ms. Mónica Vargas, Transnational Institute
Video recording of the Side Event:
- English version: https://youtu.be/N5UgRK3lzi4
- Spanish version: https://youtu.be/0aD9tpkdkbU (including subtitles in Spanish during the intervention in French of Mr. Piolle).
In 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council established an intergovernmental working group to elaborate a Binding Treaty to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights. Every year since then, States are invited to the United Nations to participate in a new round of negotiations on the Treaty. The challenge is the adoption of a legally Binding Treaty to end corporate impunity and regulate corporate activities against environmental destruction, human rights abuses and violations. A UN Treaty would enable States to universally agree on the elements regulating the conduct of transnational corporations in international human rights law, and to lay the ground for an effective access to justice.
Social movements and local authorities are increasingly confronted with human rights violations arising from corporate power. From the financialization of housing to the pollution of the urban environment, the impacts of the gig economy or the deprivation of the right to water, more and more local governments in every corner of the world can relate to how corporate impunity affects the lives of fellow city residents. Most of the time, they have limited capacities to address these human rights and Right to the City violations.
To respond to this scenario, cities and communities are joining forces through networks and common initiatives, increasing local democratic spaces and building concrete alternatives to the current economic and urban development models that reinforce exclusion and inequalities.
In 2020, the “Call by Local authorities to support the UN Binding Treaty” was released, exposing their interest in an ambitious Treaty. The reflection on the UN Binding Treaty can support these initiatives to flourish and to advance towards a Right to the City paradigm that understands cities as common goods that belong to all inhabitants, and in which all can produce and enjoy the services and opportunities they have to offer.
The Side event brought together representatives of local authorities and community organizations from the Global South and North in order to highlight the impacts of transnational corporations at a local level and the possibilities presented by approving an UN Binding Treaty from a Right to the City perspective.
Organizers: Global Platform for the Right to the City (GPR2C), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, Transnational Institute (TNI) and Global Campaign to Reclaim People’s Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity.
Call of Local Authorities in support to the Binding Treaty: https://bindingtreaty.org/why-do-we-need-a-treaty/
On the Right to the City:
On the UN Binding Treaty: