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17.9.2014 : 11:33 : +0200
Publication: Report: Human rights impact assessments for trade and investment agreements

Author(s): Berne Declaration, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, Misereor

Publisher: 2010, Berne Declaration, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, Misereor

This report reviews the conclusions of a recent international expert seminar on human rights impact assessments for trade and investment agreements convened under the auspices of the UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter. The seminar, hosted by the South Centre in Geneva in June 2010, was jointly organized by the Berne Declaration, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, Misereor and others.

The report sets out  key issues and methodologies for conducting human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) for trade and investment agreements.  There have been widespread calls for States to undertake HRIAs ahead of concluding trade agreements, but limited international consensus on how to do so. 

The objectives of the seminar were:
1. To review lessons learned from existing approaches to HRIAs for trade and investment
agreements, as well as other relevant assessment and monitoring tools.
2. To review and develop key principles, indicators and methodological approaches to guide
HRIAs of trade and investment agreements, including a focus on specific human rights
and on specific trade and investment provisions.
3. To lay the groundwork for the elaboration of guidelines and/or terms of reference for
HRIAs of trade and investment agreements, to be applied in pilot initiatives.
4. To strengthen collaboration and international working relationships among civil society
organizations (CSOs), academics and UN officials with an interest in promoting HRIAs.
5. To improve recognition of HRIAs as a feasible and important policy step for states negotiating trade and investment agreements.

The meeting underscored the urgency of mobilizing governments, CSOs and multilateral institutions to take concrete steps towards developing a human-rights-based approach to trade and investment agreements, and highlighted the possibilities for employing HRIAs as one means to this end.

The report is available in English, French and Spanish.


Online Source(s)

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Language Format Source Title Size
English PDF document Report of the Expert Seminar on HRIAs for Trade and Investment Agreements. June 23-24, 2010 Geneva, Switzerland
Spanish PDF document Informe del Seminario de Expertos: Evaluaciones del impacto de los tratados de comercio e inversión sobre los derechos humanos. 23-24 de junio de 2010 Ginebra, Suiza
French PDF document Rapport du séminaire d’experts: Etudes d’Impact des Accords de Commerce et d’Investissement sur les Droits Humains. 23 – 24 juin 2010 Genève, Suisse