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Published on 14 November 2022

We urgently need a renewed social contract, anchored in a comprehensive approach to human rights, in the light of the pandemic and beyond... No meaningful social contract is possible without the active and equal participation of women and girls.

- UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Our Common Agenda [1].

A historic setback for women in Latin America

The Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet, but it's already obvious that the post-pandemic scenario is dire, especially for women.

In my Latin American region, women are suffering ‘a historic setback’, according to the regional UN Economic Commission [2]. In its recently published Social Panorama of Latin America 2021, the Commission concludes that: ‘one result of the pandemic has been an overburden of domestic and unpaid care and domestic work primarily assumed by women. They have also been overrepresented in sectors related to care and the first line of response to the pandemic. Economic recovery has been slower in feminized sectors of activity’. Thus:

‘the pandemic has clearly exacerbated gender inequality and reinforced the structural challenges on which it rests. Loss of income, increased job insecurity and time poverty are phenomena that affect women most and have worsened during the crisis’.

While Latin American women aged between 25 and 59 years have higher poverty rates than men in the same age range in all of the region’s countries[3] and the regional per capita gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 7.6% in 2020[4], the 104 Latin American billionaires listed by Forbes increased their wealth by 14% between 2019 and 2021.[5]

Inequalities in the region were already among the worst in the world before the pandemic and have now reached a point characterised by Chilean economist Guillermo Larraín as one of segregation: ‘Segregation for reasons of race or gender is illegal in most of the world nowadays, but the market regularly discriminates the access to health, education or housing based on income. When incomes correlate with race or gender (or their intersections) policies that segment the market end up segregating’. [6]

In parallel with these economic and social setbacks for women, an ideological offensive by conservative groups was documented in many Latin American countries, with active campaigns against the legalisation of abortion, same-sex marriages, sexual education in schools, and the use of inclusive language[7]. With variations in each country, depending on local political configurations, those groups became vocal in the Organization of American States (OAS), where they managed to delete the term ‘intersectionality’ from the resolutions of the 2020 OAS General Assembly. [8]

Case law of the Inter-American Human Rights System uses the concept of ‘intersectionality’ to examine discrimination, taking into consideration those cases where there is a cross-cutting convergence of many factors of vulnerability and risk of discrimination associated with a series of specific conditions, such as those of children, women, people living in poverty and people living with HIV. Yet, conservative groups managed to substitute this term in the 2020 resolutions for ‘gender-based discrimination’ arguing that intersectionality promotes homosexuality. This was considered by different human rights and feminist groups as an attempt to severely limit the reach of human rights legal instruments. As explained in the 2019 Compendium of Inter-American Standards on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: ‘an intersection of identities and risks can aggravate human rights violations against persons, groups, and communities living in situations of historical vulnerability and discrimination in the Hemisphere.’ [9]

Signs of hope across the region

In 2022, the political signs became more encouraging for women in Latin America: on 11 March 2022, Gabriel Boric inaugurated his presidency in Chile with 14 women and 10 men in his ministerial cabinet. On 27 January, Xiomara Castro became the first woman president of Honduras, ending a series of authoritarian and corrupt governments starting with a US-backed coup d’état in 2009. In Colombia, environmentalist Francia Márquez became the first woman of African ancestry to be elected vice-president, joining Gustavo Petro in the progressive presidential ticket that won the national elections in June. In Brazil all opinion polls predict Lula da Silva as the winner in the presidential elections of October against incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who is well known to be a misogynist. [10]

The task in front of this new wave of progressive governments is enormous. In the words of president Boric:

During the pandemic, the rich in Chile substantially increased their capital, while poverty and extreme poverty increased for the first time in decades. The promise of equality and inclusion has not been fulfilled, and therefore, that social pact is broken, and we need to build a new one, where the State is able to guarantee social rights universally regardless of where you are born, the ethnic group you come from or the colour of your skin. And that requires structural reforms.

Obstacles on the road ahead

In his Our Common Agenda report [11] of 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres promised to ‘mobilize the whole United Nations system to assist countries in support of a renewed social contract, anchored in human rights.’ He also proposed to convene a world social summit in 2025, 30 years after the World Summit for Social Development 1995 (Copenhagen), usually referred to as the Social Summit. Such a conference would be ‘an opportunity to hold a different form of global deliberation and to live up to the values, including trust and listening, that underpin the social contract.’

‘Universal social protection floors, including universal health coverage, adequate housing, education for all and decent work’ are key aspects of such a contract and the Secretary-General emphasised that it would not be meaningful: ‘without the active and equal participation of women and girls’.

The notion of redrafting social contracts in light of the experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic (and most recently the dramatic consequences of the war in Europe) gained traction and the Club de Madrid (self-defined as ‘the largest forum of former democratic presidents and prime ministers’) went as far as proposing ‘a post-pandemic Social Contract’ adding that ‘the concept of Human Dignity should be anchored in all discussions’.

Author's sidenote: Is ‘human dignity’ feminist?

As a sidenote, it is interesting to note that the word ‘dignity’ does not appear at all in the 20-page summary of the groundbreaking book The Remaking of Social Contracts published by the Southern feminist organisation DAWN in 2014, whereas ‘justice’ is mentioned 25 times and ‘equality’ 42 times. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states in its first article that ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’, but the word ‘dignity’ is associated in many languages with patriarchal notions of authority and nobility, as clearly evidenced by the different definitions of dignified behaviour for men and women in different cultures. Will feminists embrace ‘dignity’ for its human equality implications or use other terms to name the struggles against the many intersecting forms that social injustice takes.

Global governance raises many obstacles

Yet, Secretary-General Guterres warns that ‘to support solidarity within societies and between generations, we also need a new deal at the global level.’ This would require ‘robust international cooperation together with a rethinking of the interdependence between the economy, people and the planet.’ This is not what we are seeing in the current state of world affairs. For the last 50 years ‘cooperation’ has been equated in UN parlance and institutional culture with official development assistance (ODA), i.e. the voluntary monetary contribution of OECD countries to developing countries and multilateral organisations, which currently supports 80% of UN expenditure. The core budget of the UN, made up of the legally mandatory member country contributions, only amounts to 20% of its spending.

Developed countries have promised over five decades that ODA would reach 0.7% of their GDP, but only a handful have ever reached that goal and the average is less than half. The OECD claims that ODA reached a historic peak of $178.9 billion in 2021. But as former UN assistant secretary-general Stephen Cutts wrote in the Financial Times: [12] ‘unfortunately, these figures cannot be trusted.’ In recent years, donors have been changing the accounting procedures for ODA, adding to their genuine contributions inflated estimates of the ‘grant equivalent’ of their loans (which developing countries pay back) and credit guarantees that are never actually disbursed, while counting as flows foreign investments without discounting their returns.

Further, donors counted as ODA the donation of about-to-expire Covid-19 vaccines at a price per vaccine that was on average double what they paid for them, when developed countries hoarded many more vaccines than they needed!

This ‘marking their own homework’ has allowed donors to exaggerate their generosity (and cut their real aid expenditures). At the same time, through coordinated action in different global governance fora, these same governments frequently pursue in their own short-term interests policies that actually make it more difficult for developing countries to build new feminist social contracts.

This is the case, in particular, in the areas of climate change, global finance, investment, biodiversity, intellectual property and trade, all of which are essential for an enabling (or disabling) global environment in which countries are to construct new social arrangements.

Addressing the unfair climate crisis

Latin America and the Caribbean emits less than 3 tonnes of CO2 per person a year, less than half of the per capita emissions of China and the EU (at around 7 tonnes each) and less than a fifth of those of the US (15 tonnes per capita). Nevertheless, the region suffers the consequences of the climate crisis in the form of droughts and floods, often with catastrophic consequences for people living in slums or whose livelihoods depend on agriculture. In both cases, these consequences disproportionately affect women. The Paris Climate Agreement is clear on the importance of ‘averting, minimizing and addressing’ this kind of loss and damage.[13] While ‘averting’ and ‘minimising’ can be equated with the issues already being addressed (insufficiently, of course) of mitigation and adaptation, ‘addressing’ loss and damage means helping people (and women in particular) after they have experienced climate-related losses. This is a matter of justice.

In an historic intervention at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2015, then South Centre director Martin Khor explained the roadmap to a climate regime consistent with human rights:

The developed countries should take the lead because of historical responsibility (they contributed most of the emissions in the atmosphere), their higher income, and their technological capability. They should therefore lead in mitigation efforts and transfer finance and technology to the South.[14]

The amounts needed run into many hundreds of billions of dollars annually, according to estimates by the UN and the World Bank.

Developing countries, in turn ‘have to upgrade their efforts to cope with effects of climate change through adaptation measures, disaster management and post-disaster reconstruction. They also have to strive for social and economic development, support their people to meet their rights to food, housing and development, and at the same time attempt to switch to a low-emission production model.

Finally, ‘a global deal needs to be negotiated at the UN Climate Convention based on the Convention’s principle of environment ambition to minimize climate change, and the principle of equity in sharing the efforts to be made by countries.’ Such a global deal is still to be reached and without a global ‘atmospheric budget’ of tolerable carbon emissions to be distributed fairly, the total reduction voluntarily promised by countries, even if met, still leads the Earth to catastrophic warming.

In the current climate negotiations, developed countries are blocking all progress on ‘loss and damage’ and the scarce climate-related assistance provided is directed to mitigation (reducing or limiting the already low emissions of developing countries) and not so much for adaptation, which is what the South mostly needs. In the absence of a comprehensive global agreement, developing countries have no way to capitalise on the global contribution of their forests as ‘carbon sinks’, while preventing climate disasters is a burden on their budgets that could otherwise be used to support care systems or social protection, for example.

Acting unilaterally, the EU is about to create a carbon border adjustment mechanism – a tax on imported goods sold in EU markets on the basis of their carbon content (the emissions required to produce them), which depends on their material and energy inputs. Such a measure could help to reduce emissions and level the competitive playing field for EU-based firms, but the trade protectionism that it entails risks hurting developing countries.[15]

Finances: the IMF should take responsibility

In a recent editorial, [16] the prestigious economist Martin Wolf quotes research from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), concluding that: ‘today's fluid global capital markets have generated waves of financial crises, while bringing little evident benefit’. This is particularly the case in Latin America, where financial crises frequently hit like devastating hurricanes.

Due to the 2019 financial crisis in Argentina, the number of people living below the poverty line almost doubled from under 20% to 37%. At the same time billions of dollars flew out of the country, and simultaneously with the massive impoverishment at home, Argentinian investors became in 2021 the second-largest buyers of real estate in Miami, according to a report by Florida Realtors.[17]

Nevertheless, the IMF keeps recommending, or even imposing to borrowing countries, the lifting of capital controls as a formula to attract foreign investment together with austerity policies that limit public spending.

Responding to criticism that international financial institutions were ignoring the human rights consequences of their activities, an IMF spokesperson stated in 2001 that they do not have a mandate to promote human rights and are not ‘bound by various human rights declarations and conventions’, [18] which includes women’s rights, obviously. In 2018 Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, reported to the UN General Assembly that the IMF considers that it ‘cannot promote human rights directly without contravening the Articles of Agreement’. Further, ‘the Deputy General Counsel of IMF informed the Special Rapporteur that this position remained unchanged. He reiterated that it was not bound by human rights norms, “except perhaps in cases of genocide”.’ [19] The same rapporteur had found in 2015 that ‘the World Bank was, for most purposes, a “human rights-free zone”. [20]


In practice, the IMF is not even accountable to its own bylaws. In 2018, it disbursed to Argentina $45 billion in the largest loan in its history. This standby agreement was ‘absolutely impossible to comply with’, in the opinion of 10 former presidents from Latin America and Spain, [21] and was granted ‘to the government of Mauricio Macri, in order to benefit him electorally and to limit the next administrations.’ In his previous role as a private real estate entrepreneur Macri was associated with Donald Trump in several projects. But the IMF money (together with national reserves) was flown out to fiscal havens, the financial collapse was not avoided, Macri lost the election, and the Argentinians were left impoverished and with an unpayable debt. On 26 January, while hurried last-minute negotiations were conducted to avoid Argentina defaulting, the presidents quoted above wrote a letter demanding ‘that the International Monetary Fund takes responsibility’. The signatories included Lula da Silva (Brazil), José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (Spain), José Mujica (Uruguay) and Ernesto Samper (Colombia). The IMF did not bother to reply and its managing director at the time, Christine Lagarde, was appointed at the helm of the European Central Bank.

On 27 January, just hours before a new agreement between Argentina and the IMF was announced, Guido Croxatto, national director of the School of the State Bar and Lawyers Corps, admitted in a TV interview[22] that the legal defenders of the Argentinian state were seriously considering challenging the 2018 standby agreement with the IMF as ultra vires (beyond the powers) as it violated core provisions of the IMF’s own Articles of Agreement.

When international organizations act beyond their legal capacity, they are deemed to act ultra vires. It follows that any acts that overstep the powers of international organizations—as determined in their founding treaties—are invalid and void.

The hypothesis that the IMF acted beyond its legal powers in the 2018 agreement was developed in detail by Karina Patrício Ferreira Lima, lecturer in Commercial Law at the University of Leeds in the UK.[23] But since the IMF is only responsible to its own board (the same that approved the questionable loan), the only legal path open to Argentina would require the UN General Assembly to submit the case to the International Court of Justice in the Hague, an option for which there are no precedents.

Ultimately Argentina negotiated a new agreement to pay back the previous loan, but as more and more countries are risking sovereign debt defaults, the UN General Assembly should consider protecting developing countries and their peoples against similar abuses in the future by asking the Hague Court, in its advisory capacity, about the legal validity of standby agreements that contravene the very Articles of Agreement of the international lending organisation and/or international human rights law.

The IMF, the World Bank and other global financial institutions are de facto governed by the finance ministers of the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US) and the G10 (all the previous plus Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland) that coordinate their positions on a regular basis. For example, after the Lyon Summit in 1996 where the G7 ‘urged’ the Bretton Woods Institutions (the World Bank and the IMF) to implement the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, they launched such an initiative a few months later, and the Paris Club (donor countries) approved it.[24]

Different studies show that G7 ministers and deputies are regularly informed of IMF decisions by senior IMF officials through conference calls. The executive directors of the G7 and G10 countries harmonise their positions on a vast number of issues. The executive director in charge of the G7 presidency organises informal meetings with the other executive directors in the IMF and the World Bank, circulates the discussion notes that serve as a basis for negotiations and establishing common positions. When deemed necessary, the position that has been devised is forwarded to the managing director of the IMF and the president of the World Bank. These coordination efforts require important staff and means: 30 officials are sent to the IMF by the US to help its representative, and many more by European members.[25]

Many of the countries that control the IMF and the Bank for International Settlements (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US, collectively known as ‘G10’ even though they are 11) have claimed to have ‘feminist foreign policies’. They should be held accountable for the impact of the organisations they govern and be required to support a move to introduce accountability in institutions with enormous impact over the daily lives of women around the world.

Investors sue states for their anti-Covid-19 measures

Like many airports around the world, the Nuevo Pudahuel Airport in Santiago de Chile was closed during the pandemic and has not yet recovered its pre-pandemic levels of activity. But since Nuevo Pudahuel is run by Groupe ADP (Aéroports de Paris) as the main partner in a consortium with Italian investors, using a provision of the Government of the Republic of Chile and the agreement between Chile and France on the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments, the consortium is suing the Chilean State before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. It is claiming compensation for its losses and denouncing the drop in air traffic (and therefore its profits) as a form of expropriation. Meanwhile in Peru, the government is being sued before the Centre for having suspended toll fees payments during the pandemic, affecting the profits of the private concessionary while Mexico is being sued for Covid-19-related delays in the construction of energy plants.

Originally intended as providing a boost of foreign investment by offering guarantees against arbitrary expropriations by sovereigns, the investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms have resulted in a ‘regulatory chill’ effect, as almost any new regulation might affect future profits and thus be labelled as expropriation in the enlarged definition of the private arbitrators.

Those mechanisms have been further accused of discrimination because they offer special jurisdictions for foreign investors, while local firms can only sue their governments through local courts. This is blatant asymmetry, because corporations can sue states at these secretive international arbitration panels, but governments cannot sue corporations at them, and those powerful actors can often avoid local courts just by leaving the country.

Any new feminist social contract will certainly imply a corresponding new regulatory architecture, and even simple measures such as establishing parental leave may be constructed by corporations as expropriation of their future profits. Since 1994, when the North America Free Trade Agreement entered into force, hundreds of bilateral investor protection agreements with arbitration procedures have been signed, as independent treaties or as part of larger free trade agreements. If a country unilaterally denounces such a treaty, its investor protection provisions and the jurisdiction of the arbitration panels still extend for, usually, 10 more years. OECD member countries, particularly those that have announced ‘feminist foreign policies’ (so far Sweden, Canada, France, Luxemburg, Germany, Mexico, Spain and Chile)[26] should accept to revise in good faith their bilateral agreements with investor-state dispute settlement clauses to ensure that they cannot be used against policies that advance human rights and women’s rights.

Benefits of biodiversity are not shared

Between 50 and 80% of the food consumed in the world is produced by women, though women only own 10% of the land. Meanwhile women farmers and indigenous peoples have been recognised in international treaties, like the Convention on Biological Diversity or the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, for their role in preserving the seeds and biodiversity on which human life depends. The 2010 Nagoya Protocol to the Biodiversity Convention on access to resources established a legal right to ‘the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits resulting from their utilization’. [27] Thus, those that exploit biodiversity commercially (such as seed companies) should share their profits with the custodians of biodiversity: subsistence farmers (most of whom are women), indigenous peoples and local communities. This is of particular importance for Latin America, which has many biodiversity-rich countries and the original habitats of crops on which the livelihoods of billions of people depend, such as potatoes, maize and tomatoes among many others.

Yet, when it comes to putting this principle into practice, the multinational seed companies, which represent a business of $40 billion a year, offered a mere $50,000 a year in exchange for unlimited access to seeds and the digitalised sequence information (DSI) of genes of the world’s major food crops.[28]

The long-delayed discussions to implement benefit sharing are stalled, additionally, because pharmaceutical companies are refusing to accept sharing the profits they make out of products based on the DSI of viruses obtained from online databases, arguing that the treaties (signed decades ago) only provide for such benefit sharing when they accessvirus samples shared in vitro.

In the case of Covid-19, for example, when South African scientists identified, sequenced and shared the DSI of the Omicron variant, meeting their treaty obligations on pandemic prevention, their country was immediately ‘punished’ with unjustified travel blockades and massive losses in tourism, while the pharmaceutical corporations developing vaccines based on that information get billions in profit and have no obligation to share the benefits or the ‘recipes’ of their vaccines, protected by intellectual property rights under the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Instead of addressing a temporary waiver of those rights at the Ministerial Conference of the WTO in June 2022, as requested by over a hundred countries, ‘wealthy countries failed to resolve the glaring inequities in access to lifesaving Covid-19 medical tools for people in low- and middle-income countries,’ according to the comment by Dr Christos Christou, International President of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).[29]

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued a strong statement condemning the US, UK, Germany and others for blocking the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver.[30]

The MSF President thinks that these developed countries, among which many have proclaimed ‘feminist foreign policies’, should ‘take concrete steps to rethink and reform the biomedical innovation system to ensure that lifesaving medical tools are developed, produced and supplied equitably where monopoly-based and market-driven principles are not a barrier to access.’

Fish and crops subsidies harm women first

The Gender and Trade Coalition is a network of more than 300 women’s rights organisations and allies that puts forward feminist trade analysis and advocates for equitable trade policy. It identified two other major issues dealt with by the June 2022 WTO Ministerial Conference that further hinder meaningful women-friendly policies at country level: fisheries subsidies and agriculture.[31]

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, around 56 million women participate in small-scale fisheries globally, accounting for over 47% of fishers and fish workers in such fisheries. Women are also often more represented in lower-paid and unpaid segments of the fisheries value chain.

Target 14.6 of the Sustainable Development Goals mandates governments to ‘by 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing’ with ‘appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries’. Yet, the Gender and Trade Coalition found out that special and differential treatment was largely ignored by the Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference: ‘Subsidies given to low-income, resource-poor fishers in developing countries are subject to heavy geographical and time limits. On the other hand, developed countries with highly subsidised industrial fishing activities get a permanent reprieve through a “sustainability” criterion.’

The Covid-19 pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine and the continued impacts of the climate crisis have triggered significant increases in the price of food, fertiliser and fuel, leading to a massive global food crisis. According to the Coalition: ‘small women farmers are struggling to make a living after paying higher costs of production, while women consumers are facing immense challenges in meeting the food security needs of their households. Even during such a crisis, key mandated outcomes on public food-stockholding, a special safeguard mechanism to address issues of high and unfair domestic subsidies given by developed countries, continue to languish.’

The feminist trade experts observe that ‘the pandemic and the current food crisis are being used by the EU and others to push for further opening of agricultural markets for protecting the interests of agri-business located in their countries. Even a new trade and food security initiative fails to offer policy space to developing countries for increasing and diversifying production in order to meet domestic and global needs but attempts to extract further reforms from them.’

Finally, on the WTO itself, the Gender and Trade Coalition observes that the work carried out by the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender, established in 2020, ‘is done without any consultation with women’s rights and feminist constituencies’. This ‘has been reflective of the lack of inclusion of women’s rights organisations and civil society organisations, especially those from developing countries and working at grassroot levels, in the whole process.’

Following human rights and environmental impacts down the supply chain

In February 2022, the European Commission released its draft regulation on human rights and environmental due diligence.[32] The draft requires large EU companies, and some non-European companies doing significant business in Europe, to assess their actual and potential human rights and environmental impacts throughout their operations and down their supply chains and to take action to prevent, mitigate and remedy identified human rights and environmental harms. Companies that fail to conduct effective due diligence or to implement preventative or remediation measures face both administrative penalties and civil liability.

Similar laws have been passed or are about to enter into effect in Germany, Norway, France and the Netherlands. [33]

This notion that human rights responsibilities ‘extend down the chain’ needs to be translated into global governance mechanisms. States that sit on the board of international institutions like the IMF or have delegated their trade negotiation capacity to bodies like the European Commission, cannot evade responsibility when those institutions of which they are part take decisions or implement policies that hurt human rights in other countries or limit the ability of those countries to implement a feminist social contract or reach the Sustainable Development Goals that they themselves have endorsed at the UN and are required to meet. Without such transparency and accountability of the rich and powerful, feminist social contracts in developing countries will not find the international cooperation and enabling global environment that they need.

Recommendations for an enabling environment for feminist social contracts

Developed countries, particularly the members of the G7 and the G10, and even more so those among them that claim to have feminist foreign policies, could take some immediate measures to ensure an enabling global environment for feminist social contracts.

For example:

  1. Meet their five-decades-old commitment to contribute 0.7% of their GDP to sustainable development and entrust an independent UN agency with the task of defining and accounting what is genuine assistance, differentiated from other financial flows.
  2. Allow science to define the ‘carbon budget’ (the amount that can be emitted without jeopardising the 1.5°C target established in the Paris Agreement) and distribute that budget fairly among countries, applying the agreed principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ and taking into account historic contributions to the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere.
  3. Instruct the Bretton Woods Institutions (IMF and World Bank) to accept that human rights, including women’s rights, are international law that makes them duty bearers as intergovernmental organisations. Create independent bodies of appeal to oversee the impact of their policies and conditionalities and with authority to repeal them and provide adequate remedies when they are found to be in violation of their legal obligations.
  4. Revise the bilateral investment agreements they have signed with developing countries to ensure that environmental, health and human rights considerations are adequately excluded from the definitions of expropriations that require compensation. Empower national courts in the recipient country to decide in investor-state disputes, collaborate in fighting transfer pricing and other illicit financial flows, and introduce transparency in intra-corporate accounting so that profits can be taxed where they are generated.
  5. End fishing and agricultural subsidies that damage the economies in developing countries (where most of the producers are women), and waive intellectual property rights over vaccines, medicines and treatments against Covid-19 and other pandemics

[1] Our Common Agenda: Report of the Secretary-General, UN, 2021,

[2] Social Panorama of Latin America, 2021, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, (LC/PUB.2021/17-P), 2022,

[3] Ibid, page 68

[4] Ibid, page 43

[5] Ibid. page 61

[6] ‘Conversation with Guillermo Larraín on the occasion of the publication of his book “The stability of the social contract in Chile”’, Real Instituto Elcano, 14 February 2022,

[7] Políticas antigénero en América Latina en el contexto Pandémico, Sonia Corrêa, ed, Rio de Janeiro, Associação Brasileira Interdisciplinas de Aids, 2022,

[8] ‘ONG de DD. HH., preocupadas por rol de Colombia en Asamblea de la OEA’ (‘Human rights NGOs worried about Colombia’s role at the OAS Assembly’), El Tiempo, Bogotá, 21 October 2020,

[9] Compendium on Equality and Non-Discrimination: Inter-American Standards, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 2019,

[10] See, for example, ‘Brazilian court orders Bolsonaro to compensate journalist for sexist remarks’, Camilo Rocha and Daniela Gonzalez-Roman, CNN, 30 June 2022,

[11] Our Common Agenda: Report of the Secretary-General, UN, 2021,

[12] ‘Overseas aid statistics are not credible’, Stephen Cutts, Financial Times, 15 June 2022

[13] ‘What Is "Loss and Damage" from Climate Change?’ Pretty Bhandari et al, World Resources Institute, 6 April 2022,

[14] ‘A Human Rights approach to climate change’, Martin Khor, South Centre, 2015,

[15] ‘The EU’s Carbon Border Tax Could Hurt Developing Countries’, Miriam González Durántez and Calli Obern, Project Syndicate, 24 June 2022,

[16] ‘The big mistakes of the anti-globalisers’, Martin Wolf, Financial Times, 21 June 2022,

[17] ‘Los argentinos se ubicaron en el podio entre los extranjeros que más propiedades compran en Miami’ (The Argentines are among the foreigners who buy the most properties in Miami), Infobae, 9 February 2022,

[18] ‘International financial institutions and human rights: implications for public health’, Thomas Stubbs and Alexander Kentikelenis, Public Health Reviews, 2017, 38:27,, quoting Gustavo Capdevila, ‘IMF not taking into account human rights issues’, Global Policy Forum, 2017, 39, pp392-416,

[19] Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, UN (A/HRC/38/33), 2018,

[20] Extreme poverty and human rights: note by the Secretary-General, UN General Assembly, 2018, UN A/70/274, para 68,

[21] ‘Nine former presidents of Latin America ask the IMF to “assume its responsibility” with Argentina for the loan granted to Macri’, Paris Beacon, 27 January 2022

[22] ‘Investigación sobre multimillonaria deuda con el FMI’ (Investigation into multi-million dollar debt with the IMF), Televisión Pública Noticias, 26 January 2022,

[23] The IMF’s 2018 Stand-By Arrangement with Argentina: An Ultra Vires Act?, Karina Patricio Ferreira Lima, 2022, available at SSRN:

[24] Explaining the G7 and G10’s influence on World Bank decisions: The role of formal and informal rules of governance, Arthur Foch, Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne Working Papers, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), 2013,

[25] ‘Club governance: Can the world still be run by gentlemen's agreements?’, Roberto Bissio, Spotlight on Sustainable Development, 2019,

[26] ‘What is Feminist Foreign Policy?’, Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy,

[27] Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Environmental Programme,

[28] If a multilateral mechanism stumbles, what then for DSI benefit sharing? Third World Network, 2022,

[29] ‘Lack of a real IP waiver on COVID-19 tools is a disappointing failure for people’, Médecins Sans Frontières, 17 June 2022,

[30] ‘La onu denuncia discriminación racial en el acceso a la vacuna contra el covid-19’ (The UN denounces racial discrimination in access to the Covid-19 vaccine), Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales, 29 April 2022,

[31] ‘Open Letter from the Gender and Trade Coalition to the Director-General and Honourable Delegates of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ahead of MC12’, Gender and Trade Coalition, June 2022,

[32] ‘European Union Releases Draft Mandatory Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence Directive’, Marti Flacks, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 11 March 2022,

[33] ‘Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence in Germany and Norway: Stepping, or Striding, in the Same Direction?’ Markus Krajewski, Kristel Tonstad and Franziska Wohltmann, Business and Human Rights Journal, 2021, 6(3),