What is ‘Certification’?The US withholds the final steps that are necessary to bring a trade and investment treaty into force until the other party has changed its relevant domestic laws and regulations to meet US expectations of its obligations under the agreement. In the past, US ‘expectations’ have gone beyond what is in the actual text, and even included matters that were rejected in negotiations.US officials can define another country’s obligations; become directly involved in drafting that country’s relevant law and regulations; demand to review and approve proposed laws before they are presented to the other country’s legislature; and delay certification until the US is satisfied the new laws meet its requirements.There are already moves to apply a new and extended version of certification to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement TPPA.The Bipartisan Trade Priorities Act of 2014, which seeks to establish Fast Track authority for the TPPA, contains Sec. 4a2:CONSULTATIONS PRIOR TO ENTRY INTO FORCE – Prior to exchanging notes providing for the entry into force of a trade agreement, the United States Trade Representative shall consult closely and on a timely basis with Members of Congress and committees as specified in paragraph 1, and keep them fully apprised of the measures a trading partner has taken to comply with those provisions of the agreement that are to take effect on the date that the agreement enters into force.What does this mean in practice? Read about Peru’s experience with certification in the PERU-US FTA here.
via TPP No Certification | The US withholds the steps that are necessary to bring a free trade treaty into force until the other party has changed its relevant domestic laws and regulations to meet US expectations of its obligations under the agreement. In the past, US ‘expectations’ have gone beyond what is in the actual text..
If the most important part of any United Nations world conference or high level plenary meeting is the Outcome Document, then states were the beneficiaries of the document adopted at the High Level Plenary Meeting to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples WCIP held recently in New York.The conference was held for states to form an agreement on implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples UNDRIP. That the two-day conference was needed now – after the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on September 13, 2007 – speaks to the unhurried approach states have taken to advance the human rights of the world’s 379 million Indigenous Peoples.The Outcome Document OD was prepared prior to the WCIP and adopted by the UN member states without a vote on Monday, September 22. The OD reaffirms states’ commitment to support the Declaration and promises to consult and cooperate with Indigenous Peoples and obtain their free, prior and informed consent FPIC before doing anything affecting their lands and resources. The document also commits states “to empower” Indigenous Peoples, to improve access to “appropriate” education, health and economic development and to make the elimination of violence against Indigenous Peoples, especially against women, a priority.Essentially, the OD commits states to implement the human rights they committed to in adopting the Declaration seven years ago.Indigenous Peoples did not participate in writing the final OD, other than their input during the preparation process, ICTMN columnist Dina Gilio-Whitaker said. “The WCIP Outcome Document, as expected, makes no revolutionary new commitments to elevate the political status of Indigenous Peoples in the UN.”RELATED: What Did Indigenous Peoples Get Out of the World Conference?Gilio-Whittaker noted that the International Indian Treaty Council issued a statement appreciating the states’ commitment to strengthen efforts toward the repatriation of cultural and ceremonial items and human remains and acknowledged sections of the document that encourage states to incorporate UNDRIP more fully with their human rights obligations.But the Treaty Councils statement also expressed “regret that the final WCIP Outcome Document did not include a specific reference to the development of an international oversight mechanism for the observance of Treaties, Agreements and other Constructive “Arrangements” as recommended in the Alta Outcome document. The Alta Document was created as a roadmap for the WCIP by representatives of Indigenous Peoples from all of the worlds global geo-political regions at the Global Indigenous Preparatory Conference in Alta, Norway in June 2013.“Additionally, the Document was adopted with reservations by the Holy See objecting to a clause guaranteeing reproductive rights and Canada who objects to the concept of ‘free, prior, and informed consent’,” Gilio-Whitaker said. “Reservations” means that states’ governments opt out of those clauses to which it objects, and it’s possible that more governments will formally register written reservations, she said.
via World Conference Outcome Document: States Win – ICTMN.com.
….Joining a former polytechnic was eye-opening; I know of peers who have made similar moves who speak in exactly the same terms. I have never felt so welcomed and valued within an academic role, and while I have only been in the role for a relatively short amount of time, I believe it’s a genuine reflection of the institution.People introduced themselves to me in the lift, offered to take me for coffee, and showed an interest in my previous work. Colleagues discussed possible collaborations simply for the interest of the ideas and the difference that they would make in the social world rather than what they would gain from collaborating.I am being allowed to carve out my own interests and ideas in a supportive environment and to learn from a lot of other people who have vast and varied backgrounds. The support I have gained takes many forms: regular meetings, great communication, senior staff being present, a lack of assumptions about what I will do, and workload expectations that are in line with my career position….
via Early career academics would be better off working in ‘less prestigious’ unis | Higher Education Network | The Guardian.
Sick of hearing about dirty politics? Me, too. During the campaign I started to take note of allegations that came to light after publication of Nicky Hagers book of the same name, but stopped because I was running out of bandwidth.To name a few, major and minor: possible involvement by Judith Collins in efforts to undermine the head of the SFO, which may or may not have been what led to her resignation; manipulation of figures over gang involvement in crime; the PMs apparent pre-knowledge of a private advertisement in the Press that put the Government in a favourable light; the extraordinary revelations made in Auckland Town Hall by the worlds top three whistle-blowers, Glen Greenwald, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, about our involvement in mass surveillance, overshadowed of course by the Kim Dotcom debacle.Then we learned Solid Energy had kept from the Pike River families news that the mine had been assessed as safe to enter a year ago, which, given the amount of time and effort the PM and senior Cabinet ministers had put into the issue, had serious embarrassment implications for the Government.At the very least, all this shows there is something wrong at the heart of the administration. This is not the New Zealand way of doing things. At whatever level this behaviour is known about and sanctioned, its eradication needs to come from the top to have any chance of restoring our faith in our most important institutions.One reason a lot of voters discounted the dirty politics revelations was that they were too much to absorb. Just as we got our heads around one piece of blatant cynicism another popped up to take its place. It was easier to dismiss it on the grounds that “all politicians do it”. Anyone who believes that clearly has no idea just how odious “it” is in this case.All politicians do it a bit, but not this systematically, cynically and extensively. It is impossible to know that and not be appalled.And although it suits the Government for you to believe so, “everybody” has not always done it. Any evidence to the contrary would be most welcome.And following the election, what has the Government done to allay our fears about the sort of culture it is using to run the country? It has said: “Hey, look over there — a new flag.”The most appropriate design for a new flag would be a plain red one, to ensure that the warnings of recent weeks are not ignored.The end of the election campaign must not be the end of efforts to restore faith in the integrity within limits, of course — no one is expecting miracles of our leaders.Lets hope we will be able to look back on September 20 and see it as the end of the beginning.
via Paul Little: Flag debate shields dirty House – Politics – NZ Herald News.
Matthew Coon Come is the Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees Eeyou Istchee and the chairperson of the Cree Regional Authority.The World Conference on Indigenous Peoples WCIP, an historic two-day meeting, began on Sept. 22 at the UN General Assembly in New York.I and other indigenous leaders attended the meeting with heads of government, ambassadors and ministers. We went there to witness and contribute to a new chapter of our history. We went to celebrate indigenous peoples’ human rights and new and renewed commitments by UN members states in international law.Canadas aboriginal well-being efforts insufficient, UN envoy says Visit CBC Aboriginal for more top storiesMatthew Coon Come is the Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees Eeyou Istchee and the chairperson of the Cree Regional Authority. CBCUnfortunately, Canada’s prime minister did not attend. Nor did any minister from Stephen Harpers government. Since its election in 2006, the government has refused to acknowledge within Canada that indigenous peoples’ collective rights are human rights.The idea for WCIP arose in 1993 at the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, Austria. However, it was indigenous leader Evo Morales who worked to achieve the WCIP. Upon his election as president of Bolivia in 2006, he pledged that he would propose a WCIP. It was the impetus of Morales that resulted in the UN General Assembly officially agreeing to hold a WCIP in 2014.The highlight of this conference was the General Assembly’s adoption by consensus of an outcome document, which includes the commitments of UN member states on a wide range of issues. Key matters are addressed such as indigenous youth, health, language and culture, access to justice, and violence and discrimination against indigenous peoples and individuals, in particular women.Only Canada questioned free, prior and informed consentThe centrepiece of the document is the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In his opening remarks, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared,“I am proud that the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples during my first year in office … that set minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of indigenous peoples. … And we are joining forces with indigenous peoples to reach our common goals.”Regretfully, Canada was the only state in the world that chose to request an explanation of vote. In regard to the outcome document, Canada claimed it cannot accept the two paragraphs on “free, prior and informed consent,” which is widely accepted in international law.Canada implied consent may constitute some kind of absolute “veto,” but never explained what the term means. Canada also objected to the commitment “to uphold the principles of the declaration,” since it was somehow incompatible with Canada’s constitution.Arguments contradict own endorsement of UN declarationThese arguments are false. They contradict Canada’s own endorsement of the UN declaration in 2010, which concluded: “We are now confident that Canada can interpret the principles expressed in the declaration in a manner that is consistent with our constitution and legal framework.”Canada failed to disclose this conclusion to the General Assembly. In so doing, Canada has misled the General Assembly, member states and indigenous peoples globally. Canada has failed to uphold the honour of the Crown.This repeated failure to consult violates Canadas duty under Canadian constitutional and international law.- Matthew Coon ComeSuch actions against the human rights of indigenous peoples betray Canada’s constitution. Good governance is not possible without respect and protection for indigenous peoples’ human rights. Harmonious and cooperative relations — which is also highlighted in the UN declaration — require no less.For years, the Harper government has refused to consult indigenous rights-holders on crucial issues, especially when it involves international forums. This repeated failure to consult violates Canadas duty under Canadian constitutional and international law.In his opening remarks, Ban declared to indigenous peoples from all regions of the world, “You will always have a home at the United Nations.” Yet in our own home in Canada, the federal government refuses to respect democracy, the rule of law and human rights.For thirty years, the James Bay Crees have always defended and advanced indigenous peoples’ rights at the UN and other international forums. And we will continue to achieve success.Canada’s low standards have not and cannot prevent the increasing influence of the UN declaration in Canada and worldwide.
via Canada sets lowest standard at World Conference on Indigenous Peoples – Aboriginal – CBC.
David Cameron’s former top climate change aide has lambasted world leaders for failing to show up to the crucial informal dialogue session following Tuesday’s climate summit at the UN in New York.After a day of set-piece speeches by leaders including Barack Obama that yielded little in the way of new commitments, world leaders were supposed to meet over dinner to discuss climate change, and engage in “soft diplomacy” to iron out differences ahead of crunch negotiations on a new global climate agreement.But many prominent heads of state and government stayed away from the summit altogether, or failed to show at the dinner.
via Leaders under fire for failure to attend post-UN climate summit meetings | Environment | The Guardian.
Jorge Barrera APTN National News. Ottawa didn’t think much of the high-profile UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples’ outcome document and quietly posted an official statement outlining its displeasure in a back corner of its website.The statement is posted under Foreign Affairs’ website for the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations. It’s not easy to find on the website as it’s not highlighted on the front page. It can be found first by clicking through a section on “Canadian Statements” and then the section subtitled “Statements on Human Rights.” The statement also did not make it onto Canada’s UN mission’s Twitter stream.The Assembly of First Nations’ website, however, posted Canada’s statement under “Latest News.”The first ever World Conference on Indigenous Peoples ran over two days and ended Tuesday.Canada rejected the conference’s outcome document because it gave Indigenous people too much power over development on their territories. In particular, Canadian diplomats rejected the conference document’s position on “free prior and informed consent,” which is one of the key aspects of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.“Free, prior and informed consent…could be interpreted as providing a veto to Aboriginal groups and in that regard, cannot be reconciled with Canadian law, as it exists,” said Canada’s official statement. “Agreeing…would commit Canada to work to integrate free, prior and informed consent in its processes with respect to implementing legislative or administrative measures affecting Aboriginal peoples. This would run counter to Canada’s constitution, and if implemented, would risk fettering Parliamentary supremacy.”
via Ottawa buries official statement criticizing UN conference for giving Indigenous people too much power » APTN National News.
First Nations Education has been the focus of a great deal of controversy and discussion in recent months. The latest proposed “solution” put forth in Bill C-33 was built around an enhanced federal financial contribution. The bill was, however, ultimately rejected by many first nations and subsequently abandoned by the government. . In “Picking up the Pieces,” Paul Bennett and Jonathan Anuik demonstrate why the education reform proposed in Bill C-33 missed the mark. More money in the form of increased capital funding might have brought modest gains to on-reserve schooling, but replacing one bureaucracy with another rarely changes the state of education or improves the quality of student learning at the school or community level. A community school-based approach, respectful of what Indigenous scholars such as Marie Battiste term the “learning spirit,” that supports a real shift in the locus of decision-making, stands a far better chance of making a difference and improving the achievement of all Indigenous children and youth.
via Picking Up the Pieces: A Community-School-Based Approach to First Nations Education Renewal | Northern Policy Institute.