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Social Standards in Bilateral and Regional Trade and Investment Agreements

Instruments, Enforcement, and Policy Options for Trade Unions
Publisher: 
FES
City: 
Geneva
Volume, number, page: 
n.16, pp.
Category: 
Abstract: 
Despite efforts of the ILO, no viable multilateral labor rights regime has been established. At the same time, an increasingly global economy requires such regimes in order to prevent ruinous competition between countries competing in similar product markets on the basis of a similar set of production factors. Particularly if cheap labor is one of these factors, systematic violations of labor rights may be used as source of competitive advantages, even if such advantages are marginal. So-called ‘core labor rights’ can enable domestic actors to fight for improved standards.
Unilateral labor rights provisions do exist in the Generalized System of Preferences of the United States and the European Union, and have been applied with some success. However, attempts of the international labor movement to establish more enforceable multilateral labor rights provisions at the WTO have failed so far. Civil society actors have therefore stepped up their efforts to push individual transnational
enterprises to adopt so-called voluntary codes of conduct, with mixed (and limited) success.
A more recent strategy is the inclusion of labor rights provisions in bilateral or regional trade and investment agreements. With the multilateral trade process stalling, the governments of developed countries are moving toward bilateral and regional negotiations, where they have more bargaining power. Also, the value of unilateral trade preference schemes has decreased due to multilateral liberalization. Labor rights provisions in bilateral or regional agreements may thus be seen as a promis-ing strategy for improving compliance regarding core labor rights.
Specific labor rights provisions have been included in several agreements negotiated by the U.S., and more general provisions are to be found in agreements of the EU. Most U.S. provisions are effectively limited to the commitment of parties to enforce domestic labor law. However, there are notable exceptions in the agreements with Cambodia and Jordan, which could serve as examples for future labor rights provisions. In EU bilateral agreements, the focus is clearly on general human rights, development issues, technical cooperation and political dialogue, rather than on specific and enforceable labor rights provisions.
In addition to the problematic subordination of labor rights decisions to foreign policy objectives, there are two main problems for even the strongest labor rights provisions: First, their effective enforcement relies on strong local actors; yet it is the absence or weakness of such actors that makes external pressure necessary in the first place. Second, labor relations are among the most political domestic institutions, and resistance to external pressure can be expected not just in cases of systematic violations of core labor rights.

Human rights dialogue between the European Union and Central America

City: 
Brussels
Volume, number, page: 
28 p.
Abstract: 
This report is a brief study of the political dialogue on human rights between the European Union and Central America and acts as a basis for the preparation of an own-initiative report by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights. Political dialogue is today considered to be the European Union’s most important instrument for external action. It entails dialogue on equal terms that recognises the different situations of the parties involved and uses cooperation as a common working method.One result of this instrument is the development of relations with the Central American isthmus, based on the Framework Cooperation Agreement with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua
and Panama, which was signed on 22 February 1993 and entered into force on 1 March 1999. The socalled San José Dialogue has also helped to contribute to the stability of these relations. The instability of the Central American region in past decades, caused by armed conflicts, has had a direct impact on the limited development of these nations. Nonetheless, and in spite of their terrible consequences, there is a social desire for change in the region, focusing on the improvement of living conditions in a peaceful context. Aware of the new development situation arising in the region, the European Union decided that it was appropriate to include Central America in its human development programmes, based on the promotion of democracy and human rights. This initiative gave rise to the Multiannual Programme for the Promotion of Democracy and Human Rights in Central America, which establishes different programmes for each country, and involves leaders and groups from civil society. By implementing these programmes the European Union is paving the way for comprehensive development among the actors involved. After analysing the above channels, this paper suggests a series of strategic recommendations to be considered as a preliminary analysis for the formulation of a framework strategy.

Forging Bonds with Emigrants :

Challenges for Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean
Publisher: 
GIGA
City: 
Hamburg
Volume, number, page: 
53 p.
Category: 
Abstract: 
This document is based on the discussions which developed within the framework of the Seminar “Forging Bonds with Emigrants: Challenges for Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean” (https://www.giga-hamburg.de/forging-bonds-eulac), organised by the EU-LAC Foundation, the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies and the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), which took place at the Senate of the city of Hamburg, Germany, on September 18th to 20th, 2017.
Current debates on the subject of migration in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean revolve around the challenges
posed by the increase in migration flows and the integration of immigrants in the States receiving them (Migration Policy Institute 2016). Much less attention is paid to the fact that some countries of these regions are exemplary in terms of the policies they have developed towards their emigrants. To better understand the migratory phenomenon and identify possibilities for international cooperation in this area, it is essential to understand that all immigrants are also emigrants. It is therefore also fundamental to investigate the policies adopted by the countries of origin to create or maintain links with their communities of citizens residing abroad. This article offers insights to understand these policies from a comparative perspective, illustrating good practices and making recommendations to help academia, private stakeholders, civil society and policy-makers to improve these bonds. In addition to the institutional agents, the migrants in the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean are also principal stakeholders in the bi-regional relationship; their presence helps us to appreciate the relevance and necessity of the relationship between these regions and demonstrates the importance of a structured bi-regional dialogue on migration to resolve these challenges.

EU development cooperation with Latin America

Publisher: 
European Parliament
City: 
Bruselas
Volume, number, page: 
12 p.
Abstract: 
EU development cooperation with Latin America is mainly conducted through the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) and its different geographical (regional, sub-regional and bilateral) and thematic programmes. Nevertheless, the 2014-2020 programming period has brought about the introduction of a new blending financial instrument for the region, the Latin American Investment Facility (LAIF), which combines EU grants with other resources. It has also seen the transition of most Latin American countries ...

Dealing with diversity The EU and Latin America today

Publisher: 
EUISS
City: 
Paris
Volume, number, page: 
n.145.
Category: 
Abstract: 
This Chaillot Paper examines the relationship between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). It contends that the original assumptions underpinning EU policy towards the region no longer apply, due to the erosion of the liberal consensus, as well as the ongoing obstacles to regional integration in LAC.
Highlighting the various shortcomings in this bi-regional relationship, the paper argues that focusing on bilateral relations between the EU and individual countries is the way to move forward today, as it is in this sphere that deeper and more concrete cooperation has been strongest. This is because this level of interaction is best suited to accommodate an increasingly diverse region.

Emigrant Policies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Emigrant Policies in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Publisher: 
FLACSO-Chile
City: 
Santiago
Volume, number, page: 
358 p.
Category: 
Abstract: 
Nation-states are no longer contained by their borders. In times of mass migration and ever more dense transnational networks, states of all sizes and all migration profiles reach out to their emigrated citizens in wholly new ways. The variety of policies that target emigrants (“emigrant policies”) is so vast that it seems to have become a new state function. For example, it is well known that states are expanding citizen participation beyond the nation’s boundaries through voting rights and new modalities of representation and that they are opening channels for remittance transfer and offering specific investment opportunities to returning emigrants. However, other, less studied emigrant policies, comprise the symbolic incorporation of emigrants into the nation-state (e.g. through awards celebrating emigrants’ achievements); social service provisions for non-residents (e.g. health and education); and the institutional inclusion of emigrants in consultative bodies, to name just a few.
This book is the first to systematically take stock of the emigrant policies in place across 22 Latin American and Caribbean countries, as of 2015. By covering an entire geographical region and being based on rigorous data-collection, this will be a reference in a literature that has so far centered on a few specific cases. Also, our proposed definition of “emigrant policies” encompasses a wide range of policies that are aimed at emigrants beyond the “usual suspects” analyzed in the extant literature (electoral, citizenship, and economic policies), resulting in 112 different dimensions. This survey of such a broad sample of countries and policy dimensions will allow researchers to theorize and make comparisons on models of emigrant policy on a solid empirical and conceptual base.

Contributions made by decentralised cooperation between the European Union and Latin America to territorial cooperation in Latin America

issues for debate
Contributions made by decentralised cooperation between the European Union and Latin America to territorial cooperation in Latin America
Publisher: 
OCD
City: 
Barcelona
Volume, number, page: 
142 p.
Category: 
Abstract: 
The present study is the result of a process of reflection carried out under the auspices of the Observatory on Decentralised Cooperation (OCD) between the European Union and Latin America regarding the phenomenon of territorial cooperation in both regions. Its aim is to reflect upon the relevance and potential that public decentralised cooperation between Europe and Latin America has to strengthen in a decisive manner the territorial cooperation processes already underway in Latin America.The starting point for the study is the conviction that the territorial cooperation dynamics that have emerged in the heart of the European Union have been especially rich and that the experience accumulated in this fi eld represents a fundamental contribution to regional integration processes. The second important point of departure is the recognition that public decentralised cooperation between the European Union and Latin America is an emerging phenomenon, whose dynamism and specifi characteristics make it a privileged channel for the exchange of experiences between both regions and a means of enhancing local authorities’s administrative capacities and strengthening policies to promote social cohesion from a territorial perspective.It is these two premises that stimulated the Observatory’s interest in researching the extent to which decentralised cooperation could contribute to making territorial cooperation in Latin America more dynamic.

The European Union as a Conveniently-conflicted Counter-hegemon through Trade

Publisher: 
UACES
City: 
London
Volume, number, page: 
9:4, pp.560-577
Abstract: 
This article addresses the failure by scholars of EU trade policy to fully explain the difficulties faced in realising the ‘normative’ goals contained within the European Union’s external trade policy and the conviction that it might be a ‘force for good’ through trade. In seeking to account for and, in particular, move beyond the failure to fully explain these difficulties, the article adopts a critical social science approach that focuses on relations of domination and the (potentially misleading) appearances that such relations tend to uphold. In contrast to the traditional view of the EU as a potential ‘force for good’, we conceptualise it as a site of domination, focusing in particular on three mechanisms through which this domination is achieved – expansive market (capitalist) exchange, the ‘Othering’ that tends to accompany such processes of expansion, and the de-politicisation necessary to achieve and/or legitimate these processes. The article proceeds to explore recent developments in EU trade policy, and in particular the Global Europe agenda and associated new generation of free trade agreements with trade partners in Asia and Latin America. In doing so, the article examines the extent to which processes of market expansion, Othering and de-politicisation have been realised in recent EU trade policy. It argues for a conceptualisation of the European Union as a conveniently-conflicted counter-hegemon through trade, whereby the EU presents itself as a potential “force for good” through trade, but simultaneously avoids the realisation of that potential (and justifies its non-realisation) by evoking the conveniently-conflicted status that arises from institutional constraints and both internal disagreements and external differences. This account, we claim, is both more plausible than the existing empirical accounts in that it is able to explain the consistent promotion of an apparently unrealisable ‘progressive’ agenda by the European Union, and an improvement upon those accounts in that it illuminates and demystifies relations of domination and certain ideas that act to uphold them.

An analysis of Central America and Eastern Europe Revealed Comparative Advantages

Publisher: 
IEECA Society
City: 
Minneapolis
Volume, number, page: 
1:1, pp.1-12
Abstract: 
The present study applies the revealed comparative advantages through the Balassa Index to determine the comparative advantages, disadvantages, and intra-product commerce tendencies between Central America and Eastern Europe with the purpose of determining the possibility of a free trade agreement for Central America. The approach of the study is through the connection between the European Economic Union and the Central American Common market, which shares a common background and relates them to research of Bela Balassa (1965) to determine how commerce between Central America and Eastern Europe has performed and the possibilities of growth that this commerce has through a free trade agreement. The study demonstrates the importance of analyzing competitive advantages. This paper presents the difference in competitive advantage between Eastern Europe and Central American establishing the benefits when negotiating a free trade agreement between both economic blocks. Therefore, analyzing and negotiating between products of competitive advantages may lead to a more sustainable economic growth.

Research on Biodiversity and Climate Change at a Distance

Collaboration Networks between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean.
Publisher: 
PLOS
City: 
San Francisco
Volume, number, page: 
11:6: pp.1-19.
Abstract: 
Biodiversity loss and climate change are both globally significant issues that must be addressed through collaboration across countries and disciplines. With the December 2015 COP21 climate conference in Paris and the recent creation of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), it has become critical to evaluate the capacity for global research networks to develop at the interface between biodiversity and climate change. In the context of the European Union (EU) strategy to stand as a world leader in tackling global challenges, the European Commission has promoted ties between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in science, technology and innovation.
However, it is not clear how these significant interactions impact scientific cooperation at the interface of biodiversity and climate change. We looked at research collaborations between two major regions—the European Research Area (ERA) and LAC—that addressed both biodiversity and climate change. We analysed the temporal evolution of these collaborations, whether they were led by ERA or LAC teams, and which research
domains they covered. We surveyed publications listed on the Web of Science that were authored by researchers from both the ERA and LAC and that were published between 2003 and 2013. We also run similar analyses on other topics and other continents to provide baseline comparisons. Our results revealed a steady increase in scientific co-authorships between ERA and LAC countries as a result of the increasingly complex web of relationships that has been weaved among scientists from the two regions. The ERA-LAC coauthorship increase for biodiversity and climate change was higher than those reported forother topics and for collaboration with other continents. We also found strong differences in international collaboration patterns within the LAC: co-publications were fewest from researchers in low- and lower-middle-income countries and most prevalent from researchers in emerging countries like Mexico and Brazil. Overall, interdisciplinary publications represented 25.8%of all publications at the interface of biodiversity and climate change in the ERA-LAC network. Further scientific collaborations should be promoted 1) to prevent less developed countries from being isolated from the global cooperation network, 2) to ensure that scientists from these countries are trained to lead visible and recognized biodiversity and climate change research, and 3) to develop common study models that better integrate multiple scientific disciplines and better support decision-making.

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