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Dear Colleagues!

Herewith we are sending to you joint NGO International Statement on
Multilateral Agreements on Investments to ask from you support for this
initiative of Friends of the Earths and many other organization. If you
would like to check the essence of MAI, please visit site

130 European NGOs have discussed this issue at the Strategy Meeting, held at
Lake Bled (Slovenia) in November 1997. If you decide to support the joint
statement please send it to

until 6th of February.

Sincerely yours,

Albin Keuc
European ECO Forum



In the next few weeks, the political representatives for the OECD
countries will be meeting (the week of February 16th) to decide whether
to a) proceed with the negotiations for the MAI or b) to scrap the
agreement altogether. Groups around the world are gearing up to increase
the pressure nationally and internationally that the MAI should be

Below is a joint NGO statement that was released in Paris during the NGO
consultation meeting with the OECD last October. We are asking groups to
endorse this statement so that we can re-release it internationally with
more signatures the week of February 9th.

If your organization can endorse this statement, please send me your

Also, please circulate this message broadly to other networks you work

Thanks in advance for your help. Keep up the fight against the MAI. Its
defeat could be the next blow to the globalization agenda!

Regards, Andrea Durbin, Friends of the Earth, US



NGO/ OECD Consultation on the MAI
Paris: 27 October, 1997


As a coalition of development, environment and consumer groups from around
the world, with representation in over 70 countries, we consider the draft
Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) to be a damaging agreement which

should not proceed in its current form, if at all.

There is an obvious need for multilateral regulation of investments in view

of the scale of social and environmental disruption created by the
increasing mobility of capital. However, the intention of the MAI is not to

regulate investments but to regulate governments. As such, the MAI is

MAI negotiations began in the OECD in the Spring of 1995, more than two
years ago, and are claimed to be substantially complete by the OECD. Such
negotiations have been conducted without the benefit of participation from
non-OECD countries and civil society, including non-governmental
organizations representing the interests of workers, consumers, farmers or
organizations concerned with the environment, development and human rights.

As a result, the draft MAI is completely unbalanced. It elevates the rights

of investors far above those of governments, local communities, citizens,
workers and the environment. The MAI will severely undermine even the meagre

progress made towards sustainable development since the Rio Earth Summit in


The MAI is not only flawed in the eyes of NGOs, but conflicts with
international commitments already made by OECD member countries:

The MAI fails to incorporate any of the several relevant international
agreements such as the Rio Declaration; Agenda 21; UN Guidelines for
Consumer Protection (1985); the UNCTAD Set of Multilaterally Agreed
Principles for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices (1981); and
the HABITAT Global Plan of Action.

The MAI fails to comply with OECD commitments to integrate economic,
environmental and social policies (1).

The MAI removes responsibilities on transnational enterprises which were
previously agreed by the OECD under the OECD Guidelines for Multilateral
Enterprises 1976 (2).

The exclusion of developing countries and countries in transition from the
negotiations is inconsistent with OECD policy on development partnerships

Problems with the MAI stem both from the broad restrictions it places on
national democratic action, and from its failure to include sufficient new
systems of international regulation and

As the MAI stands, it does not deserve to gain democratic approval in any
country. All the groups signing this statement will campaign against its
adoption unless changes, including those cited below, are incorporated into

the body of the MAI.


As drafted, the MAI does not respect the rights of countries - in particular

countries in transition and developing countries - including their need to
democratically control investment into their economies.

The level of liberalisation contained in the MAI has already been opposed as

inappropriate by many developing countries. However, non-OECD countries are

under increasing pressure to join.

There are differing investment and development needs of OECD and non-OECD
countries. In particular, the potential for economic diversification and
development of the developing countries - especially the least developed
countries - and countries in transition would be severely undermined by the

provisions of the MAI. The standstill principle would cause particular
problems for countries in transition, many of which have not yet developed
adequate business regulation.

The MAI's withdrawal provision would effectively bind nations to one
particular economic development model for fifteen years; prevent future
governments from revising investment policy to reflect their own assessment

of the wisest economic course; and force countries to continue to abide by
the agreement even if there is strong evidence that its impact has been

The MAI contains no binding, enforceable obligations for corporate conduct

concerning the environment, labour standards and anti-competitive behaviour.

The MAI gives foreign investors exclusive standing under a legally binding
agreement to attack legitimate regulations designed to protect the
environment, safeguard public health, uphold the rights of employees, and
promote fair competition.

Further, citizens, indigenous peoples, local governments and NGOs do not
have access to the dispute resolution system, and subsequently can neither
hold multinational investors accountable to the communities which host them,

nor comment in cases where an investor sues a government.

The MAI will be in conflict with many existing and future international,
national and sub-national, laws and regulations protecting the environment,

natural resources, public health,
culture, social welfare and employment laws; will cause many to be repealed;

and will deter the adoption of new legislation, or the strengthening of
existing ones.

The MAI is explicitly designed to make it easier for investors to move
capital, including production facilities, from one country to another;
despite evidence that increased capital mobility disproportionately benefits

multinational corporations at the expense of most of the world's peoples.


With regard to substantive concerns:

1) Undertake an independent and comprehensive assessment of the social,
environmental, and development impact of the MAI with full public
participation. The negotiations should be suspended during this assessment.

2) Require multinational investors to observe binding agreements
incorporating environment, labour, health, safety and human rights standards

to ensure that they do not use the MAI to exploit weak regulatory regimes.
Ensure that an enforceable agreement on investor responsibilities takes
precedence over any agreement on investor rights.

3) Eliminate the investor state dispute resolution mechanism and put into
place democratic and transparent mechanisms which ensure that civil society,

including local and indigenous peoples, gain new powers to hold investors to


4) While none of the undersigned NGOs object to the rights of investors to
be compensated for expropriation by a nation state, there are adequate
principles of national law and jurisprudence to protect investors in
circumstances such as these. The current MAI exceeds these well accepted
concepts of direct expropriation, and ventures into areas undermining
national sovereignty. We therefore request that OECD members eliminate the
MAI's expropriation provision so that investors are not granted an absolute

right to compensation for expropriation. Governments must ensure that they
do not have to pay for the right to set environmental, labour, health and
safety standards even if compliance with such regulations imposes
significant financial obligations on investors.

With regard to process concerns:

1) Suspend the MAI negotiations and extend the 1998 deadline to allow
sufficient time for meaningful public input and participation in all

2) Increase transparency in the negotiations by publicly releasing the draft

texts and individual reservations and by scheduling a series of on going
public meetings and hearings in both member and non member countries, open
to the media, parliamentarians and the general public.

3) Broaden the active participation of government departments in the
official negotiations beyond state, commerce and finance to a broader range

of government agencies, ministries and parliamentary committees.

4) Renegotiate the terms of withdrawal to enable countries to more easily
and rapidly withdraw from the agreement when they deem it in the interest of

their citizens. Developing countries and countries in transitions which have

not been a party to the negotiations must not be pressurised to join the


The current MAI text is inconsistent with international agreements signed by

OECD countries, with existing OECD policies, and with national laws to
promote sustainable development. It also fails to take into account
important work carried out by investment experts and official bodies such as

the UNCTAD "development friendliness" criteria for investment agreements (4)

and other work on investor responsibility.

If the OECD policy statements are to have any meaning, the above provisions

must be fully integrated in the MAI with the same legal force as those on
economic liberalisation.

Given our grave concerns about the MAI and the unrealistically short time
frame within which the MAI is being concluded, we look to the OECD and its
member governments to fundamentally reconsider both the process and
substance of the draft agreement. We call on the OECD to make a specific and

detailed written response to our concerns. We also call on the OECD to avoid

talking publicly about its consultations with NGOs without also talking
about the serious concerns raised at those consultations.

Finally, we will continue our opposition to the MAI unless these demands are

met in full.


(1) OECD Ministerial Communique May 1997
(2) OECD Code of Conduct for Multinational Enterprises, Paris 1992
(3) "Shaping the 21st Century: The Contribution of Development Cooperation",

OECD 1997. (4) UNCTAD, World Investment Report 1997; UNCTAD Expert Meeting,"

Development Friendliness Criteria for Investment Frameworks", 1997.

Non-governmental organisations supporting this statement include:

Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM), Inc, Philippines
ANPED, Netherlands
Association for Sustainability & Equity in the Americas
BC Green Party, Canada
Canadian Environmental Law Association, Canada
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), US
Central and Eastern European Bankwatch Network
Community Nutrition Institute, US
Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), India
Council of Canadians, Canada
The Edmonds Institute, US
Equipo Pueblo, Mexico
Fifty Years is Enough, US
Friends of the Earth International (FoEI)
Friends of the Earth Argentina
Friends of the Earth Australia
Friends of the Earth Austria
Friends of the Earth Bangladesh
Friends of the Earth Chile
Friends of the Earth Costa Rica
Friends of the Earth Curacao
Friends of the Earth Denmark
Friends of the Earth El Salvador
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Friends of the Earth France
Friends of the Earth Germany
Friends of the Earth Grenada
Friends of the Earth Haiti
Friends of the Earth Indonesia
Friends of the Earth Luxembourg
Friends of the Earth Macedonia
Friends of the Earth Malaysia
Friends of the Earth Netherlands
Friends of the Earth Nigeria
Friends of the Earth Switzerland
Friends of the Earth United States
Focus on the Global South, Thailand
Forum Environment and Development
Guideposts for a Sustainable Future
Global Help Project
Greenpeace International
Interhemispheric Resource Center, US
Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center, US
Netherlands Committee of the IUCN, Netherlands
Pacific Environment & Resources Center - Pacific Rim
People's Forum 2001, Japan
Public Citizen, US
SAWTEE, Kathmandu, Nepal
Sierra Club of Canada, Canada
Swiss Coalition of Development Organisations, Switzerland
Third World Network, International
Tools for Transition, Netherlands
University of Victoria Students' Society, Canada
Witness for Peace, US
Women's Environment & Development Organisation (WEDO), US
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), US
World Development Movement, UK
World Economy, Ecology and Development Association (WEED), Germany
World Information Transfer
World Wide Fund for Nature International (WWF-I)


Forwarded by:


Albin Keuc
European ECO Forum
(hosted by GAJA - Society for Sustainable Development)
Metelkova 6, P.O.Box 4440
1000 Ljubljana

tel: +386 61 1322354
fax: +386 61 1337029
(mirror site in Hungary, kindly hosted by Green Spider ZPOK - Vac)

World Wide Fund for Nature International (WWF-I)


Forwarded by:


Albin Keuc
European ECO Forum
(hosted by GAJA - Society for Sustainable Development)
Metelkova 6, P.O.Box 4440
1000 Ljubljana

tel: +386 61 1322354
fax: +386 61 1337029