TNI strives for peace, equity and democracy in a sustainable world, brought about and supported by an informed and engaged citizenry.
Message from the director
TNI’s unique strengths lie in its forward-looking insights into critical global issues, its capacity to bridge academia, activism and policy-making, its deep engagement and involvement with social movements at a local and international level, and its willingness to find inclusive solutions that work now, while never losing sight of the radical transformations that are needed long term to deliver social and ecological justice.
Support communities, especially those suffering exclusion and poverty, to organize, demand and find solutions
Build understanding of what blocks justice and explore viable ways forward
Demand access, control and accountability of key public institutions to citizens
WFFP General Secretary
“I have worked with TNI since I was elected as General Secretary of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) in 2014.”
A Public-Public Partnership proves pragmatic
TNI goes beyond traditional research, producing relevant and reliable knowledge, and engaging with key communities who can best use this knowledge for their advocacy campaigns and for achieving progressive change.
TNI exposes the injustice that underlies entrenched systems of thought, and seeks real inclusive solutions that offer alternatives to the status quo. For instance, the narrative that for state enterprises to be better managed and more efficient, they have to privatize. This has been proffered so often that it is taken as indisputable truth. But is it? There is no empirical evidence that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector.
Perhaps the answer lies elsewhere.
In this landmark case in Cali, Colombia, the local campaign to stop the privatization of the Telecom services used a report published by TNI, The Bailout Business Report, to effectively expose and stop the aspirations of the private consultant company, Lazard. The firm, a financial advisory and asset management concern, was hired by the local government of Cali to advise on the possibility of privatising the local telecommunications company. This would have led to job cuts in the name of efficiency, and restricted access to telecommunications services for the broader public.
TNI provided evidence based on the Bailout Business report and, together with the local SINTRAEMCALI trade union, produced a report (in Spanish), "Lazard: profiting from privatising." The report exposed the intentions of Lazard, and as a result of successful advocacy, the privatisation was halted, and Lazard left Cali.
The initial challenge of inefficiency in the Colombian municipal company EMCALI’s operations could still be solved, but by other more people-friendly means. For an inclusive solution, TNI supported the development of a Public-Public partnership between EMCALI and the Uruguayan state telecom company ANTEL, to not only defend public ownership, but to improve efficiency.
ANTEL, the publicly-owned Uruguayan telecoms company, runs an equitable and accessible fibre optic network, and debunks the myth that privatisation is the only way to increase efficiency. ANTEL committed itself to sign an agreement with EMCALI to provide technical assistance in the process of modernising the Colombian company.
In addition to this, the Uruguayan trade union SUTEL signed an MOU with the Colombian union SINTRAEMCALI – further cementing regional solidarity. While the official agreement and implementation is still expected in 2018, this was already a big step in thwarting the takeover of public services by private interests.
(some translated in up to 12 languages)
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The Bailout Business Report
Deputy Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action
“TNI has played very crucial roles in our campaign against water privatization in Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city. At various times, TNI provided technical and funding support for the campaign.”
A modest, but effective, proposal
Across the world, many impoverished communities face similar struggles against the unbridled power of Transnational Corporations (TNCs). TNI believes that ongoing corporate violations of human rights and the environment require more than voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, as these have not demonstrably reined in corporate greed. A unified voice is necessary to roll back the global architecture of corporate impunity that allows unjust practises to continue. This is why TNI participates in the Global Campaign to Reclaim People's Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity.
In its participation in the Global Campaign activities and mobilisations, TNI contributes to bringing disparate communities together, and significantly strengthening efforts to establish a binding international treaty for Transnational Corporations.
In 2017, much of this work involved advocacy with governments at the United Nations and specific country level, which saw the participation of 100 governments in the October 2017 3rd Session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations (OEIGWG) - expanded from 65 governments in the first Session in 2015.
A highlight during the 3rd Session of the OEIGWG was the presentation of the draft proposal for a Treaty. As a member of the editorial team of the Global Campaign on the binding treaty working Group, TNI played an important facilitation role in the process of crafting the text - which was formulated on the basis of a wide ranging international consultation and inputs from affected communities, social movements, trade unions, indigenous peoples, migrant and refugee peoples networks, women's movements and human rights networks.
The resulting publication – Treaty on Transnational Corporations and their Supply Chains – Treaty Text Proposal – marks a historic moment in the struggle against corporate impunity. It is the first text articulating key proposals on advancing access to justice for affected communities. The text serves as a basis for advocacy, and has helped all the partner organizations in articulating their case.
Strategic partnerships in
seminars and workshops
Events reaching up to
meetings with policy makers
Hosts and plays leading role in 14 International networks (400+ individual orgs)
Founder and director of We Own It (UK)
“We campaign for public ownership and against privatisation. Since launching in 2013 we have won key victories: helping to push back the privatisation of the Land Registry; stopping the selling off of NHS Professionals; and winning the campaign to bring the East Coast railway into public control. I've been inspired by TNI's work since I discovered it some years ago.”
support best practice
Ecuador out the door
TNI opposes corporate-driven trade and investment policies by providing analysis of their social and ecological impacts, supporting the development of popular campaigns and proposing alternative policies that prioritise people’s rights over corporate profits.
In 2015, Ecuador established an independent commission, headed in its last stages by Cecilia Olivet from TNI, to audit its Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs). The Commission produced a 700-page report that showed these treaties had brought enormous costs to the country, but had failed to bring any benefits in terms of attracting foreign investment. The Commission recommended the termination of all of Ecuador’s BITs. Subsequently, on May 8 2017, President Correa announced that Ecuador would terminate its 16 remaining BITs.
“These treaties forced us to submit to courts of arbitration of dubious impartiality, of doubtful economic rationality, of dubious juridical rationality. Courts established for the alleged settlement of disputes between sovereign states and investors,” Correa said. He argued that the agreements showed how former governments gave precedence to the rights of capital over human beings – a symptom of the neoliberal consensus that long guided the country.
The commission stated that the agreements were entered into “lightly”, and without acknowledging the high risk for the country. It found that in most cases, there was no discussion inside the legislative branch before agreements were signed, and there was no clear negotiation process.
This lax approach meant that the treaties allowed clauses with broad privileges in favour of the investor, limiting the power of the Ecuadorian state to guide foreign investment. They also failed to protect the government's right to regulate foreign investors.
As a solution for the future, the commission recommended that new treaties be signed on the basis of an alternative model that includes binding obligations for the investors and ensures the state's ability to regulate social and environmental matters without the possibility of being sued.
Sergio Mauricio Zamora
Member, Board of Directors of EMCALI (Municipal Enterprises of Cali) representing the trade union Sintraemcali
“In the past two years our union has successfully resisted the privatisation of the telecommunications unit and has developed alternative proposals to keep EMCALI in public hands.”
Click on image for project report
Agrarian & Environmental Justice
Drugs and Democracy
Myanmar in Focus
Trade and Investment
War and Pacification
Executive director of Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ). IGJ has been working with TNI since 2014.
“Some publications compiled by IGJ and TNI on Indonesia-EU CEPA have opened the discourse of some parliament members in Indonesia on the importance of conducting HRIAs before ratifying the agreement. Even if the support from the Members of Parliament has not expanded yet, there has been an excellent first step in expanding the advocacy process in Indonesia, specifically in Parliament.”
Alba del Campo
Feminist, ecologist and journalist Advisor to Cádiz City Council about the energy transition and coordinating the city’s energy tables.
“I know TNI through my work with energy democracy and a fair energy transition. My experience of working with TNI has been enriching. I particularly appreciate the rigor of their information, the focus on questions that are absolutely necessary to real change, and also the generosity to make visible the work of others people and organizations. ”
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Dr. Boris Kagarlitsky
Dr. Joel Rocamora
Dr. Kees Biekart
Myriam Vander Stichele
Dr. Gonzalo Berrón
Dr. Godfried van Benthem van den Berg (Netherlands)
Halle-Jorn Hannsen (Norway)
Prof. Jan Pronk (Netherlands)
Dr. Howard Wachtel
Dr. Marcos Arruda
Dr. Walden Bello
Dr. David Bewley-Taylor
Bob Debus (Australia)
Hermann von Hatzfeldt (Germany)
Peter Weiss (USA)
Dr. Jochen Hippler
Dr. Kamil Mahdi
Dr. Ricardo Vargas
Dr. Tom Reifer
James Early (USA)
Christine Merkel (Germany)
Roger van Zwanenburg (UK)
President & Supervisory Board
Fiona Dove (Executive Director)
Willem-Paul Herber/ Brigitte Gemen (Finance Manager)
Ernestien Jensema and Pietje Vervest (Programmes)
Denis Burke (Communications)
John Kerseboom (Personnel)
Elisabeth Ijmker (PMEL)
Hilde van der Pas
Willem-Paul Herber/Brigitte Gemen
Michelle van Lanschot
Eloise de Souza Barbosa
Lyda Fernanda Forero Torres
Sol Trumbo Vila
Consultants / Research Associates
Beatriz Martinez Ruiz (Spain)
Akinbode Oluwafemi (Nigeria)
Nina Aichberger (Germany)
Walden Bello (Philippines)
Nick Buxton (UK/USA)
Arun Kundnani (UK/USA)
Frank Barat (France/Belgium)
Gonzalo Berron (Brazil)
Luciana Ghiotto (Argentina)
Matthijs Peters (Netherlands)
Tim Feodoroff (France)
Zoe Brent (Netherlands/USA)
Khu Khu Ju (Myanmar)
Shadan Mung San Zau (Myanmar)
Sai Lone (Myanmar)
Phwe Phyu (Myanmar)
Tom Kramer (Myanmar/Netherlands)
Renaud Cachia (Myanmar)
Martin Smith (Myanmar)
Hannah Twomey (Germany/Ireland)
Alberto Alonso Fradejas (Netherlands/Spain)
Monica Vargas (Spain)
Sebastian Stellingwerff (Netherlands)
Jenny Franco (Netherlands/USA)
Benny Kuruvilla (India)
Bram Ebus (Netherlands)
Devika Sud (India/Netherlands)
Dania Putri (Indonesia)
Natsumi Koike (Japan)
Ruben Colorni (Netherlands)
Misrak Alayu (Ethiopia/Netherlands)
Moestafa Hammash (Syria/Netherlands)
Daniel van Heijningen(Netherlands)
Emma Vitureira (USA)
Christine Lewis Carroll (Spain)
Professor of the University Glasgow of Political Economy, author of the book: Reclaiming Public Ownership: Making Space for Economic Democracy (2012)
"For an academic doing policy work like me, TNI's work is essential to establish a base for analysis, and I hope to build further collaborations for many years to come."