Over 380 civil society organisations demand world governments quit ISDS as Australia pledges to do so

Sharm El-Sheikh, 16 November 2022 – More than 380 civil society organisations from over 60 countries across the world, including AFTINET, are calling on governments to put an end to a system of secretive tribunals which threaten global climate goals at the CCOP 27 Climate Change Conference.

The system is known as investor-state dispute settlement or ISDS, and is included in many trade and investment agreements. ISDS empowers transnational corporations to sue governments in secretive tribunals outside of the national legal system, over law and policy changes that they fear could reduce their profits. Often the amounts involved can be hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, and are far higher than would be available in domestic courts.

Fossil fuel corporations are already suing over coal phase-out, the cancellation of a tar sands oil pipeline, a ban on offshore oil drilling, and fracking regulation. 

This year’s IPCC report from climate scientists was clear that ISDS risks blocking the phase-out of fossil fuels.  AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said

“We must urgently get rid of the ISDS system. The evidence of years of damage to the environment, land, health and self-determination of peoples all around the world is stark, and the renewed urgency of the climate imperative is beyond doubt.  Governments must take immediate action to put an end to the risks of ISDS.

We welcome the Australian Trade Minister's statement confirming that the Australian Labor government will exclude ISDS from agreements it  negotiates, and urge it to implement its policy of reviewing and removing ISDS in existing agreements,".

Read the full civil society statement  here.