We are writing to you today to urge you to take a lead in ensuring countries around the world do not face a wave of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) cases arising from actions taken to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis.
Globally, some governments are taking actions to save lives, stem the pandemic, protect jobs, counter economic disaster and ensure peoples’ basic needs are met. The level of these actions has been unprecedented in modern times and the need for these actions has been clear. But the expansive reach of the ISDS system could open such critical government actions to claims for millions in compensation from foreign investors. The numbers of such claims could also be unprecedented and impose massive financial burdens on governments struggling under the burden of devastating health and economic crises.
We are living in the most climate-vulnerable countries in the Global South that suffer from fossil fuel projects supported by financiers like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The toxic impacts of these projects not only undermine global climate goals, but also exacerbate the consequences of the coronavirus crisis.
As the 2020 Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank's Annual Meeting is held today, a group of peoples' movements across Asia called on the Beijing-based multilateral financial institution to end its financing of fossil fuel projects and help build economic resilience as countries grapple with recovery plans in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
During a series of meetings by Japanese and Korean companies involved in coal energy, anti-coal protesters across Asia and Australia held protest actions to call on top financiers from Japan and Korea to adopt a total coal exit policy.