From Bandung to the DNS


Daniel Oppermann

book chapter
Published at: University of São Paulo
Date of publication: 2018
ISBN 978-3-00-061624-2

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In April 1955, the heads of states of 29 African and Asian countries met in the Indonesian city of Bandung for the Bandung Conference, the first African-Asian intercontinental conference, officially called Asian-African Conference (AAC), also known as “the first intercontinental conference of coloured peoples in the history of mankind”, as Indonesia’s head of state and host of the meeting, President Sukarno, pointed out in his welcome speech. From 18 to 24 April that year, the Indonesian government together with the heads of states from Burma, Ceylon, India and Pakistan (also called the sponsoring countries of Bandung) received leaders including Presidents, Kings and Prime Ministers from another 24 Asian and African countries to initiate new forms of cooperation among newly independent states (ASSIE-LUMUMBA, 2015; DIRLIK, 2015; PHILLIPS, 2016; SHIMAZU, 2014). For centuries, the countries participating in Bandung were held under European colonial rule which blocked their economic, cultural and political development and created a global imbalance benefitting development in basically all sectors of European societies or the West as a whole, meaning the European continent (mostly its Western countries) and parts of North America. While Latin America and the Caribbean (the LAC region) were not present at Bandung these countries later joined the movements and organizations of what today is known as the Global South and which will be discussed throughout this chapter. The objective of the chapter is to draw a historical line from the processes of decolonization in the Global South to the discourses and the ecosystem of Internet Governance. The following pages will provide a discussion of the Global South as a historical concept and a geographical region and its way through some of the most crucial steps and negotiations in the context of economic and communication disputes of the 20th century. The chapter will conclude with a critical reflection on the situation of Southern countries and actors in the current Internet Governance environment.

The Historical Background

Different theoretical approaches are trying to explain the status quo of economic development before 1492 when European rulers initiated the invasion and colonization of first the Americas followed later by the colonization of the African and Asian continents. James M. Blaut (1992) argued that all three regions, Africa, Asia and Europe were on the same level of economic and cultural development when Europeans first took over lands on the American continent. He denied “that Europeans had any advantage over Africans and Asians prior to 1492 as regards the evolutionary processes leading toward capitalism and modernity. Medieval Europe was no more advanced or progressive than medieval Africa and medieval Asia, and had no special potentialities – no unique gift of ‘rationality’ or ‘venturesomeness’.” (BLAUT, 1992, p.2f)

Blaut justified his argument by indicating the lack of evidence regarding a European singularity of economic and structural changes in pre-capitalist (and pre-colonial) centuries. In other words, while agreeing with the evidence that structural changes were in deed taking place in Europe he questioned if these or similar changes were not also taking place outside of Europe at the same time (Ibid., p.6). He furthermore pointed out, that structural changes in Europe might have been a reaction to similar changes in other parts of the world. Following this notion, the existence of similar or more advanced societies could have impacted economic transformations in Europe long before the 15th century.

Following Blaut’s analysis, protocapitalist centers have existed on all three continents as well as trade networks among them: “On all three continents there were centers of incipient capitalism, protocapitalism, most of them highly urbanized, and most of them seaports. (…) The mercantile-maritime, protocapitalist centers of the Eastern Hemisphere were connected tightly with one another in networks – ultimately a single network – along which flowed material things, people, and ideas (…). The links had been forged over many centuries: some were in place even in the days when China traded with Rome. By 1492, these centers were so closely interlinked that the growth and prosperity of each of them was highly dependent on that of many others; ultimately, on all of them. By 1492, the centers had become, in many ways, little capitalist societies.” (Ibid., p.25f)

The reason, European sailors arrived on the American coast before African or Asian ships took the same way was simply a question of geography. Other relevant sea ports in Africa and Asia were therefore more distant from the American continent (Ibid., p.30). Consequently, it was location that gave Europe the advantage to grow from the exploitation of the Americas which in turn was decisive for the later colonization of the African and Asian continents.

“After 1492, Europeans came to dominate the world, and they did so because 1492 inaugurated a set of world-historical processes which gave to European protocapitalists enough capital and power to dissolve feudalism in their own region and begin the destruction of competing protocapitalist communities everywhere else.” (Ibid., p.2)

When a few centuries later the first countries had received back their freedom from European dominance the situation was of a completely different nature. Generations of Western colonial rule had not just created elevated wealth in one part of the world, it had also damaged if not destroyed economic, political and social structures in most of the other parts and created an imbalance that the colonized regions would struggle with for generations to come. A process that until today is widely ignored in the West where the relation between colonization in the past and structural challenges in the present are frequently overlooked if not negated. The foundation of today’s global economic inequalities (as well as social and political) which is often referred to in the discourses on “developing countries”, “underdevelopment” and also in the context of the South-North debates was set already in the 15th and 17th century. Following Blaut, the “world’s landscapes were now uneven. They have remained so ever since.” (Ibid., p.2).

Bandung and Eurocentric Academia

The Bandung conference in 1955, as a moment of liberation for large parts of the world population from Western rule, also stands symbolically for a new chapter in both the studies and practice of International Relations. As an academic field of analysis, investigation and theory building, International Relations, just as other social sciences, has always followed basically Western or Eurocentric points of view (and does so until today). The fact that Bandung, as a symbolic moment in history for large parts of Southern countries was not just considered a threat by Western powers but has also received little attention in International Relations and other social science debates over the following decades, underlines the issue of Eurocentrism (or Western-Centrism) in this academic field. “Given the occasion — its scale, prominence and novelty, and the media attention it attracted — it is surprising how little attention Bandung has received in conventional international histories of the twentieth century.” (DEVETAK; DUNNE; NURHAYATI, p.361).

The challenging question of how to handle this situation in academia is partly reflected in the contributions of Amitav Acharya concerning what he calls Global International Relations (global IR), a possible extension of the current Eurocentric (or West-centric) tradition. “Global IR is not a theory or method, but a framework of enquiry and analysis of IR in all its diversity, especially with due recognition of the experiences, voices and agency of non-Western peoples, societies and states that have been marginalised in the discipline of IR.” (ACHARYA, 2016, p.343f). In his 2014 article for International Studies Quarterly, Acharya exemplifies this discrepancy by consulting the example of a Kolkata-based college in the early 19th century in which British professors (Sahibs), their ideas and traditions were considered to be of higher relevance than local Indian professors (Munshis).

Following Acharya, many researchers in Non-Western societies tend to consider the history of traditional International Relations to be a replay of the Sahibs and Munshis environment, especially since Western academics, institutions and publications are dominating agenda setting while Non-Western regions or the Global South are considered to be their objects of analysis or markets for Western ideas (ACHARYA, 2014, p.648). This observation meets very well with Connells critical approach to so-called “classical theories” in sociology and knowledge production in Western/Northern vs Non-Western/Southern societies (CONNELL 1997., Ibid. 2014), just as Quijano’s analysis of Eurocentric knowledge production and proliferation (QUIJANO, 2000, p.549f). Interestingly, also Southern academia has its part in this question by often ignoring their own or analysts from their neighboring countries while Western/Northern voices are frequently considered to be of superior importance.

Bandung, as a crucial – if not the crucial – event for the Global South in the 20th century, would therefore receive the suitable attention in a global IR approach. Also, following Acharya, global IR “does not reject mainstream theories, but challenges their parochialism and urges that they be infused and broadened with ideas, experiences and insights from the non-Western world.” (ACHARYA, 2016, p.344). This means a stronger inclusion and investigation of non-Western actors within the context of traditional IR debates as well as processes challenging traditional Eurocentric views on history, colonialism and the respective political research within Western traditions or coming from a “temporally dominant Western civilisation” (Ibid., p.344). The idea of a global IR approach is relatively young but is very likely to receive further attention after the upcoming publication of Acharya and Buzan in one of the traditional Western publishing houses in 2019. An interesting question is to what degree Southern academics or societies will accept this attempt to “include” them into a Western academic tradition by making them an extended part of it.

When discussing the Global South we need to take into consideration that also this concept is going back to a Eurocentric or Western-Centric view in Social Science, in Political Science and in International Relations. When scholars of IR and related areas simply speak about “the world” they refer principally to the Western world, mostly Europe and North-America, or political actions going out from that part of the planet. Other parts of the world are considered to be regions to look upon, case studies to investigate. Some countries are simply “countries” (and they are usually located in the North). Other countries are “developing countries”, “underdeveloped countries” or even “least developed countries”. Some countries are simply cooperating with other countries. Some countries are having South-South cooperations. Whenever Southern countries are involved they get labeled in a certain manner, being the South, developing countries, emerging countries and similar. And it is not exclusively the North that is using such labels. Also in the South, researchers and policy-makers adapted to using the South-terms while in the Northern or Eurocentric discourses more generic expressions like “international” are used (international cooperation, international relations etc), also when in fact only Northern states or actors are involved. There is no serious discourse on North-North relations, North-North cooperation or similar. A more common term is that of “transatlantic relations” which however is also not referred to as North-North relations. The Global South, today a concept of its own, became widely used in analytical and also political discourses over the years. As a regional definition it comprises more than the Southern hemisphere. As a political definition, it is related to political, economic and social discourses on the so-called “Third World” and on the debates concerning so-called “developing countries” or “underdeveloped countries” whereas development is often measured by Western living standards.

The “Third World”

The concept of the “Third World” that would define a larger number of debates over the decades following Bandung was coined already before the meeting of the AAC when in 1952 the French sociologist Alfred Sauvy mentioned in his article “Trois Mondes, Une Planète” for the French journal L´Observateur the categorization of the three worlds, being a capitalist first, a communist second and an “underdeveloped” third world, as he called it (SAUVY, 1986, p.81). Sauvy’s categorization of the different worlds, which he had shortly addressed the year before in a Brazilian publication already (SOLARZ, 2012, p.1561f), was used throughout a wide debate about political and economic standards and developments over the following decades. A debate, that in fact is still going on and which has created countless institutions on the international and national levels, among them development research and policy organizations and programs, academic degree programs, journals and more. Part of this debate is also the frequently recurring question why it was the capitalist world that was put on the first position (First World) while the Southern so-called “underdeveloped” countries were put in the third and last position. A classification that generations of analysts, activists and policy-makers would argue about and which would in fact negatively impact the attitude of millions of people in Southern countries who turned the term “Third World” into a frequently used expression to verbally degrade themselves and Southern countries as the last or worst place on earth to be. By looking at the original writings of Sauvy however, it becomes clear that he was on the one hand, creating the labels as described above, on the other hand though, also putting Southern “underdeveloped” countries in the position of “the most important” countries, “the first in chronological order” and called them “this third or this first world” (SAUVY, 1986, p.81).

While Sauvy’s categorization of the three worlds is considered to be the origin for academic and policy debates on “Third World” politics (at least in terms of conceptualization), Solarz has pointed out that even before Sauvy others have used similar terms in different meanings not related to the debates on the global South (SOLARZ, 2012, p.1562). Following Solarz’ historical analysis of the conceptualization of the “Third World” it becomes clear that the idea to present Southern countries as a third political force (partly) besides the capitalist and the communist blocs was successful only in the first years after Bandung while in the 1960s and 1970s the “Third World” was mostly associated with the discourse on economic (under)development (Ibid., p.1563). Solarz therefore defined the “Third World” in 2012 as follows: “The dominant interpretation of the concept ‘Third World’ at the present time is economic or socioeconomic, focusing on the phenomenon of underdevelopment. Thus in general the Third World is currently taken to mean poor, undeveloped countries with an unsatisfactory quality of life.” (Ibid., p.1563).

While the overall approach of this definition can be agreed upon (putting a focus on economic and socioeconomic factors), there are (at least) two things that need to be looked at.

It should be questioned if the term “Third World” is actually still appropriate today given the fact that the 1990s have fundamentally changed global constellations removing or replacing certain actors from the global stage (especially the so-called but never seriously termed “Second World”), and then prominently positioned new actors in new places, including some that were considered to be part of the “Third World” before. The historical conceptualization and the end of the “Third World” as a concept was elaborately discussed throughout the years including valuable contributions by Berger (1994), Tomlinson (2003), Randall (2004), Alburquerque Fuschini (2015), and Kalter (2017).

The suggestion that the (now even more heterogeneous) “Third World” would consist of “poor, undeveloped countries with an unsatisfactory quality of life” places the question which countries are considered to be part of this “Third World” concept and how to understand “undeveloped” and “unsatisfactory quality of life”. Which countries in the world could be labeled as “undeveloped”? If there was anything like being “undeveloped” at all, then surely most (if not all) Latin American countries or the LAC region as a whole would not be part of this concept and also many Asian and African countries would not. In the 21st century, there are relatively few countries in the world that would fit somehow into the category of being completely “undeveloped” in the sense of having no structures whatsoever. In several cases, the actual question regarding many “Third World” countries is the distribution of wealth and goods within the countries (besides other factors). Many (if not most) of the so-called “Third World” countries have middle classes that are consuming the same, partly the same or similar products like middle class citizens in the West (although not necessarily in the same size or quantity). This also includes countries from the UNDP LDC list like Angola, Cambodia, Liberia, Rwanda and others. The question is not of being “undeveloped” but largely of distribution of wealth and having strategic public (and also private) investments (besides other factors depending on the individual countries). Also, “unsatisfactory quality of life” is a very vague variable which not only depends on the expectations or consumer habits of the individual but also on the standards that are considered as the status quo. Living in countries with massive problems of urban violence does not automatically result in “unsatisfactory quality of life” for the population as a whole. Countries with high infant mortality rates on the one hand can be regional leaders in information technology access on the other hand. Also here, the question of distribution of resources is of central importance. Without going deeper into the discussion of individual differences among Southern countries it becomes clear that the “Third World” as defined above does not exist (any longer). In fact, an interesting question to investigate could be to what degree the “Third World industry” including organizations, programs and journals, is keeping the term alive.

The Non-Aligned Movement

Another important discourse to understand today’s concept of the Global South is about the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). It is closely related to the concept of categorizing the world into different groups of states which was reflected also in the discourse on the first, second and third world. The objective of defending newly received independence drove a large number of states towards the idea of being independent also from future influence of the main powers of the mid 20th century being the capitalist bloc, led by the United States of America, and the communist bloc, led by the Soviet Union. “Structured by the desire to maintain a careful distance from superpower alliances in the interests of world peace, the movement of unaligned or non-aligned states would first take shape in a series of conferences that began with a meeting (…) in the town of Brioni in July 1956.” (ABRAHAM, 2008, p.211). The ambition of not being aligned to any of the existing blocs was present already in Bandung which Worsley also called the meeting of the Afro-Asian Non-aligned movement (WORSLEY, 2008, p.133). At that moment, however, the non-aligned states had not officially created such a movement but which was going to happen over the following years. A key moment in that founding process was the meeting of the three state leaders from Yugoslavia (Josip Broz Tito), Egypt (Gamal Abdel Nasser) and India (Jawaharlal Nehru) in the year after Bandung. Nehru and Tito, who had converged already several times since the 1940s (MIŠKOVIĆ 2009), together with Nasser are considered to be the founding figures of the NAM. The exact date of the foundation, however, is disputed in the literature. While the July 1956 meeting of the three leaders in Yugoslavia and especially the Brioni Declaration of 19 July 1956 are often considered to be the official starting points of the movement, the Brioni gathering was by some also considered simply an informal meeting that was later followed by an official congress being the first Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries in Belgrade in September 1961 (ADEBAJO, 2016, p.1192; DA SILVA, SPOHR, DA SILVEIRA, 2016, p.173). Non-alignment as a concept and as an expression was used by India’s Prime Minister Nehru already in the late 1940s (LÜTHI, 2016, p.203). It was then also included in Tito’s and Nehru’s joint statement signed on 22 December 1954. The statement “articulated the aspirations of the new and emerging force in the international system — the non-engaged countries. In the statement, the two leaders declared their intention to ‘devote their energies . . . toward the advancement of peace through negotiations, and reconciliation as the means for the resolution of international conflicts.’ Tito and Nehru also clarified that ‘the policy of non-alignment with blocs, which they pursue, does not represent neutrality or neutralism; neither does it represent passivity as is sometimes alleged. It represents the positive, active and constructive policy that, as its goal, has collective peace as the foundation of collective security.’” (RAJAK, 2014, p.167f).

Over the following decades, the original number of 25 member states expanded to over 120. And also the agenda of the movement saw increasing challenges, including initially the positioning of the newly independent states within the international system and the handling of conflicts with the larger powers of the Cold War, anti-colonialism and decolonization and later a stronger focus on economic development (Tomlinson, 2003, p.309f).

The Group of 77

The networks set up in the times of the initial Bandung conference and the movement of non-aligned states also led to the establishment of a respective group within the United Nations system. Three years after the first NAM conference in Belgrade, a larger number of governments, mostly from formerly colonized countries, carried their collective experience into the United Nations where they formed the Group of 77 or G77 (LUMUMBA-KASONGO, 2015, p.11). The experience of colonial rule and oppression forced upon them by European governments over the previous centuries was reflected already in the 1955 Final Communiqué of Bandung which addressed the need for economic development for the newly independent states in the South, besides cultural cooperation and the demand to end colonialism on a global scale. “Within the United Nations, the Group of 77 was formed to pursue nonalignment as a way of consolidating strong ties among the states, which were either formally colonized by the Western powers or those with economic and political characteristics of the Global South.” (Ibid., p.11). Over the years, the G77 set up chapters in a number of strategic places including Geneva, Rome, Nairobi and Washington D.C. to directly address specific UN offices in those regions.

The group’s 1964 Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Developing Countries picked up and elaborated on the demand for economic development for the community of “developing countries” as was emphasized in the document. The approach used by the G77 was much wider than Bandung and the NAM. It fully included countries from Africa, Asia and South America and came much closer to what is known today as the Global South, remembering that Bandung had a focus on Africa and Asia and the NAM had members from Africa, Asia and Latin America/Caribbean but differentiated between member and observer states. Against this background, the G77 is often used today as an institutional reference of the Global South.

The Joint Declaration was presented at the end of the first United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on 15 June 1964 by representatives of the 77 governments. It addressed the need for new trade policies that would consider the situation of the so-called “developing countries” (FREEMAN, 2017, p.74). This included the demand for a new and just world economic order underlining the importance to end “the division of the world into areas of affluence and intolerable poverty.” (G77, 1964). A task described in the declaration as an “outstanding challenge of our times” caused by “injustice and neglect of centuries” (Ibid.). Following Freeman, the G77 “sought to unite as a political bloc in order to try to change the international economic system through the then new international organizations of global governance, particularly the United Nations.” (FREEMAN, 2017, p.72). One of the principle activities of the G77 countries was to advocate “reform of the laws governing international economic relations that reflected their post-colonial demands for control over economic activity within their own borders; for participation in the governance of the globalizing economy; for fair access to technology, international trade, finance and investment (…).” (SALOMON, 2013, p.36). These efforts included the 1974 Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order (NIEO) which was discussed in-depth by Golub (2013), Salomon (2013), Toye (2014) and others.

As stated before, the G77 often serves as a principal reference in international politics when academics, analysts and policy-makers are discussing interests and concerns of the Global South. At the same time, however, the Global South needs to be understood as a wider concept, more than a geographical region or a group of states based on membership declarations. The geographical term of the Global South being an equivalent of the Southern hemisphere is not applicable. Or to be more precise: it is completely wrong. Taking the equator as a separating line between the Northern and the Southern hemisphere, most countries that are today part of G77 and/or what is considered the Global South are located in the Northern hemisphere. This includes India, Egypt and (former) Yugoslavia, the three founding actors of the NAM. And while Bandung is indeed located in the Southern hemisphere, the majority of the 25 participating countries in the AAC were not. Also, one of the largest countries in the Southern hemisphere (in terms of square meters) is Australia which is not considered to be part of the Global South.

The Global South cannot be defined as an absolute category comprising an exact number of states. It is not a precisely defined group of countries or actors, although the G77, as it is today, comes close to it. The Global South can be understood as a political concept, as a reflection and a conceptual result of a historical process that goes back to the first Asian-African Conference in Bandung in 1955, to the Non-Aligned Movement that was initiated in the same period, and to the institutionalization of its supporters in the G77 in 1964.

The New International Economic Order

Decolonization and political sovereignty were key aspects for countries of the Global South during the main phases of the Bandung and the NAM processes. This was also reflected in debates on economic and social development during the second half of the 20th century. For newly independent states in Asia and Africa but also for other countries in the Global South (like the LAC region) a central objective was to approach and to resolve economic disadvantages caused by centuries of Western domination and colonial rule. The objective to overcome economic inequality between South and North was very much reflected in the debates on the New International Economic Order (NIEO) that took place at the UN in the 1970s to create “an alternative order of global economic integration in which countries in the south could catch up with the economic achievements of the north” (GILMAN, 2015, p.4). Through the NIEO debates and a number of UN resolutions governments in the Global South tried to address the problems of global economic inequality and had to face objections of a number of Northern governments that showed little if any interest in actively setting up equal economic conditions for countries in the South (ANGHIE, 2015; BENJAMIN, 2015).

The May 1974 UN resolution 3201 called “Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order” indicated some of the underlying conceptions of the NIEO like the objectives to “correct inequalities and redress existing injustices, make it possible to eliminate the widening gap between the developed and the developing countries and ensure steadily accelerating economic and social development and peace and justice for present and future generations (…)”(UNITED NATIONS, 1974a). Besides that, the resolution criticized that remainders of colonial rule, foreign occupation and neo-colonialism were still hindering countries in the Global South to improve their economic performance, also because benefits of technological progress did not reach Southern countries. Economic inequalities between South and North were therefore increasing. Changing global economic constellations of a system set up during Western colonial rule over the South was considered a solution by supporters of the NIEO.

In the 1970s, this debate was to a large part focusing on raw materials and natural resources that were (and still are) considered key aspects for economic development in several Southern countries. Also, economic domination of Western transnational corporations was addressed and regulation of these companies was suggested as a potential measure to foster economic development and protect national sovereignty of Southern states. This passage of the resolution on economic regulations plus the demand for compensations for damages caused by colonial rulers called the attention of leading industrialized countries in the North and former colonial powers.

More detailed than the NIEO declaration was UN resolution 3202 called the “Programme of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order”. Both documents were officially published on the same day but it was this second resolution that brought a clearer view on the objectives of the NIEO supporting states. Accordingly, this second resolution asked for measures to improve the situation of Southern countries (at that time and in the respective UN documents often called “developing countries”), especially in the fields of raw materials, food, trade, transportation, finance, industrialization, technology transfer and regulation of transnational corporations. Also the development of a “Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States” was encouraged to “constitute an effective instrument towards the establishment of a new system of international economic relations based on equity, sovereign equality, and interdependence of the interests of developed and developing countries.” (UNITED NATIONS, 1974b). This charter was presented at the UN as resolution 3281, a few months after the publication of the action program.

In several paragraphs, the action program asked for active measures to support the economic development of Southern countries instead of letting the so-called market forces alone decide on the future of post-colonial economies. Especially governments believing in the well-being of citizens and entire societies through their own absence rejected measures as mentioned in the resolution. Examples of requests made in the document were the prioritization of products coming from the South and reaching markets in the North. Therefore, countries in the North were asked to “facilitate the expansion of imports from developing countries and provide a fair and reasonable opportunity to the developing countries to share in the growth of the market” (Ibid.). Another demand was to “arrest and reduce the ever-increasing freight rates in order to reduce the costs of imports to, and exports from, the developing countries” (Ibid.). Also, in cooperation, countries from South and North, supported by UN agencies, were asked to set up new industrial capacities in the South to improve production and raw material treatment in post-colonial societies. Some of the requests suggested the formulation of an international code of conduct for transnational corporations which became an international dispute in the following years since a number of influential governments and companies from the Global North were not willing to accept regulations that could affect the success of their own economic activities (BAIR, 2007, p.492ff).

Seven months after the publication of the action program, the “Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States” was published as UN resolution 3281 (UNITED NATIONS, 1974c). In 34 articles, the charter touched on a number of issues that were of central interest for Southern states, being again questions of raw materials, industrialization, technology transfer from North to South and more. Also the regulation and supervision of transnational corporations gained a prominent space in the resolution trying to protect especially young and newly independent states from experienced mostly Western companies which tried to set foot into the new markets in the South or which remained present in the South since the era of colonialism. The resolution stated that states should have the right to regulate and supervise the activities of these companies in their own national territories to make sure they complied with national laws and policies. Besides that, the charter called for the right to nationalize and expropriate foreign property (by paying compensations) and also to improve global trade relations and international cooperation in scientific research and technology transfer.

Over the following years, the NIEO project and especially the draft version of the Code of Conduct on Transnational Corporations became subjects of intense debates and postponements. Following Bair, the Code of Conduct was the most controversial part of the NIEO project (BAIR, 2007, p.487). A draft version of the Code developed by an intergovernmental working group in the late 1970s and early 1980s was supposed to be discussed several times with the responsible commission and representatives of all interested governments. Since no agreement could be reached during these sessions they were postponed several times throughout the 1980s until the end of the East-West confrontation resulted in new global constellations and challenges that required a different approach to economic debates. As a consequence, the draft version of the Code of Conduct was declared to be outdated in 1992 and the whole process at the UN was officially suspended.

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