Fiona Dove - Executive Director, Transnational Institute

Message from the Director

In 2016 we witnessed the disturbing consequences of permanent war, neoliberal policies and globalization that have unleashed forces that are shaking the status quo at its roots. TNI has long warned of their dangerous consequences, but is still horrified at the worryingly fast-paced shift towards authoritarianism across the globe.

Whether it was the election of President Duterte in The Philippines and the subsequent murderous campaign against drug users; the dubious impeachment of Present Roussef in Brazil; the horrifying consequences of rising bigotry worldwide; or of course the election of Trump at the end of the year, 2016 was, in many ways, an annus horribilis.

While we may seem pessimists of the intellect, we make up for it with our optimism of will! We continue to draw hope from the social movements that doubled their commitment to the realization of the vision and values that TNI holds dear. We saw greater international solidarity and greater unity of movements connecting the dots between war, corporate power, neoliberal ideologies and climate change. And we saw a lot more young people join the struggle for justice.

In 2016, TNI began to implement its new 5-year strategic plan. This included the launch of a new War and Pacification programme, with an initial focus on the constraints social movements face under the new authoritarianism. Our other programmes developed strategies to take their work forward, with new focuses emerging on (renewable) energy democracy and the kind of newly emerging politics that are necessary for dealing with the challenges we face.

We are excited to incubate new areas of innovative thinking, and to extend TNI’s networks and usefulness to burgeoning social movements.

Successful fundraising saw our budget increase by 30 per cent over the previous year. This enabled TNI to grow in size and ambition in 2016. We increased our staff in Amsterdam by 45 per cent, taking on young new programme staff and bringing in organizational capacity, including for personnel and Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (PMEL). We were able to enhance our capacity on the ground, notably in Myanmar, where we now have a seven-person team in place. And we were able to employ four more dedicated staff with thematic expertise based in the South, and to take on many more interns and volunteers.

In all, TNI had 70 people dedicated to helping it achieve its goals. We have also set ourselves internal objectives to ensure that TNI is able to manage and sustain this growth.

As part of larger movements, in 2016, we have:

  • stopped two massive trade and investment agreements, the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership ( TTIP);
  • fundamentally shaken the legitimacy of investor protections over that of people and planet;
  • won over governments to negotiating an international treaty to reign in the impunity of transnational corporations;
  • catalyzed a momentum for radical reform of international drugs policy;
  • returned more public services to the people they were intended to serve.

Millions of people will benefit.

All of these victories, of course, bear testimony to the dogged work of decades. Our task now is to ensure that these gains are not reversed, and to redouble efforts where we are not yet able to demonstrate success.

We are very proud of our internationalized team and the contributions they have made to the social movements we support. In the coming year, we hope to create more space for supporters of our work to contribute where they can – whether financially or in kind.

We are also grateful to all the donors – big and small – who believe in us and make our work possible. With you all, we can get a little closer to realizing our mission.

Thank you!