On 23 March, the Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights in collaboration with the Law and Financial Markets Project and the Transnational Law Project hosted an evening discussion on Financial Institutions and Human Rights. The event attracted over 40 participants from banks, banking associations, law firms, students, academics and civil society. Andrea Saldarriaga moderated the discussion centred on the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement on human rights. Representatives from the Dutch Banking Association, ING Bank in the Netherlands and Standard Chartered Bank in the UK offered their insights on the agreement and whether such an initiative might make sense in the UK context. A lively debate followed, which was initiated by Dr. Philipp Paech, Andrea Shemberg and Dr. Jan Kleinheisterkamp.
On 21 November 2016, Andrea Shemberg, co-lead of the Investment & Human Rights Project (IHR Project), spoke at the event “Responsible Business” at Chatham House. The event brought together government representatives, civil society, business leaders and academia to discuss key questions on the responsible business agenda.
One of these questions is the emerging opposition to trade and investment agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP). In addressing this question, Andrea argued that this opposition needs to be understood as a wider legitimacy crisis spurred by deep disappointments and frustrations about the ability of governance structures to regulate transnational private sector activities in a way that ensures that these activities deliver on their promises of improved prosperity, standards of living and improved enjoyment of human rights for all. She argued that this understanding should be the starting point for rethinking the whole architecture of practices, rules and institutions that promote, finance, support and regulate international investment. Ensuring responsible investment should be at the heart of efforts for investment policymakers worldwide.
On 11 November the Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy (Lab) and the Investment & Human Rights Project (IHR Project) will host Dr. Hadi Ghaemi in a lunchtime discussion with MSc Human Rights students at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights. Dr. Ghaemi is an internationally recognised Iran analyst and human rights expert. He worked with Human Rights Watch as the Iran and United Arab Emirates researcher and was a member of the first UN-commissioned human rights fact finding mission to Afghanistan. He is founder and Executive Director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, an organisation that has become one of the leading groups reporting and documenting human rights violations in Iran.
Now is an important moment for Iran. Following the ease of international sanctions, foreign investment is expected to grow quickly in Iran-after decades of isolation. However, investors will encounter a number of challenges in Iran, including with respect to human rights. Dr. Ghaemi will talk about the current state of human rights in Iran and will highlight some of the challenges that investors will confront in their efforts to engage in responsible business in Iran.
The LSE Investment & Human Rights Project (IHR Project) will host a high-level panel discussion at the upcoming UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights (UN Forum) in Geneva. The panel will discuss the experiences of governments and companies when implementing the UNGPs during major transitions–whether that be from conflict to peace or opening up to foreign investment after a period of isolation. Three country case studies will be at the centre of the discussion: Iran, Colombia and Liberia. The panelists include the ex-Attorney General from Liberia Christiana Tah, the Presidential High Commissioner on Human Rights from Colombia Paula Gaviria, the Secretary General of Ecopetrol Mónica Jiménez and the Executive Director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran Hadi Ghaemi. They will provide their insights about the specific country contexts and the challenges to UNGPs implementation. The panel will be moderated by IHR Project co-lead Andrea Shemberg.
This is the third time that the IHR Project has hosted a discussion at the UN Forum. The event this year is expected to attract over 2500 people from all over the globe. The updated programme be found here. The UN Forum is open to the public, but registration is required.
Session title: Implementing the UNGPs in times of major political, economic or social change: focus on investment
When: Monday 14 November, 16:40-18:00
Where: Palais des Nations, room XXII
LSE Investment & Human Rights Project and Business and Human Rights Resource Centre to host expert meeting on investment and human rights
On 19 October 2016 the IHR Project and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre will host an expert meeting on investment and human rights. A group of human rights practitioners, investment specialists and academics from across the globe will gather at the LSE to discuss what international human rights law and policy can offer to current reform efforts regarding international investment.
During the last several years, international investment agreements, like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated between Europe and the United States or the Transpacific Trade Partnership Agreement (TPPA) deal between the United States and 11 other countries have proven very controversial. Protests across Europe (embed link), in the United States, Latin America, Asia and Africa have expressed fears that such investment agreements do not create benefits for people, but instead benefit only large corporate interests to the detriment of human rights and democratic institutions.
Discussion about reforming these investment agreements to address some of the fears expressed across the world have begun. But the question remains whether the reform efforts, as they are being framed, will be sufficient to ensure that international investment will not infringe on people’s rights and will enhance the enjoyment of human rights such as access to an adequate standard of living, food, water, medical care and education.
The 19 October invitation-only meeting will look at whether a human rights perspective could help to ensure that reform efforts hit the mark. It will also address what research is needed to bring human rights to play meaningfully into the discussions about international investment reform and what role human rights advocates could play. A short note will be published on the Hub to provide the IHR Project’s reflections from the […]
IHRP to present new Guide on UNGPs and investment policymaking during UNCTAD multi-year expert meeting
On 16 March 2016 the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is organising a special lunchtime session during the UNCTAD Multi-year Experts Meeting on Investment, Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Productive Capacity-building and Sustainable Development to launch the IHRP Guide on Implementing the UNGPs in Investment Policymaking. This event is a key opportunity for the IHRP to present the Guide and to engage with experts and State representatives about the UNGPs as they consider investment policy reforms at domestic, regional and multilateral levels. The panel speakers will include Lene Wendland, Adviser on Business and Human Rights OHCHR; Andrea Saldarriaga, Co-lead IHRP and Joshua Curtis, School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool. The full event information is available at the link below.
OHCHR event information: IHRP Guide on UNGPs and Investment Policymaking
The LSE IHRP has released its Guide to Implementing the UN Guiding Principles in Investment Policymaking. The web versions are now available in English, Spanish and Bahasa Indonesia.
Guide in English, PDF, 1MB
Guide in Spanish, PDF, 1MB
Guide in Bahasa Indonesia, PDF, 1MB
Aims to help States better implement their State duty to protect (DtP) under the UN Guiding Principles for
Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) across investment policymaking.
Highlights why investment policymaking should be a priority area for UNGP implementation.
Offers a practical Guide to implementation by (i) mapping the diverse State functions, instruments and actors that are relevant throughout the life cycle of an investment project; (ii) presenting six key issues that are most relevant for implementing the UNGPs in investment policymaking; and (iii) providing ideas and examples of measures for State implementation.
Is intended for government officials who are involved in all stages of investment policymaking and for those leading the implementation of the UNGPs; it is also intended for use by civil society, business enterprises and other stakeholders who can contribute to improving the ability of States to protect human rights in the context of investment.
IHRP work on the UNGPs and Investment Policymaking:
This Guide is one outcome of a larger IHRP research and capacity building project on the implementation of the UNGPs in investment policymaking. In late 2015, the IHRP hosted workshops and dialogues in Colombia and Indonesia. The in-country work was aimed at providing recommendations for integrating investment policymaking in the respective National Action Plans on business and human rights (NAPs). The work was coordinated with the officials in each country leading on the development and implementation of the NAPs. Each workshop explored how the UNGPs apply to investment policymaking, and what this implies in […]
On 14 December 2015 the Investment & Human Rights Project (IHRP) issued its report back to Komnas HAM (the Indonesian Commission on Human Rights) on the workshop and dialogue held in November 2015 on how to integrate investment policymaking in its National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP). This report is part of the IHRP’s work to support the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights State duty to protect and improve guidance available to States on foreign direct investment and investment policy in the development of NAPs. Read more about this process and the report here.
On the occasion of the IHR Project’s participation in the UNCTAD Expert Meeting on “The Transformation of the International Investment Agreement Regime” in Geneva on 25-27 February, Andrea Saldarriaga and Andrea Shemberg put together this think piece on reform. This piece argues that IIAs and ISDS reform should address the current failure of global governance structures to ensure that international investment supports environmental, social and economic goals, while reinforcing principles of good governance.
Read the article
On 10 December 2014, the Global Policy’s eBook published the article “Achieving Global Rules on Social Impacts for Export Credit Agencies” written by the IHR Project co-leads, Andrea Shemberg and Andrea Saldarriaga.
The article argues that harmonisation of environmental and social standards for the operation of Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) has emerged as an urgent priority to be addressed. Harmonisation can help prevent a race-to-the-bottom on key societal issues among ECAs globally and will help avoid a shadow being cast on their public policy role that can threaten to erode the rationale for their own existence.
The authors formulate a series of policy recommendations including a call on the countries that have supported the development and dissemination of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to drive the inclusion of such standards in the context of ECAs. They also suggest that the ongoing work of the International Working Group on export credits may be an opportunity to initiate this discussion.