International Investment Agreements

‘International investment agreements’ (‘IIAs’) refers to treaties signed by States to promote and protect foreign investment. Through IIAs, States commit to protect investment in their territory in accordance with a set of standards, which may include fair and equitable treatment, or the prohibition of expropriation without compensation. IIAs often grant investors the right to enforce such protections through international arbitration. IIAs include bilateral investment treaties, Free Trade Agreements and economic partnership agreements that incorporate investment provisions.

In recent years, critics have voiced concerns that the terms of these treaties cause or contribute to negative impacts on sustainable development and human rights. These concerns are closely related to those raised in the context of investment arbitration, discussed further in the section on Arbitration.

The Learning Hub’s work on IIAs will invite consideration of specific issues related to human rights such as how the negotiation of IIAs can better reflect State duties and business enterprise responsibilities for human rights.

Start exploring the resources already available in the Learning Hub while work in this area is developing. The Investment & Human Rights Map provides tailored explanations of investment activities, human rights and their connections in each of the main areas:

The Learning Hub also offers extensive information on: ArbitrationState-investor contracts and International Human Rights Law, along with a range of useful Tools:

  • Toolboxes offering a dynamic repository of selected reference materials for practice, while drawing attention to emerging issues;
  • Expert articles offering analysis and insights from practitioners and leading experts on investment and human rights, highlighting key issues for practice; and
  • Learning videos offering basic explanations of essential topics and providing expert views on investment and human rights issues.

Stay informed as the Hub develops and creates new content and resources by following us on Twitter @InvestHumanRts, signing up to our mailing list or checking our What’s New.