In a 2015 submission for the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Expert Meeting on “The Transformation of the International Investment Agreement Regime”, we argued that much of the criticism levelled against international investment agreements (IIAs) and Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) actually reflected much wider disappointments and frustrations with what international investment was delivering (or failing to deliver) to people globally.
Opinion: India tries, and fails, to strengthen sovereignty and human rights in international investment law*
In late December 2015 the Indian government released the final text of its new Model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). A draft text had been released in March 2015 and opened to public consultation. Going forward, India will try to use this new Model as a basis for its BIT negotiations with other States. As this opinion piece argues, the final text represents a missed opportunity. It reflects the standard features of BITs as we know them today, and has removed important features that would have reinforced India’s sovereignty and the protection of human rights.
The IHRP issues recommendations on investment for the Colombian National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights
On 26 November the Investment & Human Rights Project (IHRP) issued its recommendations to the government of Colombia to address investment policy in its National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. The recommendations are part of the IHRP’s work to support the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights State Duty to Protect (DtP) and improve guidance available to States on foreign direct investment and investment policy in the development of National Action Plans (NAPs).
Does Europe need a new investment policy? What should be the underlying values and objectives of that policy? On 19 June 2015 Andrea Saldarriaga, co-lead of the Investment & Human Rights Project, addressed these questions at a seminar organised by the Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA) on the “Treatment of EU investors in the Single Market”. Her remarks pointed to the need to construct a European investment policy reflective of European values of transparency, democracy and respect for human rights.
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, we put together this short 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.
For the first time in its history, the World Investment Forum hosted panel discussions on Investment and Human Rights at its October 2014 event. These panel discussions, designed and moderated by the LSE Investment & Human Rights Project, offered a scoping of the key issues in this area and aired the perspectives of a wide range of practitioners. Panelists represented views from the international arbitration practice, the private sector business community, civil society, international institutions and academia. One key outcome of the panels is that much more work needs to be done to build understanding around how investment impacts people and their rights. This IHR Project background and summary captures the important discussions.
The article by Kathryn Gordon, Joachim Pohl and Marie Bouchard presents the findings of the recent OECD report Investment Treaty Law, Sustainable Development and Responsible Business Conduct: A Fact-Finding Survey. The report provides a starting point for looking at the interaction between human rights law and international investment law by generating internationally comparable information on how human rights concerns and related issues are referred to in investment treaty texts and arbitration decisions based on those treaties. By providing an initial indication of this interaction, the report invites further investigation of how a range of interests not strictly construed from the text of treaties – including human rights – are being addressed or not in Investor-State Dispute Settlement.
The new UNCITRAL Rules and Convention on transparency offer States the opportunity to make investment arbitration more open and accessible to the public. States that take this opportunity make an important move towards bringing their investment policy in line with commitments reflected in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). This expert article written exclusively for the Investment & Human Rights Learning Hub explores the intersection between UNCITRAL’s work on transparency and the UNGPs.
Business enterprises are now under increased pressure to ensure that human rights are respected throughout their operations. As a result, one strategy companies are considering is the integration of human rights requirements into their commercial agreements. This expert article written for the Investment & Human Rights Learning Hub explores this strategy and its implications.
Investment and Human Rights in Afghanistan
The case of Afghanistan is emblematic of countries in the throes of armed conflict, in which both human rights and investment present significant protection challenges. Lack of resources and government capacity, fluctuating commitment of the international community, and collapse of the policing and judicial systems are but some of the challenging characteristics of the volatile Afghan context. As outlined in this snapshot, as much as investment is needed in Afghanistan, the country’s extreme context presents some significant human rights risks for foreign investors.