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Aligning Investment Treaties With Sustainable Development Goals, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs, Nathan Lobel Dec 2019

Aligning Investment Treaties With Sustainable Development Goals, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs, Nathan Lobel

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Policy makers and other stakeholders are currently asking fundamental questions about whether and to what extent international investment agreements (IIAs) are consistent with and are helping to advance sustainable development objectives at home and abroad.

A 2019 paper from CCSI examines the alignment of IIAs with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, arguing that while FDI will play an important role in advancing development outcomes, existing treaties must be reformed and future IIAs reimagined in order to achieve deep alignment with the sustainable development goals.

The paper proposes that IIAs should be designed and evaluated with respect to their ability to ...


Inconsistency's Many Forms In Investor-State Dispute Settlement And Implications For Reform, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs Nov 2019

Inconsistency's Many Forms In Investor-State Dispute Settlement And Implications For Reform, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Attracting investment in agriculture has been a key policy goal of governments in the global south. Development partners have supported these policies. But what do governments hope to achieve by attracting investment in the agricultural sector? Why are companies interested in investing? What is in it for local communities? And what is the role of lawyers? This primer provides an introduction to some of the key issues that arise in the negotiation of contracts linked to investments in agriculture, and practical guidance for how to approach common issues. Section 1 of this primer outlines the typical goals of three important ...


Legal Frameworks & Foreign Investment: A Primer On Governments’ Obligations, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson, Sam Szoke-Burke, Rumbidzaii Mawen Nov 2019

Legal Frameworks & Foreign Investment: A Primer On Governments’ Obligations, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson, Sam Szoke-Burke, Rumbidzaii Mawen

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Legal frameworks, and how they interact, are often invisible in the day to day. Yet they are powerful forces that influence government actions and that help to shape who benefits and who loses from foreign investment. Understanding these legal frameworks, and how they interact, is critical for anyone concerned with how foreign investment can be better harnessed to support, rather than weaken, sustainable development and human rights.

This primer provides a brief overview of host government obligations under international investment law, international human rights law, domestic law, and relevant investor-state contracts. It also highlights some of the ways in which ...


Outcome Report On The Climate Crisis, Global Land Use And Human Rights Conference, Mateusz Kasprowicz, Sam Szoke-Burke, Kaitlin Y. Cordes Nov 2019

Outcome Report On The Climate Crisis, Global Land Use And Human Rights Conference, Mateusz Kasprowicz, Sam Szoke-Burke, Kaitlin Y. Cordes

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

On September 27th, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Landesa, the New York City Bar Association International Environmental Law Committee, and Wake Forest Law School hosted a day-long conference on the intersection between land use, the climate crisis and clean energy transition, and human rights.

Held at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, the conference brought together individuals from civil society organizations, governments, and academia, as well as lawyers, climate scientists, land-rights experts, indigenous representatives and other stakeholder groups. The panelists analyzed the critical role that land plays in achieving ...


Securing Adequate Legal Defense In Proceedings Under International Investment Agreements: A Scoping Study, Lise Johnson, Brooke Guven Nov 2019

Securing Adequate Legal Defense In Proceedings Under International Investment Agreements: A Scoping Study, Lise Johnson, Brooke Guven

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

CCSI prepared a Scoping Study for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. Also available are:

  • A summary version of the study (33 pages)
  • A webinar (March 24, 2020), hosted by CCSI and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, discussed the Scoping Study and its findings (see also accompanying slides with speaking notes).
  • A webinar organized by UNCITRAL (April 21, 2020). CCSI presented the Scoping Study. A video link of the webinar along with CCSI’s slides are available in English (with speaking notes) and French at that link. CCSI Senior Fellow Karl Sauvant also presented his ...


Linkages To The Mining Sector In Colombia, Nicolas Maennling, Perrine Toledano Oct 2019

Linkages To The Mining Sector In Colombia, Nicolas Maennling, Perrine Toledano

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

At the request of the Colombian Government and with the support of GIZ, CCSI prepared a policy brief focused on linkages from the mining sector in Colombia. The brief gives an overview of existing regulatory requirements, government policies and company programs to foster economic and infrastructure linkages. Based on the findings, the brief provides suggestions for next steps if the government is to develop a more comprehensive linkage creation program.


Agricultural Investments: A Primer For Host Government Lawyers And Local Lawyers In Private Practice, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye Oct 2019

Agricultural Investments: A Primer For Host Government Lawyers And Local Lawyers In Private Practice, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Attracting investment in agriculture has been a key policy goal of governments in the global south. Development partners have supported these policies. But what do governments hope to achieve by attracting investment in the agricultural sector? Why are companies interested in investing? What is in it for local communities? And what is the role of lawyers? This primer provides an introduction to some of the key issues that arise in the negotiation of contracts linked to investments in agriculture, and practical guidance for how to approach common issues. Section 1 of this primer outlines the typical goals of three important ...


Fixing The Business Of Food: The Food Industry And The Sdg Challenge, Barilla Center For Food And Nutrition, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, Sanda Chiara Lab Sep 2019

Fixing The Business Of Food: The Food Industry And The Sdg Challenge, Barilla Center For Food And Nutrition, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, Sanda Chiara Lab

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In collaboration with the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and the Santa Chiara Lab of the University of Siena, CCSI presented its first report on Fixing the Business of Food.

The document, part of a two-year effort, highlights the sustainable development challenge faced by the food industry. By proposing a Four Dimension framework, the report asks four overarching questions for companies in the food sector to address alignment with the SDGs:

  1. Does the company contribute to healthy and sustainable dietary patterns through its products and strategy?
  2. Are the company’s production processes economically ...


Briefing For Civil Society Organizations – Understanding Commercial Eucalyptus Plantations: How Do They Work And What Are Their Environmental Impacts?, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Jul 2019

Briefing For Civil Society Organizations – Understanding Commercial Eucalyptus Plantations: How Do They Work And What Are Their Environmental Impacts?, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

If a company wants to use a community’s land for eucalyptus plantations, the community should think carefully about whether this is a good idea. Civil society organizations that support communities can use this briefing to help communities understand the potential environmental impacts the community should be aware of. The briefing explains plantation forestry and the life-cycle of eucalyptus tree plantations. It also notes the different possible negative environmental impacts of eucalyptus plantations before exploring how this information can be factored into community decision-making about a proposed eucalyptus plantation. While the briefing focuses on eucalyptus plantations, a lot of it ...


Third-Party Rights In Investor-State Dispute Settlement: Options For Reform, Jesse Coleman, Lise Johnson, Brooke Güven, Lorenzo Cotula, Thierry Berger Jul 2019

Third-Party Rights In Investor-State Dispute Settlement: Options For Reform, Jesse Coleman, Lise Johnson, Brooke Güven, Lorenzo Cotula, Thierry Berger

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is currently working on how to reform international investment treaties, focusing in particular on those treaties’ provisions enabling investors to sue governments in international arbitration. As an observer organization in this process, CCSI has emphasized that in the context of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform, it is important to first consider what it is that investment treaties aim to achieve, and only then to consider what form(s) of dispute settlement will best advance those objectives. This means not only looking at reform of the existing ISDS mechanism, but also alternatives ...


Draft Treaty Language: Withdrawal Of Consent To Arbitrate And Termination Of International Investment Agreements, Brooke Güven, Lise Johnson Jul 2019

Draft Treaty Language: Withdrawal Of Consent To Arbitrate And Termination Of International Investment Agreements, Brooke Güven, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is currently working on how to reform international investment treaties, focusing in particular on those treaties’ provisions enabling investors to sue governments in international arbitration. As an observer organization in this process, CCSI has emphasized that in the context of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform, it is important to first consider what it is that investment treaties aim to achieve, and only then to consider what form(s) of dispute settlement will best advance those objectives. This means not only looking at reform of the existing ISDS mechanism, but also alternatives ...


Draft Text Providing For Transparency And Prohibiting Certain Forms Of Third-Party Funding In Investor–State Dispute Settlement, Brooke Güven, Lise Johnson, Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, Lorenzo Cotula, Jane Kelsey Jul 2019

Draft Text Providing For Transparency And Prohibiting Certain Forms Of Third-Party Funding In Investor–State Dispute Settlement, Brooke Güven, Lise Johnson, Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, Lorenzo Cotula, Jane Kelsey

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is currently working on how to reform international investment treaties, focusing in particular on those treaties’ provisions enabling investors to sue governments in international arbitration. As an observer organization in this process, CCSI has emphasized that in the context of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform, it is important to first consider what it is that investment treaties aim to achieve, and only then to consider what form(s) of dispute settlement will best advance those objectives. This means not only looking at reform of the existing ISDS mechanism, but also alternatives ...


Uncitral Working Group Iii On Isds Reform: How Cross-Cutting Issues Reshape Reform Options, Lorenzo Cotula, Thierry Berger, Lise Johnson, Brooke Güven, Jesse Coleman Jul 2019

Uncitral Working Group Iii On Isds Reform: How Cross-Cutting Issues Reshape Reform Options, Lorenzo Cotula, Thierry Berger, Lise Johnson, Brooke Güven, Jesse Coleman

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is currently working on how to reform international investment treaties, focusing in particular on those treaties’ provisions enabling investors to sue governments in international arbitration. As an observer organization in this process, CCSI has emphasized that in the context of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform, it is important to first consider what it is that investment treaties aim to achieve, and only then to consider what form(s) of dispute settlement will best advance those objectives. This means not only looking at reform of the existing ISDS mechanism, but also alternatives ...


Primer: International Investment Treaties And Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment May 2019

Primer: International Investment Treaties And Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

What Are International Investment Agreements (IIAs)?
IIAs are bilateral or multilateral treaties that commit state-parties to afford specific standards of conduct to foreign investors from the other state-parties. These treaties grant foreign investors certain benefits, including recourse to Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) to resolve disputes with host states. Over 3,300 agreements have been concluded worldwide, including NAFTA and the Comprehensive and Progressive TransPacific Partnership.

What is Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)?
IIAs allow foreign investors (individuals and companies) to allege treaty violations by suing states through ad hoc arbitration. Arbitration tribunals are composed of party-appointed (and party-paid) private lawyers. Tribunals ...


Ccsi Submits Written Views To Us Department Of State Regarding Uncitral’S Working Group Iii, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment May 2019

Ccsi Submits Written Views To Us Department Of State Regarding Uncitral’S Working Group Iii, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In connection with the US Department of State’s Annual Advisory Committee on Private International law meeting in May 2019, CCSI submitted written views regarding UNCITRAL’s Working Group III on ISDS reform. CCSI’s comments highlighted specific areas of CCSI’s research as it relates to the US Government and its work within the Working Group. Specifically, US investment treaty negotiating objectives specify that covered foreign investors in the United States should not be accorded greater substantive rights than domestic investors. CCSI highlights the ways in which greater procedural rights afforded under investment treaties to foreign investors in practice ...


The Policy Implications Of Third-Party Funding In Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Brooke Guven, Lise Johnson May 2019

The Policy Implications Of Third-Party Funding In Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Brooke Guven, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In this Working Paper, CCSI analyzes underexplored yet critical policy issues surrounding the use of third-party funding in ISDS. It considers the costs and benefits of the practice, asks whether it is desirable or undesirable that third-parties be permitted to invest in ISDS claims, and if so, under what circumstances and in order to achieve what objectives, and overviews policy responses, including a total or partial ban and various regulatory responses, that may be appropriate to manage identified impacts.


Alternatives To Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Lise Johnson, Jesse Coleman, Brooke Güven, Lisa E. Sachs Apr 2019

Alternatives To Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Lise Johnson, Jesse Coleman, Brooke Güven, Lisa E. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Proponents often explain support for international investment agreements (IIAs) for their ability to: (1) promote investment flows; (2) depoliticize disputes between investors and states; (3) promote the rule of law; and (4) provide compensation for certain harms to investors – objectives of varying degrees of importance to multinational enterprises, home states, host states, and other stakeholders.

While each of these objectives may seem desirable, it is important to consider what exactly they mean and whether IIAs are optimally tailored to achieve them.

This two-part series aims to consider just that. In the first blog installment, we asked of investor-state dispute settlement ...


Investment Treaties, Investor-State Dispute Settlement And Inequality, Lisa E. Sachs, Lise Johnson Apr 2019

Investment Treaties, Investor-State Dispute Settlement And Inequality, Lisa E. Sachs, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

International investment treaties entrench and exacerbate intra-national inequality by:

  1. Providing stronger substantive legal rights to a certain class of actors that in turn strengthen the legal force of their economic rights and “expectations”, with potentially negative impacts on the competing rights and interests of other stakeholders; and
  2. Providing unequal procedural rights to a certain class of actors, easing their ability, through ISDS, to challenge regulatory measures negatively impacting their economic interests, while other individuals and entities continue to face relatively high legal and practical barriers to using litigation to protect and/or enhance public interest objectives.

This Working Paper, adapted ...


Innovative Financing Solutions For Community Support In The Context Of Land Investments, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2019

Innovative Financing Solutions For Community Support In The Context Of Land Investments, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Communities affected by agricultural, forestry, and other resource investments urgently need increased funding for legal and technical support. Without support, communities risk losing access to critical land and resources, suffering human rights violations, or missing opportunities to benefit from investments. A lack of community support can also lead to conflict and challenges that are damaging for companies and host governments.

Donors and support providers have found ways to finance support for communities, but such efforts can only extend so far. Promising new opportunities exist for filling the financing gap, yet they will require sustained efforts by a range of actors ...


Reputational And Integrity Due Diligence On Investors, Kroll, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Jan 2019

Reputational And Integrity Due Diligence On Investors, Kroll, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Before deciding to invest, companies and investors will perform background research on the uncertainties and risks associated with the proposed investment. For natural resource projects, there are risks around geology, market and price developments, construction delays, operations, regulatory changes, political disruptions, and reputational issues. Feasibility studies and due diligence assessments aim to better understand these risks, reduce uncertainty where possible and be better prepared to manage them.

Governments too should understand the risks that are associated with the proposed investments and get to know the investors before entering into negotiations or signing contracts. This is particularly important for long-term agreements ...


Bridging The Information Gap: How Access To Land Contracts Can Serve Community Rights, Lara Wallis, Sam Szoke-Burke Jan 2019

Bridging The Information Gap: How Access To Land Contracts Can Serve Community Rights, Lara Wallis, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Land contracts (also known as investor-state contracts, or concession agreements) show what commitments a forestry, farming or renewable energy company has made and what the government has said the company can do on the land. These promises define the positive and harmful effects the company’s project could have on community members’ livelihoods and human rights, and on the environment.

Accessing land contracts is a crucial strategy for local organizations. This briefing note explains how local organizations can use land contracts and the Open Land Contracts repository (OpenLandContracts.org) to help communities to:

  • Understand company and government obligations related to ...


The New Mechanisms Of Market Inefficiency, Kathryn Judge Jan 2019

The New Mechanisms Of Market Inefficiency, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

Mechanisms of market inefficiency are some of the most important and least understood institutions in financial markets today. A growing body of empirical work reveals a strong and persistent demand for “safe assets,” financial instruments that are sufficiently low risk and opaque that holders readily accept them at face value. The production of such assets, and the willingness of holders to treat them as information insensitive, depends on the existence of mechanisms that promote faith in the value of the underlying assets while simultaneously discouraging information production specific to the value of those assets. Such mechanisms include private arrangements, like ...


Global Settlements: Promise And Peril, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2019

Global Settlements: Promise And Peril, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

In 2010, Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd. destabilized the world of securities litigation by denying those who purchased their securities outside the U.S. the ability to sue in the U.S. (as they had previously often done). Nature, however abhors a vacuum, and practitioners and other jurisdictions began to seek ways to regain access to U.S. courts. Several techniques have emerged: (1) expanding settlement classes so that they are broader than litigation classes and treating the location of the transaction as strictly a merits issue that defendants could waive; (2) adopting U.S. law as applicable to ...


Activist Directors And Agency Costs: What Happens When An Activist Director Goes On The Board?, John C. Coffee Jr., Robert J. Jackson Jr., Joshua Mitts, Robert Bishop Jan 2019

Activist Directors And Agency Costs: What Happens When An Activist Director Goes On The Board?, John C. Coffee Jr., Robert J. Jackson Jr., Joshua Mitts, Robert Bishop

Faculty Scholarship

We develop and apply a new and more rigorous methodology by which to measure and understand both insider trading and the agency costs of hedge fund activism. We use quantitative data to show a systematic relationship between the appointment of a hedge fund nominated director to a corporate board and an increase in informed trading in that corporation’s stock (with the relationship being most pronounced when the fund’s slate of directors includes a hedge fund employee). This finding is important from two different perspectives. First, from a governance perspective, activist hedge funds represent a new and potent force ...


Informed Trading And Cybersecurity Breaches, Joshua Mitts, Eric L. Talley Jan 2019

Informed Trading And Cybersecurity Breaches, Joshua Mitts, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Cybersecurity has become a significant concern in corporate and commercial settings, and for good reason: a threatened or realized cybersecurity breach can materially affect firm value for capital investors. This paper explores whether market arbitrageurs appear systematically to exploit advance knowledge of such vulnerabilities. We make use of a novel data set tracking cybersecurity breach announcements among public companies to study trading patterns in the derivatives market preceding the announcement of a breach. Using a matched sample of unaffected control firms, we find significant trading abnormalities for hacked targets, measured in terms of both open interest and volume. Our results ...