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Investment law and policy

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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 …


Human Rights Law And The Investment Treaty Regime, Jesse Coleman, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson Jun 2019

Human Rights Law And The Investment Treaty Regime, Jesse Coleman, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In its current form, the international investment treaty regime may stymie the business and human rights agenda in various ways. The regime may incentivize governments to favour the protection of investors over the protection of human rights. Investment treaty standards enforced through investor-state arbitration risk adversely affecting access to justice for project-affected rights holders. More broadly, the regime contributes to a system of global economic governance that elevates and rewards investors’ actions and expectations, irrespective of whether they have adhered to their responsibilities to respect human rights. Without comprehensive reform, investment treaties and investor-state arbitration will continue to interfere with …


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.


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 result in greater substantive …


Agricultural Investments Under International Investment Law, Jesse Coleman, Sarah Brewin, Thierry Berger Oct 2018

Agricultural Investments Under International Investment Law, Jesse Coleman, Sarah Brewin, Thierry Berger

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

International investment law, based primarily on international investment treaties, plays an important role in the governance of investment in agriculture, forestry, and fishing. The obligations established by these treaties, and enforced by means of investor–state arbitration, can present challenges for policy-makers and others seeking to ensure that investments are sustainable, including by affecting the ways in which the costs and benefits of investments are distributed among different actors.

CCSI partnered with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to produce a briefing note on agricultural investments under international investment law. The …


Ccsi Submission To Un Special Rapporteur On Extreme Poverty Re: United States Country Visit, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Dec 2017

Ccsi Submission To Un Special Rapporteur On Extreme Poverty Re: United States Country Visit, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston, will conduct a country visit to the United States in December 2017. In response to his call for input, CCSI sent a submission focused the United States’ role in the international investment regime, and the United States’ international investment agreements (IIAs), noting that the IIAs to which the US is a party raise tensions, and can potentially create conflicts, with the US’s human rights obligations, including those that apply extraterritorially, and exacerbate conditions of poverty, extreme poverty and inequality.


The Settlement Of Investment Disputes: A Discussion Of Democratic Accountability And The Public Interest, Lise Johnson, Brooke Guven Mar 2017

The Settlement Of Investment Disputes: A Discussion Of Democratic Accountability And The Public Interest, Lise Johnson, Brooke Guven

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In this briefing note, CCSI considers the threats to principles of good governance, including government accountability, respect for the rule of law, transparency, and respect for citizens’ rights and interests under domestic law and international human rights norms, that are posed by the settlement of treaty-based investor-state disputes. The authors also consider the exacerbated threats posed by the settlement of disputes that include government counterclaims, and highlight the need for the ISDS reform agenda to include a focus on these issues.


Beyond Trade Deals: Charting A Post-Brexit Course For Uk Investment Treaties, Lise Johnson, Lorenzo Cotula Dec 2016

Beyond Trade Deals: Charting A Post-Brexit Course For Uk Investment Treaties, Lise Johnson, Lorenzo Cotula

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The Brexit referendum has raised questions about the future terms of the United Kingdom’s engagement with the world economy. While a debate over the UK’s future approach to trade deals has already begun, a similar discussion has yet to develop on the treaties that govern foreign investment. As this briefing note by Lorenzo Cotula of the International Institute for Environment and Development, and Lise Johnson of CCSI highlights, the stakes are high: ill-designed treaties could leave the UK excessively exposed to legal claims by foreign companies and could fail to address relevant economic, social and environmental challenges. While meaningful negotiations …


Space For Local Content Policies And Strategies, Lise Johnson Jul 2016

Space For Local Content Policies And Strategies, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

This paper explores both the role that local content measures can play in advancing sustainable development, and the impact that trade and investment treaties concluded over the past 20 years have had and will continue to have on the ability of governments to employ those tools. Certain local content measures had been restricted under the WTO due to wide agreement by negotiating parties that their costs outweigh their benefits. But the WTO also left a number of local content measures in governments’ policy toolboxes. As is discussed in this paper, however, that is changing, with the range of permissible actions …


International Investment Law And The Extractive Industries Sector, Lise Johnson, Jesse Coleman Jan 2016

International Investment Law And The Extractive Industries Sector, Lise Johnson, Jesse Coleman

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Since the 1990s, international investment law has been rapidly evolving, resulting in a complex web of over 3,000 investment treaties. These treaties have been used to challenge a wide range of host state actions and inactions that have allegedly negatively affected foreign investors or investments. Those challenges, in turn, expose host states to potentially significant financial costs, and can restrict the ability of such states to maximize the benefits, and limit the environmental and social harms, that can result from the exploitation of natural resources. This briefing note provides an introduction to international investment law, with a view to assisting …


Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Public Interest And U.S. Domestic Law, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs, Jeffrey D. Sachs May 2015

Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Public Interest And U.S. Domestic Law, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs, Jeffrey D. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

As negotiations are ongoing in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP), CCSI staff and Jeffrey Sachs discuss the implications of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) for domestic law and policy, focusing on effects within the US. The paper concludes that the risks ISDS poses for domestic law are significant and unjustified, and that there are preferable policy alternatives to pursue as a means of protecting the rights of investors operating overseas.


New Weaknesses: Despite A Major Win, Arbitration Decisions In 2014 Increase The Us’S Future Exposure To Litigation And Liability, Lise Johnson Jan 2015

New Weaknesses: Despite A Major Win, Arbitration Decisions In 2014 Increase The Us’S Future Exposure To Litigation And Liability, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In 2014, the US continued its overall record of success in defending investment treaty claims. But it did suffer losses on a number of important issues, and those losses will render the US (and its treaty parties) vulnerable to future claims, litigation expense, and liability. The US’s recent losses, which have thus far been largely ignored in commentary on the US’s experiences in investment arbitration, are highlighted in this briefing note.


Memo To The Obama Administration On The U.S. National Action Plan On Responsible Business Conduct, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lisa E. Sachs Jan 2015

Memo To The Obama Administration On The U.S. National Action Plan On Responsible Business Conduct, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lisa E. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In January 2015, CCSI sent a memo to President Obama to provide input on the U.S. National Action Plan on responsible business conduct. The memo applauded the U.S. Government’s decision to develop a National Action Plan consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, noting that responsible and rights-respecting outward investment can support sustainable development in host countries, and that the U.S. Government has an important role to play in promoting responsible business operations. The memo urged the government to explore in particular how the National Action Plan can address …


The Mauritius Convention On Transparency: Comments On The Rreaty And Its Role In Increasing Transparency Of Investor-State Arbitration, Lise Johnson Sep 2014

The Mauritius Convention On Transparency: Comments On The Rreaty And Its Role In Increasing Transparency Of Investor-State Arbitration, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In July 2014, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) adopted the Mauritius Convention on Transparency that, if widely adopted, will do much to increase the transparency of investor-state arbitrations conducted under thousands of existing investment treaties and under any set of arbitration rules. This Policy Paper introduces the background and objectives of the Transparency Convention, provides commentary on each of its specific articles, and explains how the Transparency Convention can accomplish broad reform.


Investment Treaties And Industrial Policy: Select Case Studies On State Liability For Efforts To Encourage, Shape And Regulate Economic Activities In Extractive Industries And Infrastructure, Lise Johnson Feb 2014

Investment Treaties And Industrial Policy: Select Case Studies On State Liability For Efforts To Encourage, Shape And Regulate Economic Activities In Extractive Industries And Infrastructure, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

This paper, prepared in connection with a February 2014 conference organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, discusses some of the implications that investment treaties have for investments in infrastructure and the extractive industries. It focuses on liability for government conduct (1) in connection with tenders and negotiations; (2) when responding to questions regarding the legality of the investment; (3) in using performance requirements to leverage benefits and capture spillovers from the investment; (4) changing the legal framework governing an investment in response to evolving needs, circumstances, and interests; (5) administering the investment; and (6) requesting, and responding to …


Memo To The Obama Administration On The Burma Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lisa E. Sachs Sep 2013

Memo To The Obama Administration On The Burma Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lisa E. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In September 2013, CCSI sent a memo to President Obama and his Administration in response to the first public reports submitted by U.S. companies in compliance with the Burma Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements. The memo applauded the U.S. Government’s efforts to encourage responsible investment in Burma, noting that robust due diligence is essential to ensuring that international investments contribute to sustainable development. Yet the memo also urged the Obama Administration to take steps to strengthen future reporting. In particular, CCSI urged the Administration to issue clarifying guidance that any U.S. investor submitting a report should (1) provide information on due …


New Uncitral Arbitration Rules On Transparency: Application, Content And Next Steps, Lise Johnson Aug 2013

New Uncitral Arbitration Rules On Transparency: Application, Content And Next Steps, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

This paper discusses the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-Based Investor-State Arbitration, which were adopted in August of 2013 and went into effect on April 1, 2014. It draws on negotiating history to elaborate on the content of and purpose of each of the Rules’ provisions, and identifies options for and barriers to applying these Rules in future arbitrations.