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Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

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Modern Provisions In Investment Treaties, Jesse Coleman Jul 2020

Modern Provisions In Investment Treaties, Jesse Coleman

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Governments are pursuing substantive and procedural reform of the international investment regime in recognition that there are fundamental, systemic, and interrelated concerns about current approaches to investment governance, and that current approaches have failed to meet their purported objectives.

A vast majority of the 1,023 publicly-known treaty-based claims have been brought under “old-generation” treaties. In 2018, for example, 60% of such claims were brought under treaties originally concluded in the 1990s or earlier, and all but one was filed under a pre-2011 treaty. These old-generation treaties include vague and far-reaching obligations for states, generally do not include any reference to …


Comment On Us Trade And Investment Agreements Submitted To Ustr, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Apr 2020

Comment On Us Trade And Investment Agreements Submitted To Ustr, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Comments to USTR Re: U.S.-Kenya Trade Agreement (April 28, 2020): CCSI, in response to the United States Trade Representative’s request for public comment to inform its approach to a U.S.-Kenya Trade Agreement, submitted Comments elaborating on our main points that (1) investor-state dispute settlement should not be included in any U.S.-Kenya agreement and (2) principles that should guide an investment chapter or investment provisions in any such agreement should (a) strategically support cross-border investment that produces positive development outcomes for the U.S. and Kenya, (b) facilitate and support good governance of investment projects, and (c) enhance cooperation to solve challenges …


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 UNCITRAL …


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 …


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. …


Updates To The Uncitral Legislative Guide On Privately Financed Infrastructure Projects, Brooke Guven, Motoko Aizawa Nov 2018

Updates To The Uncitral Legislative Guide On Privately Financed Infrastructure Projects, Brooke Guven, Motoko Aizawa

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

CCSI, jointly with The Observatory for Sustainable Infrastructure, submitted comments to the UNCITRAL Secretariat regarding updates to the UNCITRAL Legislative Guide on Privately Financed Infrastructure Projects. CCSI’s comments focused on the need for an updated guide, which will now refer to Public Private Partnerships, to holistically and systematically incorporate considerations of: (1) sustainable development and the SDGs, (2) rebalancing of the public versus private nature of PPPs, (3) transparency, participation, accountability, and remedy, (4) empirical evidence-based assessments of contexts in which PPPs may be desirable, (5) objectives of investment and PPPs, (6) human rights, (7) labor, (8) climate change, …


Outcome Report Of Roundtable On International Investment Regime And Access To Justice, Michelle Chan, Kanika Gupta, Jesse Coleman, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson Sep 2018

Outcome Report Of Roundtable On International Investment Regime And Access To Justice, Michelle Chan, Kanika Gupta, Jesse Coleman, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

On October 18, 2017, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and the CCSI co-hosted a one-day roundtable on the impacts of the international investment regime on access to justice for investment-affected individuals and communities.

Held at Columbia University in New York, the roundtable brought together 32 individuals from civil society organizations, communities affected by investments at the heart of investor-state claims, governments, academia, donor organizations, UN mandate holders, and other stakeholder groups. The roundtable provided an opportunity for participants to: (i) explore and assess the specific impacts of international investment agreements and investor-state dispute settlement on access …


Clearing The Path: Withdrawal Of Consent And Termination As Next Steps For Reforming International Investment Law, Lise Johnson, Jesse Coleman, Brooke Güven, Lisa E. Sachs Apr 2018

Clearing The Path: Withdrawal Of Consent And Termination As Next Steps For Reforming International Investment Law, Lise Johnson, Jesse Coleman, Brooke Güven, Lisa E. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

This is a crucial moment in international investment policymaking. Two factors have converged, calling for a new direction. First, it has become increasingly difficult to justify investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS); even governments that had been among its strongest proponents are now changing course and have raised a range of fundamental, systemic and inter-related issues relating to ISDS. Second, policy makers and other stakeholders have a greater awareness of the need to design appropriate policies to maximize the contributions cross-border investment can make to sustainable development. Influenced by these factors, various reform efforts related to investment policy are underway at the …


Costs And Benefits Of Investment Treaties: Practical Considerations For States, Lise Johnson, Jesse Coleman, Brooke Guven, Lisa E. Sachs Mar 2018

Costs And Benefits Of Investment Treaties: Practical Considerations For States, Lise Johnson, Jesse Coleman, Brooke Guven, Lisa E. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

This paper analyzes the expected benefits of investment treaties, including: increased inward investment, increased outward investment, and depoliticization of investment disputes. It then considers evidence of the costs of investment treaties, including: litigation, liability, reputational cost, reduced policy space, distorted power dynamics, reduced role for domestic law-making, and uncertainty in the law. The authors set forth practical steps that states can take relating to both existing treaties as well as future treaties with an objective of increasing desired benefits and decreasing unexpected and high costs of investment treaties.


India’S Revised Model Bit: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back?, Jesse Coleman, Kanika Gupta Oct 2017

India’S Revised Model Bit: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back?, Jesse Coleman, Kanika Gupta

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In December 2015, the Indian government approved the final text of its revised model bilateral investment treaty (BIT). Shortly thereafter, in February 2016, India published a joint interpretative statement to clarify its understanding of certain treaty provisions found in existing Indian treaties. These recent developments in Indian investment treaty policy are products of a multi-year review process ,prompted at least in part by the 2011 finding against India in the White Industries claim - the first such known finding against the state – and by several notices of dispute received following the determination in that case.


Comment On Us Trade And Investment Agreements Submitted To Ustr, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Jul 2017

Comment On Us Trade And Investment Agreements Submitted To Ustr, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Comments to USTR Re: Review of US Trade and Investment Agreements (July 17, 2017): CCSI, in response to the United States Trade Representative’s request for public comment to inform its performance review of US trade and investment agreements, submitted Comments that focused on the impact that investment protection provisions, enforceable through investor-state dispute settlement, have on rights-compliant, inclusive sustainable development within the United States and abroad.


Submission On The Draft General Comment On “State Obligations Under The Icescr In The Context Of Business Activities”, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Jan 2017

Submission On The Draft General Comment On “State Obligations Under The Icescr In The Context Of Business Activities”, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In January 2017 CCSI made a submission to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, regarding its draft General Comment on “State obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Context of Business Activities.” CCSI’s submission focused on: (1) host and home states’ obligations as they relate to international investment agreements (IIAs); (2) extraterritorial obligations in the context of outward investment; and (3) state obligations related to corruption issues.

In the submission, CCSI emphasized that states must ensure that existing treaties do not generate conflicts between obligations owed under IIAs and the Covenant (in …


Conference Report: Climate Change And Sustainable Investment In Natural Resources: From Consensus To Action, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Sabin Center For Climate Change Law Nov 2016

Conference Report: Climate Change And Sustainable Investment In Natural Resources: From Consensus To Action, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Sabin Center For Climate Change Law

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment has produced this conference report on CCSI’s Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Investment in Natural Resources: From Consensus to Action. A shorter outcome document, which was disseminated at COP22, is also available. These documents summarize the discussions at the eleventh annual Columbia International Investment Conference, which took place on November 2-3, 2016, at Columbia University. The Conference offered a high-level opportunity to discuss how countries can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement, while also advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular the important implications for the …


Outcome Report Of Workshop On International Investment And The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Jesse Coleman Nov 2016

Outcome Report Of Workshop On International Investment And The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Jesse Coleman

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

On May 12, 2016, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment hosted a one-day workshop on international investment and the rights of indigenous peoples. This outcome document synthesizes the discussions that took place during the May 12 workshop.

The workshop was part of a series of consultations undertaken to support the Special Rapporteur's Second Thematic Analysis on the Impact of International Investment Agreements on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Held at the Ford Foundation in New York, the workshop brought together 53 academics, practitioners, indigenous …


The Outsized Costs Of Investor–State Dispute Settlement, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs Feb 2016

The Outsized Costs Of Investor–State Dispute Settlement, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The negotiation of several mega-treaties in 2015, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and other regional agreements, has generated substantial public discussion about the protections and privileges afforded to multinational enterprises through the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in these treaties. ISDS has increasingly raised concerns among certain governments and civil society groups, particularly as a growing number of ISDS cases involve investors challenging a range of governmental measures taken in good faith and in the public interest, including measures related to environmental protection, public health …


Background Paper For Second Workshop On Contract Negotiation Support For Developing Host Countries, Vale Columbia Center On Sustainable International Investment, Humboldt-Viadrina School Of Governance Jul 2012

Background Paper For Second Workshop On Contract Negotiation Support For Developing Host Countries, Vale Columbia Center On Sustainable International Investment, Humboldt-Viadrina School Of Governance

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) and the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance (HSVG) have initiated a process to discuss the desirability and feasibility of mechanisms to provide negotiation support for developing host countries in their negotiations with major investors.

At a first workshop held in October 2011, participants agreed on the need for an expansion of support for developing countries in their contract negotiations.

A second workshop was held at Columbia University in July 2012 that undertook a gap analysis between the existing sources of support for developing countries in relation to complex contracts and the countries’ needs for …