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2019

Columbia Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 …


Mitigating The Impact Of School Mobility: An Effective Practices Model And Guide For Educators, Elizabeth Daniel, Meghan Snyder Nov 2019

Mitigating The Impact Of School Mobility: An Effective Practices Model And Guide For Educators, Elizabeth Daniel, Meghan Snyder

Center for Public Research and Leadership

On any given day, there are more than 700,000 military-connected students enrolled in U.S. public schools. Many of these students have recently transferred schools and can anticipate additional moves during their K-12 school career because frequent moves are a fact of life for most children who have a parent in the military. They change schools about three times more often than civilian children – and by the time they finish high school, it is common for them to have experienced 6-9 non-promotional school changes. Other highly mobile students – children of migrant workers, those experiencing homelessness or other unstable family …


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 …


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 …


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 …


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 …


Environmental Injustice: How Treaties Undermine The Right To A Healthy Environment, Lisa E. Sachs, Lise Johnson, Ella Merrill Nov 2019

Environmental Injustice: How Treaties Undermine The Right To A Healthy Environment, Lisa E. Sachs, Lise Johnson, Ella Merrill

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Our planet faces unprecedented threats, including irreversible global warming, loss in biodiversity, and water pollution and water scarcity. The impacts of these environmental crises also threaten human rights and exacerbate inequality. Slowing these worsening environmental trends – and addressing the impacts of environmental change on populations – will require cumulative policy responses at the national and international level.


New Report Surveys Extent Of Religious Liberty Activism On The Left, Law, Rights, And Religion Project Nov 2019

New Report Surveys Extent Of Religious Liberty Activism On The Left, Law, Rights, And Religion Project

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

New York, New York — A report released today from the Law, Rights, and Religion Project at Columbia Law School offers a sweeping account of religious liberty activism undertaken by social justice and humanitarian movements while demonstrating how right-wing activists have fought for conservative Christian hegemony rather than religious liberty for all. It thus challenges the leading popular narrative of religious freedom.


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 …


Ensuring Economic Viability And Sustainability Of Coffee Production, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, James Rising, Perrine Toledano, Nicolas Maennling Oct 2019

Ensuring Economic Viability And Sustainability Of Coffee Production, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, James Rising, Perrine Toledano, Nicolas Maennling

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Coffee, the world’s favorite beverage, provides livelihoods for at least 60 million people across dozens of countries. Yet this beloved drink is experiencing a sustainability crisis. A sustained decline in world coffee prices has squeezed coffee producers, and thrown a tremendous number of producers below the global extreme poverty line. This report presents our research into sustainability within the coffee sector, including the results of our analytical and empirical modeling, and provides several recommendations.


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.


Letter To Council Members Regarding Council Draft 3, Jane C. Ginsburg, June M. Besek Oct 2019

Letter To Council Members Regarding Council Draft 3, Jane C. Ginsburg, June M. Besek

Faculty Scholarship

We understand that the ALI Council will consider Council Draft 3 (CD3) of the Restatement of the Law, Copyright (Copyright Restatement) project at its meeting on October 17-18, 2019. The Council may not appreciate how controversial a project this is: the U.S. Copyright Office, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the American Bar Association’s Section of Intellectual Property Law, the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Copyright and Literary Property, academics and other Advisers and Liaisons have expressed serious concerns about this and previous Council Drafts and Preliminary Drafts; indeed, the Register of Copyrights deplored the project as a …


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, socially, …


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 to …


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 to …


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 to …


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 to …


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 will …


Legal Scholars File Brief In Case In Which The Department Of Justice Rejects Religious Liberty Rights Of Non-Profit That Provides Safe Space To Injection Drug Users, Law, Rights, And Religion Project Jul 2019

Legal Scholars File Brief In Case In Which The Department Of Justice Rejects Religious Liberty Rights Of Non-Profit That Provides Safe Space To Injection Drug Users, Law, Rights, And Religion Project

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

Nationally recognized law professors with expertise in religious liberty law filed an amicus brief in a case in which the U.S. Justice Department is seeking to shut down safe-injection sites. The case focuses on the work of a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, Safehouse, a faith-based non-profit that provides people who inject drugs with sterile equipment to minimize the spread of blood-borne illnesses, and to support harm reduction for persons who use injectable drugs.


Trial Monitoring Of People V. Miti Et Al. (Zambia 2018), Human Rights Institute, Beth Van Schaack Jul 2019

Trial Monitoring Of People V. Miti Et Al. (Zambia 2018), Human Rights Institute, Beth Van Schaack

Human Rights Institute

Between September and December 2018, TrialWatch monitored the trial of six
activists in Zambia, who were arrested and charged under the Public Order Act in
connection with an anti-corruption protest they organized in 2017. On December 21, 2018, the judge dismissed the charges and acquitted all six defendants.

Although the trial itself was generally fair, and Judge Mwaka Chigali Mikalile is to be commended in this regard, the proceedings were infected with prosecutorial misconduct in pursuing spurious charges based upon patently insufficient evidence.


Trial Monitoring Of People V. Cansu Pişkin (Turkey 2019), Human Rights Institute, Stephen J. Rapp Jul 2019

Trial Monitoring Of People V. Cansu Pişkin (Turkey 2019), Human Rights Institute, Stephen J. Rapp

Human Rights Institute

Between March and May 2019, TrialWatch monitors under the supervision of the
Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic monitored the trial of Cansu Pişkin, a
journalist for the Turkish daily paper, Evrensel, in Istanbul, Turkey. Pişkin was charged with “making a public servant into a target for terrorist organizations” in violation of Section 6(1) of Law No. 3713, otherwise known as the Anti-Terror Law, for publishing the prosecutor’s name in her April 5, 2018 article, “Special Prosecutor for the Bosphorus Students.” On May 7, 2019, the Court convicted Pişkin and sentenced her to 10 months’ imprisonment (with the sentence pronouncement …


United States Response To Questionnaire Concerning Managing Copyright, June M. Besek, Jane C. Ginsburg, Philippa Loengard, Ralph Peer Jul 2019

United States Response To Questionnaire Concerning Managing Copyright, June M. Besek, Jane C. Ginsburg, Philippa Loengard, Ralph Peer

Faculty Scholarship

ALAI-USA is the U.S. branch of ALAI (Association Littèraire et Artistique Internationale). ALAI-USA was started in the 1980's by the late Professor Melville B. Nimmer, and was later expanded by Professor John M. Kernochan.


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 …


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 …


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 …


Columbia Law Scholars Respond To New Hhs Rule, "Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights In Health Care", Law, Rights, And Religion Project May 2019

Columbia Law Scholars Respond To New Hhs Rule, "Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights In Health Care", Law, Rights, And Religion Project

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

During his National Day of Prayer remarks, President Trump announced a finalized rule that creates expansive legal protections for healthcare providers with specific religious beliefs, including opposition to abortion, sterilization, end-of-life care, and healthcare for LGBTQ persons. The final rule does not offer similarly broad protections to healthcare providers who feel religiously obligated to provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare to their patients.


Flushed And Forgotten: Sanitation And Wastewater In Rural Communities In The United States, Alabama Center For Rural Enterprise (Acre), Human Rights Institute, Institute For The Study Of Human Rights May 2019

Flushed And Forgotten: Sanitation And Wastewater In Rural Communities In The United States, Alabama Center For Rural Enterprise (Acre), Human Rights Institute, Institute For The Study Of Human Rights

Human Rights Institute

This report seeks to bring attention to the unique plight of rural U.S. communities struggling to secure basic sanitation and wastewater. The problem of inadequate and unaffordable water services has received increasing coverage in recent years, and the focus here is on bringing attention to less well-known structural challenges that impede access to sanitation, and the unique ways they impact rural residents.


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 …


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 from …