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2016

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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 …


International Investment Agreements: Impacts On Climate Change Policies In India, China And Beyond, Lise Johnson, Brooke Güven Nov 2016

International Investment Agreements: Impacts On Climate Change Policies In India, China And Beyond, Lise Johnson, Brooke Güven

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Mitigating and adapting to climate change will require a fundamental reorientation of our global economy as we move away from fossil fuels and transition to a low carbon and climate-resilient world. This reorientation depends on government actions to help catalyze and channel financial flows in new directions and away from business-as-usual practices.

International investment agreements (IIAs) – treaties that now number over 3,000 and have the objective of promoting and protecting cross-border investment flows_could potentially play a key role in these efforts to scale up and (re)direct investments to meet climate change mitigation and adaptation needs. As presently drafted and …


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 …


Submission To Opic On Revisions To Its Environmental And Social Policy Statement, Kaitlin Y. Cordes Nov 2016

Submission To Opic On Revisions To Its Environmental And Social Policy Statement, Kaitlin Y. Cordes

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In November 2016, CCSI sent a submission to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) regarding its draft revised Environmental and Social Policy Statement (ESPS). CCSI’s input focused on two discrete issues that CCSI has been working on: (1) contract transparency for natural resource and infrastructure projects, and (2) redress for harms in the context of project abandonment or failure. The submission urged OPIC to add into the ESPS a requirement that Applicants involved in natural resource or infrastructure projects commit to publicly disclosing any investor-state contracts related to the underlying Project. CCSI’s submission also suggested that OPIC incorporate into the …


Accountabilitea: Assam Tea Workers Demand Action From The World Bank And Tata, Promotion And Advancement Of Justice, Harmony And Rights Of Adivasis (Pajhra), People's Action For Development (Pad), Accountability Counsel, Nazdeek, Human Rights Clinic Nov 2016

Accountabilitea: Assam Tea Workers Demand Action From The World Bank And Tata, Promotion And Advancement Of Justice, Harmony And Rights Of Adivasis (Pajhra), People's Action For Development (Pad), Accountability Counsel, Nazdeek, Human Rights Clinic

Human Rights Institute

New Delhi, India, November 7, 2016 – An investigation published today on Tata’s tea plantations in Assam vindicates the claims of Indian NGOs documenting the failure of the World Bank and Tata to uphold the fundamental rights of workers and their families. Over 155,000 people live and work on tea plantations run by Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited (APPL), the second largest tea producer in Assam. The project has the potential to significantly improve thousands of lives, however the Bank’s initial response to the investigation fails to make the most of this opportunity.


Implementation Of Executive Order Of July 1, 2016, Human Rights Institute Oct 2016

Implementation Of Executive Order Of July 1, 2016, Human Rights Institute

Human Rights Institute

October 6, 2016, NEW YORK – The Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic today urged the Obama Administration to fulfill its promises of transparency and accountability for U.S. drone strikes. Over the past decade, the U.S. government has killed thousands of people around the world in a program largely cloaked in secrecy. Together with a group of leading non-governmental organizations, the Clinic called on the government to act on promises it made over the summer to investigate drone strikes and compensate victims.


220+ Law And Economics Professors Sign Letter Opposing Isds In The Tpp, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Sep 2016

220+ Law And Economics Professors Sign Letter Opposing Isds In The Tpp, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

CCSI helped launch a letter joined by over 220 law and economics professors calling on Congress to oppose the final Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement because that treaty includes the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. As the letter notes, the ISDS mechanism “threatens to dilute constitutional protections, weaken the judicial branch and outsource our domestic legal system to a system of private arbitration that is isolated from essential checks and balances.” Despite the Obama administration’s claims to have addressed growing concerns about the ISDS system, the final TPP would instead vastly expand the ISDS threat to the rule of law and …


Mining A Mirage: Reassessing The Shared-Value Paradigm In Light Of The Technological Advances In The Mining Sector, Aaron Cosbey, Howard Mann, Nicolas Maennling, Perrine Toledano, Jeff Geipel, Martin Dietrich Brauch Sep 2016

Mining A Mirage: Reassessing The Shared-Value Paradigm In Light Of The Technological Advances In The Mining Sector, Aaron Cosbey, Howard Mann, Nicolas Maennling, Perrine Toledano, Jeff Geipel, Martin Dietrich Brauch

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

While there has been a strong tendency in resource rich countries to push for more stringent local content regulations, the mining sector is looking to move towards increased automation.

In this study titled "Mining a Mirage: Reassessing the Shared-Value Paradigm in Light of the Technological Advances in the Mining Sector," CCSI, IISD and Engineers Without Borders researched the technological innovations that are being developed, assessing when these technologies could be rolled out, and quantifying the potential impacts automation may have on local employment and procurement and on the shared value paradigm. The objective was to better understand how governments could …


Comments Submitted To The Department Of Health And Human Services Regarding Religious Exemptions To Contraceptive Coverage, Public Rights/Private Conscience Project Sep 2016

Comments Submitted To The Department Of Health And Human Services Regarding Religious Exemptions To Contraceptive Coverage, Public Rights/Private Conscience Project

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

Following the Supreme Court's decision to vacate and remand the cases in Zubik v. Burwell, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a request for information on alternative ways to accommodate religious nonprofits from compliance with the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), CMS-9931-NC. The following comment, from the Law, Rights, and Religion Project, explains that the ACA's existing religious accommodation complies with federal law, and that expanding the accommodation in a way that harms employees and their families would risk violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Further, this comment highlights the effects an …


State & Federal Religious Accommodation Bills: Overview Of The 2015-2016 Legislative Session, Public Rights/Private Conscience Project Sep 2016

State & Federal Religious Accommodation Bills: Overview Of The 2015-2016 Legislative Session, Public Rights/Private Conscience Project

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

Since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that laws limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples were unconstitutional, opponents of marriage equality and LGBT rights have largely turned their attention to the enactment of religious exemption laws. These exemptions allow individuals and organizations to violate certain federal, state, and local laws and regulations that conflict with their religious faith. While some proposed bills are state-level variations on the extremely broad and general federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed in 1993, a new variety of legislation provides narrower accommodations specifically relating to religious views about sex, …


Transcanada Lawsuit Highlights Need To Scuttle Tpp, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Brooke Güven, Lisa E. Sachs Jul 2016

Transcanada Lawsuit Highlights Need To Scuttle Tpp, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Brooke Güven, Lisa E. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The Obama administration is still trying, against the odds, to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment agreement (TPP) through the lame-duck session of Congress after the November presidential vote. The administration knows that TPP can’t pass before the election because both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump oppose it; therefore, they are hoping for a stealth Senate vote between the election and inauguration of the new president in 2017.We can therefore “thank” TransCanada for reminding us why the TPP needs to be scuttled.


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 …


A Policy Framework To Approach The Use Of Associated Petroleum Gas, Shay Banerjee, Perrine Toledano Jul 2016

A Policy Framework To Approach The Use Of Associated Petroleum Gas, Shay Banerjee, Perrine Toledano

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

CCSI developed "A Policy Framework to Approach the Use of Associated Petroleum Gas."

Associated Petroleum Gas (APG) is a form of natural gas that is found associated with petroleum fields. APG is often flared or vented for regulatory, economic or technical reasons. The flaring, however, is problematic from health and environmental perspectives. Moreover, flaring and venting APG wastes a valuable non-renewable resource that could be re-injected into the oil field or used for local and regional electricity generation.

This framework aims at providing guidance for regulators, policymakers, and industry leaders seeking to develop practical approaches to unlock the economic value …


Submission To The Sec On Addressing Land Tenure Risks Through Regulation S-K, Kaitlin Y. Cordes Jul 2016

Submission To The Sec On Addressing Land Tenure Risks Through Regulation S-K, Kaitlin Y. Cordes

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In July 2016, CCSI sent a submission to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to provide input into how land tenure risks could be addressed through disclosure requirements for public companies. The SEC was seeking input into modernizing business and financial disclosure requirements in Regulation S-K, including whether Regulation S-K should be amended to require disclosure of public policy and sustainability information. CCSI argued that, due to the significant financial risk created by land tenure disputes in countries with weak or transitioning land governance systems, companies should be required to report on land tenure risks. Disclosure should be required for …


Mapping Mining To The Sustainable Development Goals: An Atlas, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, United Nations Development Programme, World Economic Forum Jul 2016

Mapping Mining To The Sustainable Development Goals: An Atlas, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, United Nations Development Programme, World Economic Forum

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

CCSI has been working with the World Economic Forum, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to create a shared understanding of how the mining industry can most effectively contribute to the SDGs. The report will help mining companies navigate where their activities – from exploration, through operations and mine closure – can help the world achieve the SDGs. Governments, civil society and other stakeholders can also identify opportunities for shared action and partnership with the industry.

A draft report of Mapping Mining to the Sustainable Development Goals: A Preliminary Atlas was released for …


Employment From Mining And Agricultural Investments: How Much Myth, How Much Reality?, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Olle Östensson, Perrine Toledano Jul 2016

Employment From Mining And Agricultural Investments: How Much Myth, How Much Reality?, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Olle Östensson, Perrine Toledano

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Employment creation is often seen as a key benefit of investment in natural resources. However, this benefit sometimes falls short: job estimates may be inflated, governmental policies may fail to maximize employment generation, and, in some cases, investments may lead to net livelihood losses. A more thorough examination of employment tied to mining and agricultural investments is thus useful for assessing whether and how employment from natural resource investments contributes to sustainable economic development – a particularly timely topic as countries consider how they will achieve the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015.

This report aims to clarify the processes …


United States Response To Questionnaire Concerning Applied Arts Under Ip Law: The Uncertain Border Between Beauty And Usefulness, June M. Besek, Robert E. Bishop, Jane C. Ginsburg, Philippa Loengard, Nathalie Russell Jul 2016

United States Response To Questionnaire Concerning Applied Arts Under Ip Law: The Uncertain Border Between Beauty And Usefulness, June M. Besek, Robert E. Bishop, Jane C. Ginsburg, Philippa Loengard, Nathalie Russell

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.


Resourcecontracts.Org – A Searchable Repository For Publicly Available Mining And Petroleum Contracts, Sophie Thomashausen Apr 2016

Resourcecontracts.Org – A Searchable Repository For Publicly Available Mining And Petroleum Contracts, Sophie Thomashausen

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

ResourceContracts.org is an online, searchable and user-friendly repository of publicly available mining and petroleum contracts from around the world. It currently includes over 1,000 from 72 countries. In addition to PDF scans of each executed contract, the site includes: the full text of contracts in searchable format; plain language summaries of each contract’s key social, environmental, human rights, fiscal, and operational terms; and tools for searching and comparing contracts. Users can search contracts by country, natural resource, year, by type of contract, company, corporate group, or by annotation category.


Human Rights Recommendations To The United States: A Desk Reference For State And Local Human Rights Agencies, Human Rights Institute Apr 2016

Human Rights Recommendations To The United States: A Desk Reference For State And Local Human Rights Agencies, Human Rights Institute

Human Rights Institute

State and local human rights and human relations agencies play a pivotal role in promoting and protecting human rights across the country. Indeed, state and local agencies work on a daily basis to foster equality and eradicate discrimination. Through education, monitoring, and addressing human rights issues, they ensure the ability of the United States to make human rights a reality in local communities.

To assist state and local agencies in doing this work, this resource distills the core human rights principles that fall under the jurisdiction of many state and local agencies, and offers guidance to strengthen the culture of …


Emerging Practices In Community Development Agreements, Jennifer Loutit, Jacqueline Mandelbaum, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2016

Emerging Practices In Community Development Agreements, Jennifer Loutit, Jacqueline Mandelbaum, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Community Development Agreements (CDAs) have the potential to facilitate the delivery of tangible benefits from large-scale investment projects, such as mines or forestry concessions, to affected persons and communities. To be effective, however, CDAs must be adapted to the local context, meaning that no single model agreement or process will be appropriate in every situation. Nonetheless, leading practices are emerging which can be required by governments, voluntarily adopted by companies, and demanded by communities. These practices are grounded in ensuring that all parties are sufficiently informed, capacitated, and prepared to engage in meaningful negotiations regarding how the investor’s operations should …


Sustainable Development Goals: How Can The Mining Sector Contribute?, Lisa E. Sachs Mar 2016

Sustainable Development Goals: How Can The Mining Sector Contribute?, Lisa E. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In September 2015, the heads of 193 United Nations (UN) Member States adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. The agenda provides a successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals, which were adopted in 2000, with a view to ending poverty in all forms and dimensions, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all.


A Silver Lining? Impact Of Commodity Price Fall On Good Governance In Sierra Leone, Herbert M'Cleod, Nicolas Maennling, Lisa E. Sachs Mar 2016

A Silver Lining? Impact Of Commodity Price Fall On Good Governance In Sierra Leone, Herbert M'Cleod, Nicolas Maennling, Lisa E. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

From 2002 to 2013, resource-rich countries in Africa enjoyed the benefits of a commodity boom, using increased revenues to embark on major infrastructure projects in roads, rail, ports, and housing. But when commodity prices fell starting in 2011 (see figure below), public sector revenues took a major hit with private sector companies scaling back operations, delaying investment decisions and suspending unprofitable operations. Especially as the number and size of investments in the sector contracted, Governments felt increased pressure to collect, manage and spend those revenues more efficiently. As a result, the fall in commodity prices and mounting economic pressure actually …


Corporate Agricultural Investment And The Right To Food: Addressing Disparate Protections And Promoting Rights-Consistent Outcomes, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Anna Bulman Mar 2016

Corporate Agricultural Investment And The Right To Food: Addressing Disparate Protections And Promoting Rights-Consistent Outcomes, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Anna Bulman

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Over the past decade, the world has witnessed heightened corporate interest in large-scale land-based agricultural investment. While such investments can potentially have positive effects for local communities, they also can have wide-ranging negative impacts on human rights, including through forced displacement and the loss of livelihoods. This Article examines the impact of large-scale corporate agricultural investment on the right to food, as well as on human rights more generally. It considers the protections offered by the investment and human rights legal regimes to both corporations and individuals, including recent international developments relating to transnational corporate accountability and efforts to integrate …


Land Deal Dilemmas: Grievances, Human Rights, And Investor Protections, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2016

Land Deal Dilemmas: Grievances, Human Rights, And Investor Protections, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Land-based investments can create significant grievances for local individuals or communities, and host governments seeking to address those grievances must navigate a complicated landscape of legal obligations and pragmatic considerations. This report, funded by UK aid from the Department for International Development, focuses on practical solutions for governments confronting grievances that arise from large-scale investments in agricultural or forestry projects.

The report considers such solutions in the context of governments’ legal obligations, particularly those imposed by international investment law, international human rights law, and investor-state contracts. Understanding the implications of this diverse range of legal obligations is particularly important in …


Guide To Land Contracts: Agricultural Projects, International Senior Lawyers Project, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2016

Guide To Land Contracts: Agricultural Projects, International Senior Lawyers Project, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Agricultural investment contracts can be complex, with complicated provisions that are difficult to understand. This Guide provides explanations for a range of common provisions, and includes a Glossary of legal and technical terms. It assists non-lawyers in better understanding agricultural investment contracts, such as those available on the Open Land Contracts repository.

The Guide was prepared by International Senior Lawyers Project staff and volunteers in collaboration with the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment.


Transparency In Land-Based Investment: Key Questions And Next Steps, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Mar 2016

Transparency In Land-Based Investment: Key Questions And Next Steps, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Large-scale investments in agriculture and forestry are often shrouded in secrecy. In many cases, they are negotiated without the involvement of affected communities, approved through opaque decision-making procedures, and governed by legal agreements that are difficult both to access and to understand. This systemic lack of transparency impedes accountability and exacerbates ongoing disagreements about the real costs and benefits for investors, host countries, and their citizens.

Jointly authored by CCSI and the Open Contracting Partnership, this briefing note examines why contract disclosure and a contracting process that is open, accessible, and inclusive are important; what such transparency entails; and how …


Recommending Transparency In Land-Based Investment: A Summary Of Relevant Guidelines And Principles, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Mar 2016

Recommending Transparency In Land-Based Investment: A Summary Of Relevant Guidelines And Principles, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

An emerging consensus on the need for greater transparency in land-based investment is increasingly evident across various forums. This document consolidates recommendations regarding transparency featured in guidelines and principles published by international organizations, government agencies, and multilateral or multi-stakeholder groups. Viewed together, these recommendations offer insight on the evolving narrative on transparency in land-based investment, assist stakeholders in addressing the issue of transparency, and provide an informed starting point for further analysis.


Periodic Review In Natural Resource Contracts, Jacky Mandelbaum, Salli Anne Swartz, John Hauert Mar 2016

Periodic Review In Natural Resource Contracts, Jacky Mandelbaum, Salli Anne Swartz, John Hauert

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Periodic contract review mechanisms, which are provisions in contracts that formally require parties to meet at particular intervals to review the terms of the contract, are mechanisms that may facilitate the process of negotiating contractual changes to accommodate changing circumstances over the term of extractive industries contracts. Through the review of existing extractive industries agreements, this article considers how such review mechanisms have been incorporated into existing contracts and the use of such mechanisms as a tool for maintaining good relationships between the parties. In addition, the article suggests a new approach to the drafting of these mechanisms by negotiating …


Land Deals And The Law: Grievances, Human Rights, And Investor Protections, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2016

Land Deals And The Law: Grievances, Human Rights, And Investor Protections, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Land-based investments can create significant grievances for local individuals or communities, and host governments seeking to address those grievances must navigate a complicated landscape of legal obligations and pragmatic considerations. This briefing note, funded by UK aid from the Department for International Development, focuses on practical solutions for governments confronting grievances that arise from large-scale investments in agricultural or forestry projects. It accompanies a more in depth report on similar issues, entitled "Land Deal Dilemmas: Grievances, Human rights, and Investor Protections."

The briefing note considers such solutions in the context of governments’ legal obligations, particularly those imposed by international investment …