Integrating Sustainable Development Into International Investment Agreements

The world is the world of a dense network of international investment agreements (AI). AI is not well designed to encourage investment, let alone contribute to sustainable development. Existing AIs primarily contain widely formulated investor protection provisions, which may be enforceable by investor-state arbitration. Despite the strong investor protection of AI, however, the effects on investment are not clearly demonstrated. In some cases, investor protection has also been interpreted by investor countries to limit the ability of states to regulate in order to achieve sustainable development. The experience of investor-state arbitration and the changing context in which dieIA is being negotiated has raised awareness of the sharp bite of the IIA and encouraged increasing innovation in contractual models and certain effective contracts, which increase the prospect that they contribute to sustainable development focused on investment. However, many challenges hamper the ability of countries, particularly developing countries, to ensure that the treaties they have signed support their sustainable development, given their particular circumstances. In some cases, this is due to a lack of technical capacity to assess the appropriateness of certain types of provisions, despite the efforts of UNCTAD, the World Bank and NGOs in capacity building. Similarly, power imbalances continue to determine the outcome of negotiations between developed and developing countries. For many developing countries, competition for investment with similar countries could also discourage an aggressive approach to IIA negotiations.

This paper examines some of the persistent systemic challenges that developing countries face in negotiating and meeting investment treaty commitments. “Manjiao Chi has written an excellent work on existing efforts to integrate sustainable development goals into investment agreements. The book defines sustainable development as the goal to be achieved, its integration into investment contracts and the improvements that could be made to make this integration more effective, in order to involve the protection of investments in achieving the sustainable development goals. This work will have a decisive influence on the future development of international investment law. ” – Mr. Sornarajah, CJ Koh Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore Integrating Sustainable Development in International Investment Law presents an important systematic study on the issue of sustainable development in international investment law, using conceptual, normative and governance perspectives, to explore challenges and possible solutions to better reconcile international investment law with sustainable development. Chi proposes to reform the system of international investment agreements to effectively address concerns about transnational investment in sustainable development. This reform should anticipate the overhaul of the provisions of the agreements, the improvement of the structure of international investment agreements, the strengthening of the soft law function, the participation of non-state actors and the strengthening of the dispute settlement mechanism. Keywords: international investment agreements, globalization, investor-state arbitration, global economic regulation Building the legal capacity for a more global globalization: barriers and best practices for the integration of developing countries into the maze of global economic regulation, Joost Pauwelyn and Mengyi Wang, eds (Georgetown Law and The Graduate Institute Geneva, TradeLab e-Book, 2019). The book is aimed primarily at national and international treaties, as well as policy makers, lawyers and scientists.

It is also suitable for PhD students studying international law and politics. “This is a first-rate focus on how to think about sustainable development in the sense of the international investment regime.