Key Message

Without investment, sustainable development is impossible. Well planned, high quality foreign investment in developed and developing countries can help make current economic practices more sustainable. Inappropriate investment, however, can undermine communities and the environment, as well as domestic development strategies. IISD examines how the rules and institutions that govern international investment flows can be improved so as to help developing countries, in particular, attract the sort of investment that promotes sustainable development.

Investment and Sustainable Development

A global agenda for change in international investment law, policy and institutions

What's New in Investment and Sustainable Development?

  • Brazil has developed a new model investment agreement, the Cooperation and Investment Facilitation Agreement (CIFA). Unlike traditional bilateral investment treaties (BITs), which are geared towards investor protection, CIFAs focus less on investor protection and more on institutional arrangements and agendas for investment facilitation and cooperation. They promote amicable ways to settle disputes and propose state-state dispute settlement as a last resort. Notably, CIFAs do not include provisions on investor-state arbitration.

    CIFA negotiations were launched in 2013. Between March and May 2015, Brazil concluded the first three agreements, with Mozambique, Angola and Mexico. Negotiations with Malawi are reported to have been concluded, and Brazil is also negotiating with Algeria, Chile, Colombia, Morocco, Peru, South Africa and Tunisia.

    IISD has prepared unofficial English translations of the two first CIFAs, to draw attention to the new model that Brazil has been promoting in recent years. Download the English translations of the Brazil-Mozambique and Brazil-Angola CIFAs here.

  • On 15-19 September 2014, IISD and the Mining Directorate of the Ministry of Energy and Mines of the Dominican Republic offered the training course "Building Capacity to Implement the Mining Policy Framework in the Dominican Republic" in Santo Domingo. The first three days of the course were dedicated to Social and Economic Benefit Optimization, and the final two days to Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining. Participants included government officials, miners, and representatives of mining communities, cooperatives and companies. For more information, please see the Report (in Spanish).
  • IISD applauds the UNCITRAL Secretariat’s establishment of a Transparency Registry that will function as a repository for the publication of information and documents in treaty-based investor-State arbitration. This important step follows the entry into force of the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (the “Transparency Rules”) on April 1, 2014. The Transparency Registry will contain information on the commencement of an arbitration, and make available a wide range of documents, including transcripts of hearings; orders, decisions and awards of the arbitral tribunal; and submissions to the tribunal. The UNCITRAL Transparency Rules are an integral part of the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules and will apply on a default basis to UNCITRAL investor-State arbitrations conducted under investment treaties concluded after April 1, 2014.

  • World Bank Land and Poverty Conference, 24-28 March, 2014
    IISD participated at the annual World Bank conference on land and poverty issues. We participated in the panel, The African land policy initiative: Advances made and next steps, on 25 March. IISD was also a guest speaker at the Swiss reception, providing insights into how IISD's investment programme is supporting efforts by governments and parliamentarians to improve investment in land, water and other natural resources.

IISD has been breaking new ground on investment and sustainable development issues since 1998.

Investment is critical for sustainable development, which requires fundamental changes in how we produce, distribute and dispose of goods. Today this kind of change must come mainly through investment in new technologies and new processes that can replace unsustainable practices. In developing countries, where domestic sources of capital are scarce, foreign direct investment plays a significant role.

But not all investment leads to sustainable development, and not all of the global rules and institutions relating to international investment have been conceived through a sustainable development lens. IISD's work on investment and sustainable development focuses on this critical linkage, and provides new approaches to ensure that investment law and policy will make a positive contribution to sustainable development.