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.


Mark Halle sees investment as critical to addressing sustainable development. (Flash Video - 1:47 min)


Mark Halle· Mark Halle
Vice-President, International
Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder· Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder
Program Leader and Senior International Lawyer
Flavia Thomé· Flavia Thomé
Project Manager
Howard Mann· Howard Mann
Associate & Senior International Law Advisor
Aaron Cosbey· Aaron Cosbey
Senior Associate
Oshani Perera· Oshani Perera
Program Leader
Damon Vis-Dunbar· Damon Vis-Dunbar
Project Manager
Elka Parveva-Kern· Elka Parveva-Kern
Contract and Project Administrator
Alec Crawford· Alec Crawford
Tilmann Liebert· Tilmann Liebert
Program Officer
Simon Zadek· Simon Zadek
Senior Fellow and Associate
Vivek Voora· Vivek Voora
Joe Zhang· Joe Zhang
Law Advisor

Investment and Sustainable Development

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

What's New in Investment and Sustainable Development?

  • The Eighth Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators was held in Montreux, Switzerland from 5-7 November 2014. The event was co-hosted by the Government of Liberia, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the South Centre. The annual forum is a platform for senior developing and emerging country government officials to discuss trends and perspectives in the current geo-political landscape of investment-related negotiations. At a time when industrialized countries are increasing pressure to accept long-term investment agreements aimed at broadening their access to developing country markets and natural resources, host states in Africa, Asia and Latin America are beginning to evaluate the potential risks and benefits. The forum offers a space for debate and exchange on the challenges and opportunities arising within regions and individual countries that are reaching for inclusive growth and sustainable development. By analyzing the most recent trends, the forum will assist developing countries in finding solutions, building on lessons learned by peers and strengthening practical South-South cooperation activities in the investment policy area.

    This year's forum builds on the success of the previous events. To learn more please visit the IISD website 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.