The New Generation of Investment Policies for Sustainable Development: A regional training workshop for Southeast Asia
In cooperation with UNCTAD and ITD, IISD launched a regional training workshop for Southeast Asian countries on 27-31 May 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. The workshop was attended by 25 participants; the majority came from ASEAN member states and were chosen based on their professional and academic experience in relation to investment law and policy. Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder (IISD), Watcharas Leelawath (ITD) and Natalia Guerra de Arias (UNCTAD) hosted the opening ceremony and made a welcome address to all participants.
Participants at the Bangkok workshop, May 27-31, 2013
SADC moving forward on model bilateral investment treaty template
Investment policy-makers and investment treaty negotiators from the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) convened in Pretoria, South Africa recently to engage in clause-by-clause, in-depth discussions of the draft SADC Model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) Template and Commentary.
Starting in 2007, IISD has been organising training courses for government officials from developing countries.
One concern raised again and again by developing countries facing the stresses of investment negotiations and arbitrations is the lack of capacity available for this task. This is especially important in Africa, where pressure to negotiate investment agreements continues to increase. Moreover, African countries have been named respondents in a growing number of investor-State disputes arising under international investment agreements. Countries ranging from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Tanzania, from Egypt to the Seychelles have been named respondents in investor-State arbitrations. Two key areas of arbitration have been infrastructure privatisations and natural resources management, both critical areas of development policy.
Increasing the capacity of governments to conduct informed negotiations is critical not only for the states themselves but also for foreign investors. Better trained officials with an understanding of the implications of international investment agreements should lead to improved implementation and enforcement of any guarantees provided to foreign investors in such agreements. In addition, the continued threat of new arbitrations in a range of economic sectors makes understanding the content and process of these agreements critical.
Among the key capacities needed are: