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Without investment, sustainable development is impossible. 

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. In particular, we examine how the rules and institutions that govern international investment flows can be improved to help developing countries attract the sort of investment that promotes sustainable development.

  • Blog
    Can Investor-State Dispute Settlement Be Good for the Environment?

    Can Investor-State Dispute Settlement Be Good for the Environment?

    Renewable energy investors have been using investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms to fight cuts to subsidies in Europe, but this short-term gain may hinder states in their broader pursuit of environmental objectives like addressing climate change and pollution.

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  • Commentary
    Reply to the European Commission’s Public consultation on a multilateral reform of investment dispute resolution

    Reply to the European Commission’s Public consultation on a multilateral reform of investment dispute resolution

    On December 21, 2016 the European Commission launched a public consultation to gather views on options for a multilateral reform of investment dispute resolution. This commentary outlines IISD's reaction.

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  • Newsletter
    Investment Treaty News Quarterly (ITN), Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2017

    Investment Treaty News Quarterly (ITN), Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2017

    Investment Treaty News is IISD’s flagship quarterly journal on international investment law and policy.

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  • Commentary
    Project Preparation Facility: Enabling local governments to access to private finance

    Project Preparation Facility: Enabling local governments to access to private finance

    This discussion paper explains IISD's recommendation for setting up a Project Preparation Facility (PPF) in Canada to enable smaller local governments to prepare bankable infrastructure project proposals.

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  • Best Practices
    IISD Best Practices Series: The Most-Favoured-Nation Clause in Investment Treaties

    IISD Best Practices Series: The Most-Favoured-Nation Clause in Investment Treaties

    This IISD Best Practices paper studies the most-favoured-nation (MFN) clause in investment treaties and its interpretation by arbitral tribunals, drawing lessons for states.

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  • Best Practices
    IISD Best Practices Series: Exhaustion of Local Remedies in International Investment Law

    IISD Best Practices Series: Exhaustion of Local Remedies in International Investment Law

    Part of IISD’s Best Practices Series, this advisory bulletin reviews state-of-the-art options and approaches to the exhaustion of local remedies requirement in international investment law.

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  • Briefing Note
    Private Investments and Agriculture: The importance of integrating sustainability into planning and implementation

    Private Investments and Agriculture: The importance of integrating sustainability into planning and implementation

    Recently, we have seen an increase in large-scale investment into agriculture. An important policy question is to what extent these large-scale agricultural investment contribute to improving local livelihoods, as well as economic and environmental conditions.

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  • Newsletter
    Investment Treaty News Quarterly (ITN), Volume 7, Issue 4, December 2016

    Investment Treaty News Quarterly (ITN), Volume 7, Issue 4, December 2016

    Investment Treaty News is IISD’s flagship quarterly journal on international investment law and policy.

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  • Report
    Mining a Mirage? Reassessing the shared-value paradigm in light of the technological advances in the mining sector

    Mining a Mirage? Reassessing the shared-value paradigm in light of the technological advances in the mining sector

    This report uses real-world mining data to estimate the impacts of new technologies on employment and employment-related procurement, which drive major benefits in host countries.

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  • Report
    Investment-Related Dispute Settlement: Towards an inclusive multilateral approach

    Investment-Related Dispute Settlement: Towards an inclusive multilateral approach

    This document outlines results from an IISD expert meeting discussing investment-related dispute settledment which was held in Montreux, Switzerland, May 23–24, 2016

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