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Development of South-South Principles on International Investment for Sustainable Development

July 17, 2016 8:00 pm

Nairobi, Kenya

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and KenInvest are hosting a high-level roundtable discussion on the Development of South-South Principles on International Investment for Sustainable Development in conjuction with UNCTAD's World Investment Forum in Nairobi on July 18, 2016.

The shape of the world economy has changed significantly over the past three decades. Developing countries’ share of global output has increased, and several developing countries and regions have assumed a greater role as drivers of global economic growth. The time is therefore ripe for developing countries to rethink strategies on how to attract quality investment to promote sustainable development—and to align international negotiating positions with domestic laws and policy objectives.

This invitation-only event aims to seek support and guidance from states to begin developing a set of principles to enhance South–South cooperation for comprehensive reform of the investment regime. It will provide a platform to discuss the need, possibility and modality of developing principles to enhance South–South cooperation.

These challenges and uncertainties were discussed at the 9th Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil November 16–18, 2015. Treaty negotiators from about 50 developing countries expressed their desire to build on UNCTAD’s Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development to develop a set of principles that are essential for South–South cooperation and reforming the investment regime more generally.

Principles discussed so far include:

  • acknowledging and reinforcing the linkage between investment and sustainable development;
  • integrating foreign investment into national development strategies;
  • placing investment treaties in a wider context on human rights and sustainable development;
  • acknowledging the importance of a strong domestic legal framework to protect domestic and foreign investment;
  • ensuring a balance of rights and obligations between investors and governments to regulate in the public interest;
  • recognizing the shortcomings of the current dispute settlement system on investment and;
  • finding alternative treaty constructions that put greater emphasis on defining responsible business practices and investment promotion and facilitation.

More recently, on May 4–5, 2016, diplomats from G77 member States gathered in Pattaya, Thailand at a G77 Meeting on Investment for Sustainable Development where the importance of South–South cooperation and principle-development was also discussed and recognized by all participants.

Event details