Webinar: Investment Treaties and Human Rights Law: Interactions and Recent Developments

This webinar was part of IISD's Webinars on Investment Law and Policy series and focused specifically on the United Nations process to negotiate a treaty on business and human rights. 

November 20, 2019 7:00 pm

This webinar was part of IISD's Webinars on Investment Law and Policy series and focused specifically on the United Nations process to negotiate a treaty on business and human rights.

The event was held on November 21, 2019, at 3 PM CET/ 9 AM EST, on the Zoom platform and featured IISD Senior Law Advisor Joe Zhang as moderator, as well as Third World Network's Kinda Mohamadieh and Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment's Jesse Coleman and Brooke Guven as speakers.

Over the years, investment arbitral tribunals have expanded the scope of application of investment agreements and interpreted the obligations of states widely. In large part, they have done this in isolation from other international law. This has contributed to an increased fragmentation of the international legal framework governing transnational investment activities. In this webinar, we looked at the interlinkages between international investment law and international human rights law, and explored the synergies between the two areas and what this could mean for a harmonized international legal and governance framework that supports sustainable development.

The presenters addressed the state of play in the negotiations for the proposed business and human rights treaty, as well as its backstory, and considered human rights elements in the current international investment law regime as well as human rights processes that affect the same regime. The presentations were followed by a Q&A.

The event video is available below, followed by detailed speaker biographies further down the page.


Speaker biographies


Jesse Coleman joined the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment in 2015. At CCSI, she is a legal researcher focusing on the nexus of international investment and human rights law, sustainable investments in land and agriculture, and investment law and policy. Jesse holds a Master of Law from the University of Cambridge, where she specialized in public international law. She received her Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Trinity College Dublin.

Brooke Guven is a legal researcher at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment. Her work focuses on analyzing the contracts, domestic frameworks, and international legal arrangements governing cross-border investments and the impacts that these frameworks have on sustainable development objectives. 

Kinda Mohamadieh is a legal advisor and senior researcher with the Third World Network office in Geneva. She follows WTO processes and negotiations, focusing on services, investment facilitation, and special and differential treatment. She also works on issues pertaining to international investment governance and the role and the accountability of business enterprises with respect to human rights. Previously, she served as senior researcher for seven years with the South Centre, an inter-governmental organization also based in Geneva. Her prior roles also include working for nine years with the Arab NGO Network for Development, based in Beirut. Kinda holds an LL.M. in International Economic Law from the University of Lausanne, a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from UCLA, and an undergraduate degree in economics. She is currently a PhD candidate in the international law department of the Graduate Institute in Geneva.


Event details