Community Perspectives in Investor–State Arbitration

By Lorenzo Cotula & Mika Schröeder, Published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), June 2017

Although investment arbitration proceedings pit an investor against a state, the underlying dispute often also involves communities affected by, but not party to, the arbitration. Issues that have surfaced in such cases include concerns about communities’ enjoyment of human rights, their access to land and natural resources, exposure to environmental harm and public authorities’ responsiveness to community demands. This report examines whether and how investment tribunals consider community perspectives, interests and rights. It identifies 20 arbitrations where some form of community action was part of the facts of the case and was reflected—albeit partially and cursorily—in publicly available case documents. The analysis highlights the need to rethink arrangements for settling investment-related disputes. Available at