Resources and Events


The Political Economy of the Investment Treaty Regime

By Jonathan Bonnitcha, Lauge N. Skovgaard Poulsen & Michael Waibel, Published by Oxford University Press, July 2017

This book synthesises and advances the growing literature on international investment law and policy by integrating legal, economic, and political perspectives. Based on an analysis of the substantive and procedural rights conferred by investment treaties, it asks four basic questions. What are the costs and benefits of investment treaties for investors, states, and other stakeholders? Why did developed and developing countries sign the treaties? Why should private arbitrators be allowed to review public regulations passed by states? What is the relationship between the investment treaty regime and the broader regime complex that governs international investment? Available at

The Independence and Impartiality of ICSID Arbitrators: Current case law, alternative approaches, and improvement suggestions

By Maria Nicole Cleis, Published by Brill | Nijhoff, June 2017

The legitimacy of investor–state arbitration is a much-debated topic, with arbitrators’ independence and impartiality being one of the core concerns. The author explores how unbiased decision-making is ensured under the ICSID Convention. Juxtaposing existing disqualification decisions in the ICSID system against corresponding requirements in related dispute settlement systems, the book argues that the current approach to disqualification requests against ICSID arbitrators is too exacting considering the high stakes of investor–state disputes. The author’s analysis of the status quo is followed by novel suggestions for reforms (including a proposal for ICSID-specific guidelines on conflict of interest). Available at

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

2017 World Investment Report: Investment and the digital economy

By United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Published by UNCTAD, June 2017

The World Investment Report (WIR) focuses on trends in foreign direct investment (FDI) and emerging measures to improve its contribution to development. In Chapter III, “Recent Policy Developments and Key Issues,” of the 2017 WIR, UNCTAD presents and analyses the pros and cons of 10 policy options for phase 2 of IIA reform (modernizing the existing stock of old-generation treaties): jointly interpreting treaty provisions; amending treaty provisions; replacing “outdated” treaties; consolidating the IIA network; managing relationships between coexisting treaties; referencing global standards; engaging multilaterally; abandoning unratified old treaties; terminating existing old treaties; and withdrawing from multilateral treaties. Available at

Equality in Agriculture: Investment in Agriculture Policy Brief #5

By Kathleen Sexsmith, Carin Smaller & William Speller, Published by IISD, May 2017

Two broad agendas have emerged in response to global calls for greater gender equality, more sustainable trade and more responsible investment in the agriculture. The first, largely targeted at the private sector, are represented by the array of voluntary sustainability standards (VSS), such as fair trade labels. The second, largely targeted at governments, are the multitude of guidelines on responsible investment in agriculture. This policy brief explores how global standards and guidelines contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and whether more can be done through these instruments to improve the situation of women in agriculture. Available at

Events 2017

September 26–28

WTO PUBLIC FORUM 2017, “Trade: Behind the Headlines,” Geneva, Switzerland,

October 5–6

COLLOQUIUM, “International Investment Law & the Law of Armed Conflict,” Athens Public International Law Center (AthensPIL) of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Faculty of Law, Athens, Greece,

October 9–11

UNCTAD ANNUAL HIGH-LEVEL IIA CONFERENCE, “Phase 2 of IIA Reform,” Geneva, Switzerland,

October 10–13

WORLD BANK CIVIL SOCIETY PUBLIC FORUM, World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Meetings, Washington D.C., United States,

October 16–20

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2017, “Managing Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining,” Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF), Geneva, Switzerland,

October 19

UNIGE–IISD LUNCH SERIES ON INVESTMENT DISPUTES, University of Geneva (UNIGE) & International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Geneva, Switzerland,

October 23–27


October 24–25

REGIONAL CONFERENCE “International Investment Policies: The way forward,” UNCTAD, Republic of Azerbaijan, International Energy Charter, Transnational Economic Law Research Center (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg), Baku, Azerbaijan,

November 2

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE “Global Currents in International Investment Law,” Centre for International Law (National University of Singapore), Singapore,

November 16–17

WORKSHOP “International Investment Treaties and National Governance,” Centre for International Law (National University of Singapore), Singapore,

November 27–December 1

34th SESSION OF UNCITRAL WORKING GROUP III, “Investor–State Dispute Settlement Reform,” United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, Vienna, Austria,

November 27–29

2017 UN FORUM ON BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS, “Realizing Access to Effective Remedy,” Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Geneva, Switzerland,

November 30