Forum for developing country investment treaty negotiators held in Marrakech

On 2-4 November 2008, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the South Centre, and the Moroccan Department of Investment held the 2nd Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators in Marrakech, Morocco. The First Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators was held in Singapore on 1-2 October 2007, and was attended by over 30 negotiators from 25 developing countries.

The Forum provided representatives of developing country governments with an opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge of investment treaties and investment arbitrations. In addition to investment treaty negotiators, the Forum also included representatives of regional organizations negotiating development-minded international investment agreements, law professors specializing in international investment law, and experts from the South Centre, IISD and the United Nations.

Altogether, the Forum brought together 49 government investment negotiators from more than 35 developing countries with a wide geographic distribution.

The topics discussed included changes in the field of international investment law at the multilateral, regional and bilateral levels; the role of development policy space and home country and investor obligations; and the link between investment agreements and climate change.

Participants stressed, among other things, that: it is critical to strike a balance between the rights of investors and host states in investment treaties; it is important to negotiate investment treaties for the specific needs the country and not to accept other countries’ model treaties without careful negotiation; the lack of precedent in international arbitration means that the only certain way to ensure these issues are addressed is through express provisions in the treaties; and international investment agreements may potentially be used to help to address climate change and clean energy needs but they may also present obstacles in doing so.

The Second Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators background papers are featured below.

Forum materials

Session I: Recent Developments in Investment Negotiations in Bilateral, Regional and Multilateral Treaty Instruments

Session II: Negotiating IIAs – The Importance of Defining Terms and Concepts; State of the art on key terms

Session III: Negotiating IIAs – Advances in Investor-State Arbitration Issues; The Debate on Transparency in Investor-State Arbitration

Session IV: Negotiating IIAs – Defining Investor Obligations and Ensuring Development Policy Space for Host Countries

Session V: Buyer Beware: The Linkages Between International Investment Treaties and Investment Contracts Between Foreign Investors and Host Governments

Session VI: Climate Change, Energy Investments and International Investment Agreements