Public Statement on the International Investment Regime
Academics from 30 universities across 11 countries have lent their signature to a statement pronouncing concern that the international investment regime hampers the ability of governments to act in the public interest. The statement draws particular attention to investor-state arbitration—the common means to settle investment disputes under international investment agreements. In numerous cases tribunals constituted under these treaties “have prioritized the protection of the property and economic interests of transnational corporations over the right to regulate of states and the right to self-determination of peoples,” state the signatories. Rather than international arbitration, the statement offers that domestic law should act as the basis for regulating investor-state relations. States are urged review their investment treaties with an eye to withdrawing or revising them, and international organizations are also called upon to examine the risks posed to governments by investment arbitration, and offer recommendations for alternatives.
The public statement is available at: http://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/public_statement/.
World Investment Report 2010: Investing in a Low-Carbon Economy
The United Nation Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) World Investment Report 2010 remarks that international investment agreements are undergoing a “systemic evolution”, in reaction to the growing number of investor-state arbitrations and divergent interpretations of investment provisions by arbitral tribunals. This includes the process of reviewing model BITs—an exercise that Russia, France, Colombia, Mexico, Austria and Germany have all undertaken in the last decade—to terminating certain treaties altogether, a move taken by Ecuador in 2008. New and renegotiated treaties demonstrate that governments are increasingly drafting BITs with greater precision, according to UNCTAD. For example, negotiators have clarified the scope of the treaties, introduced exceptions and clarified the meaning of specific obligations.
The World Investment Report 2010 is available at: http://www.unctad.org/Templates/WebFlyer.asp?intItemID=5535&lang=1
Rising Global Interest in Farmland: Can It Yield Sustainable and Equitable Benefits? World Bank, 2010
A new report from the World Bank finds a massive upsurge in investor interest in farmland, mainly in Africa. In 2008, the year after rising food prices sparked off a global food crisis, 45 million hectares worth of land deals were announced, 70 percent in Africa. The total area is greater than the arable land available in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy, combined. The World Banks research confirms the scale of the problem with an inventory of land deals in selected countries. Between 2004 and 2009, for example, Sudan, Liberia and Ethiopia transferred 4.0, 1.6 and 1.2 million hectares of farmland to investors, respectively. The trend is particularly worrying, given recent unrest over the cost of bread in Mozambique, and a warning by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation of an “unstable situation” and “critical months ahead.” The report points to a strong focus on African countries with weak land governance. Furthermore, land is often transferred in a way that neglects existing land rights and is socially, economically, and environmentally unsustainable. The IISD and the Global Donor Platform will host an online discussion from 13 September to 8 October to review the findings of the report and make recommendations for next steps. Please visit http://www.ediscussion.donorplatform.org/ for more information.
2 – 3 Third Investment Arbitration Forum, Mexico City, Mexico, http://www.juridicas.unam.mx/
10 The Fifteenth Investment Treaty Forum Public Conference, London, England, http://www.biicl.org/events/view/-/id/546/
16-17 The Swedish Arbitration Days 2010 – Damages and other relief in international arbitration, Stockholm, Sweden, www.swedisharbitration.se
22-23 Investment Treaty Arbitration, London, United Kingdom, c5-online.com/arbitration
22-24 Foreign Direct Investment International Moot Competition, Malibu, California, http://www.fdimoot.org/
26 International Investment Arbitration – The Need of Change of Legal Regulations, Warsaw, Poland, http://www.sadarbitrazowy.org.pl/en/conference26october
27-29 4th Annual Investment Forum for Developing Country Investment Negotiators, New Delhi, India, http://www.iisd.org/investment/
17-20 Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre 25th Anniversary, Hong Kong, http://www.hkiac.org/25th, Hong Kong
8-9 The 15th Geneva Global Arbitration Forum – Ahead of the Curve, Geneva, Switzerland, http://www.ggaf.ch/