The Energy Charter Treaty
The ECT was designed with the objective of enabling multilateral cooperation in the energy sector. However, in the decades since its signature, it has proven to be the most used treaty in investor-state arbitration, has led to record-breaking damages awards, and is a hindrance to ambitious climate action.
Research and analysis
IISD has undertaken in-depth research and analysis on the ECT’s design, implementation, and implications for sustainable development objectives—especially as they relate to climate action and the energy transition.
- Our flagship journal, Investment Treaty News, has covered investor-state arbitrations involving the ECT in detail and also provided reporting and commentary on the Treaty’s latest developments.
- IISD led the drafting of the Treaty on Sustainable Investment for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, which was one of the winners of the Stockholm Treaty Lab's 2018 prize. This treaty sets out a legal framework aimed at fostering climate-friendly, resilient investments while disincentivizing unsustainable investments, along with enabling a just transition.
- Our webinars have explained how governments could withdraw from the ECT or terminate it outright, along with the risks of the ECT’s expansion to other countries, including those in Africa and Asia.
IISD—together with its partners—has urged the European Commission to reconsider its approach to ECT modernization, so that the treaty undergoes the necessary reforms for achieving the bloc’s climate action objectives and those of the UN’s Paris Agreement on climate change.
- IISD actively engages with policy-makers, civil society actors, and the wider public on legal and policy options - including the possibility of withdrawal and termination.
- IISD and ClientEarth have held virtual discussions with EU member state officials to examine the key issues at play in the modernization negotiations.
ECT Watch: New Dispute Reignites Debate Over Treaty Protection for Fossil Fuel Investments
As we see yet another reminder of one of the Energy Charter Treaty's core drafting flaws, our expert takes stock of current efforts to modernize it.
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Investment Treaty News
Investment Treaty News (ITN) has offered news, analysis and opinions on international investment law and its implications for sustainable development. The service began as a list-serve where information and views were shared among members, before becoming an electronic newsletter produced by a small editorial team.
Webinars on Investment Law and Policy
This webinar series provides information on developments in international investment law and policy. It will equip developing country governments and regional organizations to negotiate better treaties and contracts—and prepare for and manage investment disputes.
Vattenfall v. Germany
The Swedish energy company Vattenfall brought an international arbitration claim against Germany in relation to that country's recent decision to phase out nuclear power. On May 31, 2012, this second Vattenfall case against Germany was registered at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Webinar: The Energy Charter Treaty: To "modernize" or to exit?
This webinar, part of IISD's series of Webinars on Investment Law and Policy, focused on the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). The event was held on January 22, 2020, at 3:30 PM CET/9:30 AM EST.