Investment Law & Policy
Sustainable development is an investment issue. Capital is needed to alleviate poverty, create jobs, accelerate the clean energy transition, and allow for the development of much-needed infrastructure to provide goods and services for all.
IISD works with governments and civil society to develop and improve legal and policy tools focusing on the critical linkage between investment and sustainable development. We look for and provide new approaches to ensure that investment law and policy advance environmentally sound investment that generates broad socioeconomic benefits.
In particular, IISD experts examine how the rules and institutions that govern international investment flows can be improved to benefit developing countries. This includes our work on reforming how disputes are settled under investment treaties—a process known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)—where we collaborate with national governments, regional and international organizations, academics and civil society to reshape investment law and policy frameworks collaboratively and innovatively. This work is not limited to ISDS, but also covers investor obligations and improved access to justice for those individuals and communities adversely affected by foreign investment projects.
We also actively participate in the multilateral intergovernmental process at the United Nations Conference on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) to discuss possible ISDS reform, as well as in the UN talks on a binding treaty on business and human rights.
As an integral component of our investment work, we are the host and convener of the Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators, an event that brings together officials from across world regions to discuss the latest trends in these areas, exchange experiences, and assess possible next steps. IISD also publishes objective, independent, high-quality research and resources relating to investment law and policy, and provides advisory services for countries to support their work on developing new legal tools and frameworks for investment.
Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators
The world’s only global assembly on investment negotiation exclusively for government officials from developing and emerging economies.
Investment Treaty News
Investment Treaty News is a quarterly journal offering news and analysis on the implications of investment law and policy for sustainable development.
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.
What we offer
Investment Capacity Building and Advisory Services
The highly qualified international lawyers of IISD’s Investment Program offer advisory services on international investment treaties and contracts, with respect to investment negotiations, implementation and disputes.
Investment Policy Best Practices Advisory Bulletins
Drawing on public treaty texts and different model investment agreements produced by governments, IISD’s Best Practices Series analyzes the evolving scope and nature of investment treaty negotiations.
Investment Law and Policy Reform: A series of expert meetings
Through a series of interactive expert meetings, IISD has fostered innovative thinking and developed elements of a progressive agenda on investment.
IISD-UNIGE Speaker Series on Investment Disputes
This lunch series aims to examine the relationship between international investment law cases and sustainable development goals and policies.
Training Courses for Developing Countries on International Investment Treaties
The increased complexity and importance of the international investment framework has not, to date, been met with the requisite increased capacity of developing countries to negotiate, renegotiate and assess the agreements or to fully appreciate their implications.
Executive Director, IISD Europe; Senior Director, Economic Law & Policy
Outreach Manager and Law Advisor, IGF
Suzy H. Nikièma
Lead, Sustainable Investment
Investor Perspectives on Accelerating Growth in the Indian EV Ecosystem
This report takes stock of India’s current EVs ecosystem and where the sector may be heading in the future, with a focus on drivers of and barriers to investment.
Modest Modernization or Massive Setback?
What could the modernization of the Energy Charter Treaty mean for the global climate agenda and the energy transition? This new paper analyzes the agreement in principle announced in June.
Deal for Modernized Energy Charter Treaty Insufficient for Ambitious Climate Action
The new "agreement in principle" for a modernized Energy Charter Treaty falls short of pledges to make the trade and investment deal better suited to achieving international climate goals, IISD experts say.
Oil Companies Are Suing to Block Climate Action – With 72% Success
Fossil fuel investors are adopting a bold new legal tactic in response to efforts to limit global warming: they are going to private international tribunals to argue that climate change policies are illegally cutting into their profits and they must therefore be compensated. Now governments are scrambling to figure out how to not get sued for billions when enacting climate policies.
Approaches of International Courts and Tribunals to the Award of Compensation in International Private Property Cases and Implications for the Reform of Investor-State Arbitration
This report compares approaches used to award compensation in international courts and tribunals to inform reform processes that address the negative impacts of investment treaties.
This new alliance is helping grow collaboration on international investment
When investing is sustainable from an economic, social, environmental and governance perspective, it can provide not only capital but also drive job creation, alleviate poverty, encourage technology transfer, and upgrade industries. It can increase peace and stability and advance climate and environmental goals, addressing some of the greatest challenges the world faces today.
Governments' Climate Laws Could Spur $340B In ISDS Claims
As governments consider how and when to enact legislation or mitigation measures meant to address climate change, a study shows there is a pricey cause for concern as fossil fuel companies could bring legal claims worth billions of dollars against them in order to protect their assets.
The fossil fuel industry has a trillion-dollar secret weapon to kneecap climate action
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden revoked the permit for the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have brought exceptionally dirty oil south from Canada across the Plains. The project’s owner, Calgary-based TC Energy, saw billions in future profits go up in smoke. So it turned to an arcane but potentially explosive tool to try to recoup the loss, filing a claim under the now-defunct North American Free Trade Agreement. The company is seeking $15 billion.
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