Democratising international investment law
There are growing calls to reform international investment law, but how can we ensure that the people affected by these decisions are part of the debate?
Principal researcher and head of law, economies and justice programme, Natural Resources research group
International law governing foreign investment is at a crossroads. The proliferation of investment treaties and arbitrations has made international investment law one of the most dynamic branches of international law, and an important part of the legal architecture underpinning economic globalisation.
But international investment law is also a contested field: some experts and campaigners have questioned substantive standards and dispute settlement mechanisms, and some commentators have talked of a 'legitimacy crisis' or 'backlash' against the investment regime.
This is then a particularly important point in time for shaping the future of international investment law. But while debates about investment treaties are often framed in technical and legal terms, and are dominated by legal professionals, the choices on whether to conclude investment treaties, and in what form, are eminently political.
These political dimensions raise questions about who decides, and how public decisions are made.
What did IIED do?
We generated evidence on approaches to promote public participation in the making of international investment law; published informational materials on investment treaties and dispute settlement; and facilitated lesson sharing though civil society webinars and blogs.
Together with Warwick Law School and its GLOBE Centre, we co-organised an international workshop for researchers and practitioners to share insights and discuss possible ways forward.
Democratising international investment law: recent trends and lessons from experience
Publication, 01 June 2015
Bringing community perspectives to investor-state arbitration: the Pac Rim case
Publication, 01 June 2015
Public participation and investment treaties: towards a new settlement?, Lorenzo Cotula (2021), Public Participation and Foreign Investment Law journal
Democratising international investment law: the case and channels for citizen engagement, Lorenzo Cotula (2016), Chapter in Rethinking Bilateral Investment Treaties: Critical Issues and Policy Choices, SOMO
Foreign investment, law and sustainable development: a handbook on agriculture and extractive industries, Lorenzo Cotula (2013, second edition 2016), IIED report, Natural Resource Issues series
Blog: Why parliament should scrutinise the UK-Ethiopia BIT, Lorenzo Cotula, January 2015
Do investment treaties unduly constrain regulatory space?, Lorenzo Cotula (2014), Article in Questions of International Law, QIL 9, 19-31
Introductory learning materials on investment treaties and dispute settlement:
- Investment treaties and sustainable development: an overview, Lorenzo Cotula (2014), IIED Briefing paper | ဗမာထဲတွင် | en français
- Investment treaties and sustainable development: Investment liberalisation, Lorenzo Cotula (2014), IIED Briefing paper | ဗမာထဲတွင် | en français
- Investment treaties and sustainable development: Investment protection, Lorenzo Cotula (2014), IIED Briefing paper | ဗမာထဲတွင် | en français
- Investment treaties and sustainable development: Investor-state arbitration, Lorenzo Cotula (2014), IIED Briefing paper | ဗမာထဲတွင် | en français
Do investment treaties unduly constrain regulatory space?, Lorenzo Cotula (2014), Questions of International Law journal
Blog: Europe’s controversial TTIP: The good, the bad and the unnecessary, Lorenzo Cotula, July 2014