Thursday, 11.01.2018 - Friday, 12.01.2018 - Geneva, Switzerland

Harnessing Investment for Sustainable Development: Inclusion of Investor Obligations and Corporate Accountability Provisions in Trade and Investment Agreements

An increasing number of trade and investment agreements include provisions or chapters relating to sustainable development.

These provisions are typically state-oriented, putting obligations on state parties with respect to labour and environment. Taking a different approach, a number of recent investment treaties have begun to spell out obligations for investors with varying legal consequences attached. Building on the developments so far, there is a need to better articulate the processes to ensure that investors adhere to sustainable development standards in their operations in the host states and respect the obligations. It is equally important to ensure that communities and individuals adversely affected by investors’ corporate behaviour can seek and obtain redress for the harm suffered.

The experts of this meeting discussed concrete options on how these provisions, processes and mechanisms can best be formulated, structured and incorporated in international investment and trade agreements. It was also discussed how these relate to the outcomes of earlier meetings on the creation of a new mechanism on the settlement of investment-related disputes. This expert meeting was jointly organized by the International Institute on Sustainable Development (IISD) and Friedrich- Ebert-Stiftung Geneva Office.

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