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Tuesday, November 27 • 8:30am - 9:45am
Crowd-drafting: Designing a human rights-compatible international investment agreement

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Session led by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Brief description
International investment and trade agreements (IIAs) can foster economic development. At the same time, IIAs could impact adversely the realisation of human rights in diverse ways: e.g., constraining the legal or policy space available to states to regulate the conduct of investors, divorcing rights of investors from their human rights responsibilities, and limiting affected communities’ right to seek effective remedies against investors for project-related human rights abuses.
Principle 9 of the UNGPs therefore reminds States to “maintain adequate domestic policy space to meet their human rights obligations when pursuing business-related policy objectives with other States or business enterprises, for instance through investment treaties or contracts.” But how could states maintain such domestic policy space? What provisions should be explicitly included in IIAs to make them compatible with international human rights law? How could such changes in IIAs contribute to developing an international investment governance framework conducive to achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs)?

Session objectives
This session aims to:
  • Invite experts dealing with the intersection of investment law and human rights law to develop concrete proposals to inform the current IIAs regime’s reform;
  • Provide a platform to brainstorm collectively and critically the potential as well as limitations of developing human rights-compatible IIAs; and
  • Inform the UN Working Group’s work concerning guidance to states in implementing Principle 9 of the UNGPs.

Key considerations
While developing reform proposals, the following considerations should be kept in mind:
  • One may work individually or in a team to develop a reform proposal;
  • In terms of length, each proposal should not be more than 2-3 pages;
  • Person(s) submitting a proposal are free to focus on any one or more relevant aspects of IIAs (e.g., rights of states, obligations of investors, exceptions to expropriation, impact assessment, dispute settlement);
  • If the proposal is inspired by an existing model IIA or reform proposals mooted by an organisation/academic, this should be expressly acknowledged;
  • In developing proposals, person(s) submitting proposals are strongly encouraged to consult and/or consider the views of communities affected by investment projects and
  • Email the proposal to forumbhr@ohchr.org latest by 5 November 2018.

Format of the session
The UN Working Group will issue an open call to invite reform proposals for this session. All received proposals will be posted on the project webpage. However, due to time constraints, the proposers of only 3-4 proposals selected by the Working Group will be invited to introduce their ideas. This will be followed by brief comments by expert panellists on the viability of presented proposals and then an open discussion in view of comments or questions from the floor.

Background information
Outcome Document on the Roundtable on “Impacts of the Investment Regime on Access to Justice
Investment Policy Blog: Managing States’ “Fatal Attraction” to International Investment Agreements
UNCTAD’s Reform Package for the International Investment Regime


Moderator/ Introductory Remark...
avatar for Surya Deva

Surya Deva

Chairperson, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
Mr. Surya Deva is an Associate Professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong. He holds BA (Hons), LLB and LLM from the University of Delhi and a PhD from Sydney Law School, and has taught previously at the University of Delhi and at the National Law Institute University... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Alessandra Arcuri

Alessandra Arcuri

Professor, Erasmus School of Law
Alessandra Arcuri is Professor of Inclusive Global Law and Governance at the Department of International and European Union Law, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research focuses on international economic law and the relationship with human rights and environmental... Read More →
avatar for Tara Van Ho

Tara Van Ho

Lecturer, University of Essex
I am lecturer in law and human rights at one of the largest human rights centres in the world, and a Core Member of the Essex Business and Human Rights Project. I work with states, IGOs, NGOs, and companies to secure better laws and legal compliance in the area of business and human... Read More →
avatar for Markus Krajewski

Markus Krajewski

Professor, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg
Markus Krajewski is is University Professor at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and holds the Chair in Public Law and Public International Law. He is one of the programme directors of the MA in Human Rights and chairperson of the Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Human Rights... Read More →
avatar for Elisabeth Tuerk

Elisabeth Tuerk

Chief International Investment Agreements Section. Division on Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD
Ms Elisabeth Tuerk is Chief of the Section on International Investment Agreements (IIAs) in UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise (DIAE). She leads the Section's work across the three pillars of UNCTAD activities: research and analysis, capacity-building and consensus-building. The... Read More →
avatar for Joe Zhang

Joe Zhang

Law Advisor, International Institute for Sustainable Development
Joe Zhang works as a Law Advisor at IISD’s Geneva Office. His work focuses on international investment law and policy. Since joining IISD, Joe has been advising developing country governments on international investment law issues, investment treaty negotiations, investment contract... Read More →



Tuesday November 27, 2018 8:30am - 9:45am
Room XVII