Investor State Dispute Settlement

Research-to-Policy Transitions in International Economic Law

Conventional approaches view researchers as detached observers who can objectively analyse and explain the world, and policymakers as mobilising evidence to inform decisions. This paradigm can translate into institutionalised arrangements for linking research to policy. The UNCITRAL Working Group and the Academic Forum on ISDS provide one example, whereby scholars supply legal and empirical analysis for the Working Group’s deliberations.

ISDS Reform and the Problems of Imagining Our Future

At the heart of African decolonization was radical political thinking about international non-domination, and the vision of an international legal, political and economic order that secured this anti-imperialism through global redistribution. This idea of the world, that involved radical reinterpretation of the principle of self-determination, united the political thinking of the tallest leaders of Africa – Azikiwe, Nkrumah, Nyerere, and others.

Sovereign Rights to Natural Resources as a Basis for Denouncing International Adjudication of Investment Disputes: A Reflection on the Tanzanian Approach

As an essential outcome of strengthening the state control over natural wealth and resources, Tanzania has brought natural resource contracts into the purview of its domestic legal system. In doing so, some countries have exercised their sovereign rights to natural resources as the basis for denouncing international adjudication of investment claims based on such contracts. Indeed, biases perceived by Tanzania concerning international arbitration fora have played a great role in bringing natural recourse contracts into the purview of Tanzanian legal system. The goal of the reforms is to mitigate such partialities through using domestic dispute resolution mechanisms.

Colombia before the ISDS and the disputes over natural resources in a “global coloniality” context

I argue that it is time to explore the possibilities of a substantial reform, which should include: the renegotiation of the current 3,200 IIA; to stop signing treaties with arbitral clauses and extremely favourable conditions for investors; the promotion of an effective sovereignty States over the space that they should regulate; and the approval of binding obligations for companies. The failure to address substantive issues in ISDS, and to only focus on procedural aspects of reform, will lead to the consolidation and re-legitimatisation of this system, under the guise of “modernizing” it.

The Legal Guide on Agricultural Land Investment Contracts: Moving foreign investment governance in the right direction

The UNIDROIT-FAO-IFAD Legal Guide on Agricultural Land Investment Contracts (The Guide) is a tool to promote responsible agricultural foreign investment. Many international organisations insist that more private investment is needed to meet the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Agricultural foreign investment, particularly, is central to a world with no poverty (SDG 1) and no hunger (SDG 2) (The Guide 2019, 10, 13), but the link between foreign investment and these goals should not be taken for granted. Foreign investment can probably promote these and other SDGs; however, it also creates costs and risks.