The book provides useful knowledge of aspects of IIL and clearly contributes to the field. It seems to map the field in a way that can generate interest in undertaking a more detailed and rigorous examination of some issues raised in the application of rules and principles of IIL in a variety of settings. Invariably some issues have been covered in more depth than others. In addition to the consideration of regional instruments, there are some comparative references between countries such as Nigeria, United Kingdom and the United States. To understand the book’s mission and contributions, it is important to explore the contents of its chapters.
International Investment Agreements
Global value chains (GVCs), as a dominant form of capitalism today, have been a vehicle for entrenching the concentration of economic resources and power in the hands of multinational corporations. While COVID-19 compounded health and economic crisis, reports emerged that suppliers in the garment industry value chains have been facing mounting challenges as a result of unreasonable demands from big clients, mainly corporations in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Tension between investment protection and right to regulate has not been resolved yet and it is even more dangerous when States take measures in order to target health, social and economic effects of the covid-19 pandemic. Facing investor-State dispute resolution reform, an approach from Martha Fineman's vulnerability theory is imperative. Placing human being (vulnerable subject) as the center of the analysis, right to regulate protection should be a pre-stage for building resilience from social institutions. Therefore, States would not be at risk of compromising their budgets in international arbitration or experiencing “regulatory chill
While investment is not per se a current focus of our TVI, this present article discusses vulnerability concerns in an investment context utilising Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States as the point of departure. It concludes by discussing the ways these countries have sought and could seek to build resilience.
The main goal of the international HRWS is to prioritise universal access to safe, affordable, accessible, adequate water and sanitation, including hygiene services. The human rights framework also has procedural requirements to ensure non-discrimination, public participation, transparency and accountability and the extraterritorial obligation to do no harm in the governance of WASH services. Water is understood as having diverse characteristics being simultaneously an economic, social, cultural, political and ecological good. This multiplicity of framings complicates the localization and mainstreaming of the HRWS in relevant institutions at various levels of governance, from the international to the local.
States could rely on secondary rules on State responsibility to defend preventative measures relating to COVID-19, yet their successful invocation depends on satisfying several conditions set out in the ILC’s Draft Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, a discussion of which is beyond the scope of this post. Meanwhile, the applicability of the doctrine of margin of appreciation, developed by the European Court of Human Rights, to the claims arising under BITs has been accepted, justifying why investment tribunals should pay deference to governmental judgments of national requirements in the protection of public health when the “discretionary exercise of sovereign power, [is] not made irrationally and not exercised in bad faith”
Access to justice for victims of business-related human rights violations, including harm caused by transnational resource extraction projects, remains a pressing global concern. A 2018 study by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) notes that such victims “continue to struggle to achieve effective remedies for the harm they have suffered”. This is despite the development and widespread endorsement by states and businesses of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
In short, the SDGs and its interesting set of targets are a fertile ground not only to reimagine past UN led decade themed goals and their implications for (sustainable) development, but, to also situate them in contemporary discourse of the activities of nations, transnational corporations and other non-state actors. As part of the 2019 Purdy Crawford Workshop, the contributions to the symposium on “Sustainable Development Goals, Trade, Investment, and Inequality” critically examine these goals from the vantage point of each contributor’s scholarly expertise.
While international trade has undergone significant structural changes recently, particularly with the proliferation of new generation of free trade agreements (FTAs), the debate on the consequences of IIAs for sustainable development continues to widen and intensify. In effect, while there has been fundamental changes in the international investment landscape in terms of players (now comprising state-owned enterprises and sovereign wealth funds) and FDI direction (with emerging economies now being, not only recipients, but increasingly home states), governments are also now adopting industrial policies and development strategies that contrast with their erstwhile hands-off approach to economic development.