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IISD | Economic Law and Policy Program
How IISD's Economic Law and Policy Program is advancing sustainable and equitable development

MARCH 2019

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Dear colleagues,

2019 is promising to be a landmark year in the field of investment law and policy, with international, bilateral, and regional processes having the potential to reshape international investment negotiations as we currently know them. On the multilateral front, deliberations are set to resume this April for the “Working Group III” process under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), which is tasked with examining the reform of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) as a result of government dissatisfaction with the current system, due to its chilling effect on government regulation, lack of transparency and impartiality, and high costs. 

Ensuring that developing country investment negotiators have a platform to exchange experiences, examine the latest international reform efforts, prepare for negotiations, and take stock of their needs and priorities is the driving force behind our Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators. Our 12th Forum took place last week in Cartagena, Colombia and brought together high-level officials and negotiators from over 50 developing and emerging economies, as well as officials from regional organizations.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 and its call for building a more gender-balanced world, I would like to address all those strong women who serve as investment negotiators, especially in developing and emerging economies. These women have been instrumental in negotiating better investment deals for their countries, working relentlessly to ensure that these deals integrate economic, social, and environmental prerogatives. Do not waver, stay strong, and keep fighting for your people!
  
Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder
Group Director, Economic Law and Policy Program
PUBLICATIONS
Governments are looking for ways to integrate sustainable development considerations into mining activities, which is why our work has never been more vital. Learn about our mining team's work with governments and communities in our 2018 Annual Report.
Women are central to agriculture but are rarely represented in contracts used in contract farming. This policy brief gives concrete examples of how agricultural contracts can provide key protections for female farmers.
The use of natural infrastructure to address climate change risks has grown recently, but do these projects meet pressing environmental and economic needs? 
At the suggestion of participants at the 11th Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators held in Nairobi, Kenya, IISD produced a survey of developing country government officials on investment negotiations.
ON THE GROUND IMPACT

SUSTAINABILITY IN RWANDA'S COFFEE SECTOR AND KENYA'S TEA SECTOR


As part of our ongoing work in Rwanda, our Standards team organized a workshop in Kigali on February 28, collaborating with the Rwandan coffee sector to advance sustainability through data sharing to address certification challenges. As part of the same training series, the team will be in Nairobi on March 6 to work with the Kenyan Tea Directorate and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA).

PROVIDING POLICY OPTIONS FOR MONITORING MINERAL VALUATION


Our taxation specialists were in Mongolia the week of February 25, shedding light on policy options for monitoring mineral valuation.

IGF-PDAC-WEF SUSTAINABILITY FORUM


Our IGF team co-hosted its annual Sustainability Forum on March 2 on the sidelines of the 2019 PDAC Convention, together with the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), where we discussed responsible supply chains for minerals and metals.

EU TAXONOMY FOR SUSTAINABLE FINANCE


We take stock of the EU’s legislative proposal for a taxonomy on sustainable finance and have made a submission as part of the European Commission’s public consultation.
COMMENTARY

REDUCING IIA RISKS TO CLIMATE CHANGE RULES USING PERMITS


A recent acquisition in Maryland sets a fascinating precedent for how permits and contracts can ensure that climate change regulations are not put at risk by international investment agreements (IIAs).

VOLUNTARY SUSTAINABILITY STANDARDS FOR BIODIVERSITY


The United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards explores the impact of voluntary standards on biodiversity, with the help of our findings.

AS MEMBERS DEBATE WTO REFORM, WHAT LIES AHEAD FOR 2019? 


With the international trade community returning to action in the new year, what are the key issues at stake in the WTO reform discussions?

WOMEN STRIKE IT BIG IN
EAST AFRICA


Female miners across East Africa are building a path to economic prosperity, according to an article citing our research.

GREEN AND SOCIAL TOGETHER


Are sustainability bonds the best solution for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals? We explore this alongside the Centre for International Climate Research (CICERO) in Environmental Finance, an online news and analysis publication.
UPCOMING EVENTS
Team members will be at the Infrastructure Investor Global Summit, taking place in Germany on March 18-21, to present on financing infrastructure for sustainable development.

Our mining team will be at the ASEAN-IGF Regional Mining and Sustainability Forum in Thailand on March 20, sharing best practices and addressing sustainability gaps in the mining sector with government officials.

Our agriculture and investment team will be at the World Bank’s Land and Poverty Conference in Washington, D.C., from March 25-29, contributing to the conversation on responsible investment in agriculture, including gender-sensitive community engagement, along with other related topics.

Our Group Director, Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, will be a featured speaker at the Institute for Transnational Law-American Society for International Law's (ITA-ASIL) Annual Conference on March 27 in Washington, D.C.. She will be part of an expert panel dealing with the subject of “The Practicalities of Public Actor Involvement in Contract-Based International Arbitration.”

Members from our agriculture and investment team will be at the American Society of International Law's Annual Meeting from March 27-30 in Washington, D.C., to present on trade law and agricultural exports.
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