The broad mandate given by UNCITRAL focuses on a limited set of procedural issues that fails to address the substantive concerns over the crisis of legitimacy confronting the international investment regime, and ISDS more specifically.
Joining the Energy Charter Treaty is not in the public interest, according to South Africa’s government. It has also cancelled other agreements that allowed foreign investors to sue their state. This has not stopped investors from coming, says Mustaqeem de Gama.
The problem with the ISDS is not the format of the dispute settlement. The problem is that it is designed to give corporations power to go after government policies.
Meaningful reform aligned with sustainable development seems less likely
The hegemon aspirants in international investment law have already, and perhaps unwittingly, revealed their three step manual: Disguise, dismiss, divert.
The basis of a claim in ISDS is always the applicable international investment agreement. There would always be differences and inconsistencies with an appellate mechanism.
We civil society organizations and trade unions from the African continent express our concerns about the proposal presented by the European Union to establish a multilateral investment court and support further reaching reforms of ISDS.
The UNCITRAL Working Group III turned squarely to designing permanent institutions: a standing appellate mechanism and a multilateral investment court (MIC).
The US government used to be the chief proponent of strong investor protection clauses in international trade deals. No longer. What happened?
Several states participating in the UNCITRAL process have already adopted viable alternatives to ISDS.
The signing of an investment treaty involves a unilateral loss of sovereignty on the part of the host state, which is ultimately deemed necessary to attract foreign capital.
Multinational companies will increasingly file massive cases against host countries when climate change policies affect their profits, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said.
A permanent Multilateral Investment Court pushed by the European Union could make ISDS worse by scaling it up.
ISDS lawyers appear to hold administrative positions within the working group and are represented in large numbers in the advisory bodies that have been established for the working group.
Advocates of ISDS (industrialised countries and lawyers from the ‘arbitration industry’) dominate the running of the Working Group and its advisory bodies. Civil society is underrepresented.
USMCA bears many resemblances to NAFTA, which has been cited as a driver of low-wage corporate outsourcing.
The UNCITRAL process runs a real risk of producing middle-ground solutions that will fail to address the fundamental flaws of the ISDS system and will only further institutionalise and re-legitimise the system.
More than 300 civil society groups and trade unions urged governments participating in United Nations meetings in Vienna to completely overhaul the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system.
This is the fourth ISDS dispute this year in which the South Korean government is embroiled.
The takeaway from the UNCITRAL’s process for its so-called "reform" discussions is that lawyers making millions in ISDS cases are welcomed, while the voices of the millions of people whose lives are harmed by ISDS cases brought by multinational corporations are barely an afterthought.