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Call for comments: IISD’s draft Model International Investment Agreement

Call for Comments: IISD’s draft Model International Investment Agreement for Sustainable Development

Deadline: February 7, 2005

In what marks the first fundamental effort to review the nature and purpose of international investment agreements since the current model was developed almost 50 years ago, IISD is preparing a Model International Investment Agreement for Sustainable Development.

Current investment agreement models, including those represented by the failed OECD’s Multilateral Agreement on Investment and over 2,000 existing bilateral investment treaties, offer too narrow a focus as they address only the rights of the foreign investor. And experience has highlighted flaws in a wide range of areas including in openness, conflict of interest and clarity of substantive obligations.

IISD’s draft Model Agreement starts from the clear relationship between investment and the achievement of sustainable development. Features:

- It recognizes that an investment agreement is fundamentally about good governance, and that protection of investor rights and obligations and host state rights and obligations are an essential part of that equation;

- It applies basic standards of good governance to the international agreement itself, including through an appropriate "conference of the parties" institutional approach;

- It establishes a clear purpose for the agreement: to foster international investment that is supportive of development aspirations for developing countries and sustainable development requirements in both the North and South;

- Existing agreements focus only on investor rights. We develop a clear set of provisions that seek to balance the rights and obligations of investors, host states and home states;

- It sets out specific proposals to fix what we believe is currently a broken investor-state arbitration system;

- The text confronts the "home state of convenience" issue, and other issues that relate to a balance between domestic dispute settlement and international arbitration; and

- It includes an approach to investor obligations that seeks to strike a novel balance between voluntary and binding elements by linking dispute settlement to corporate performance, and investor conduct to investor liability.

IISD is now in the process of seeking public and peer input on the draft it has produced. This process is kicking off with a high-level experts meeting in January 2005 in The Hague. Public comments are now invited as well.

While the Model Agreement will be an evolving document, the current review process will contribute to two specific results in the near term:

The first is a posted draft Model Agreement that we hope will be immediately useful to governments, international organizations and all stakeholders interested in this issue.

The second is a negotiators’ handbook that annotates the text by explaining its various elements, carefully differentiating them from current standard approaches and other related options. This should be of great use to those countries now negotiating or revising investment agreements, and to any future efforts to draft a multilateral agreement.

Both of these documents will be published in the early Spring of 2005.

Your comments are appreciated by February 7, 2005 on the following draft:

Consultation Draft: International Investment Agreement for Sustainable Development (246 kb)

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