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Tuesday, November 26 • 09:00 - 10:15
Aligning international investment policy and practice with the pillars of “Protect, Respect, Remedy” - what States should do

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Session organized by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights in collaboration with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI)

Webcast of the session:
Meeting link
Meeting number: 841 558 315
Password: smgwPdAP

Background 
States are seeking foreign direct investment (FDI) to create jobs, build infrastructure, attract technology, and realise the Sustainable Development Goals. They use a range of strategies and tools in their efforts to attract FDI – from engaging investment promotion agencies to establishing export processing zones, offering tax incentives, providing finance and guarantees, and negotiating international investment agreements (IIAs).
The entire spectrum of investment law and policy making at national, regional and international levels provides a fertile context to implement the “protect, respect and remedy” pillars of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). There are several reasons for this. Strategies and tools aimed at attracting FDI pose unique governance challenges that create permissive environments for adverse human rights impacts. At the same time, investment law and policy making provides States an opportunity to align strategies and tools for attracting FDI with their human rights obligations and in turn achieve greater policy coherence. Only by adopting a holistic and rights-based approach can States accomplish inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth.
The session will explore a range of issues across three pillars of the UNGPs. For example, what steps States should take to implement their “protect pillar” obligations in the full range of State functions that make FDI possible, including setting policies and regulations, negotiating IIAs and State-investor contracts, and facilitating, promoting, financing and insuring FDI. It will also consider whether and how inclusion of various types of human rights provisions in IIAs can promote business respect for human rights in line with the “respect pillar” of the UNGPs. Finally, the session will look at certain strategies that States may consider to implement the “remedy pillar” of the UNGPs, so as to improve access to remedy and corporate accountability for investment-related human rights abuses.
It is hoped that the session will also connect dots with other relevant parallel processes such as the ISDS reform work undertaken by UNCITRAL’s Working Group III and the proposed treaty on business and human rights being discussed at the Human Rights Council.         
This session should assist States, policymakers, investors and civil society organisations in identifying concrete ways in which investment law and policy making could implement the “protect, respect and remedy” pillars of the UNGPs.  

Objectives 
This session aims to:
  • unpack what the UNGPs expect States to do in the entire gamut of investment law and policy making at the national, regional and international levels;
  • review whether States are making an effective use of IIAs to promote business respect for human rights, including by imposing human rights obligations on investors; and
  • consider what States could do to harness the role of IIAs in strengthening access to remedy and corporate accountability for investment-related human rights abuses. 

Format 
This session will be framed as a moderated conversation with panellists and participants contributing to a single story: what States are doing (or should do) to implement the UNGPs across their investment law and policy domain.
The session will begin with a panellist unpacking what the UNGPs entail for States in terms of investment law and policy making (e.g., investment promotion agencies, funding, insurance and government guarantees, and IIAs). The conversation will then move on to reviewing a range of State responses and actions to reform IIAs in line with the UNGPs. This discussion will also take cognisance of UNCTAD’s recommendations to States in reforming the old generation IIAs. Finally, a panellist will share several ideas about whether and, if so, how States could employ IIAs to enhance access to remedy and corporate accountability for human rights abuses in the context of international investment.
To involve participants more closely in the story telling, the moderator will invite comments and questions from the floor at regular intervals.

Moderators
avatar for Surya Deva

Surya Deva

Member, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
Mr. Surya Deva is a WG Member and Associate Professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong.  He holds BA (Hons), LLB and LLM from the University of Delhi and a PhD from Sydney Law School, and has taught previously at the University of Delhi and at the National Law... Read More →

Speakers
AS

Andrea Shemberg

Visiting fellow, London School of Economics
JS

Jane Seruwagi Nalunga

Country Director, Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) Uganda
Economic Policy
JC

Jesse Coleman

Legal Researcher, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, Columbia University
ET

Elisabeth Tuerk

Chief International Investment Agreements Section Division on Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD


Tuesday November 26, 2019 09:00 - 10:15 CET
Room XXII