Integrating Sustainable Development into International Investment Agreements

A Guide for Developing Country Negotiators

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As International Investment Agreements (IIAs) continue to evolve and become increasingly complex, a key challenge for developing countries is how to maintain coherent investment obligations that are consistent across any overlapping treaty provisions. An even greater challenge is the effective negotiation of trade in services and investment commitments in Preferential Trade Agreements to make foreign investment supportive of development.

This guide is designed to assist developing countries to negotiate IIAs that are more effective in promoting their sustainable development. It identifies and consolidates emerging best practices from existing treaty models, evaluating the costs and benefits of different approaches; suggesting new and innovative provisions to encourage foreign investment flows; and outlining how states can achieve coherence among their IIAs.

A useful reference tool for developing country negotiators and interested parties, including investment promotion agencies, policy-makers, legislative drafters and officials in government legal departments.




Whether and how to negotiate international investment agreements (IIAs) are significant policy issues for virtually all countries. Most IIAs in place today are bilateral investment treaties (BITs) between capital-exporting developed countries and capitalimporting developing countries. Developed countries are interested in the protection that these treaties offer to their investors operating in host developing countries. Developing countries hope that by committing to provide protection, IIAs will improve the prospects for future inflows of foreign investment. This has been called the ‘grand bargain’ of BITs.


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