By Nathan Lobel
The world has entered a critical moment for international investment governance.
Public discontent with international trade and investment treaties like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has shed new light on the once obscure system of investment governance. These and other international trade and investment treaties—of which more than 3,000 bind nearly every country—have been criticized for protecting profits over people, and constraining governments’ abilities to adopt crucial measures and policies to protect or bolster the environment, public health, human rights, and the economy.
Backlash against the status quo has prompted a number of states (and citizens within them) to begin to question whether the treaties’ investment commitments are consistent with broader sustainable development priorities. A number of important international and regional fora, including the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the UN Commission on International Trade Law, and the Organisation on Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), have also identified investment treaty reform as crucial agenda items.
To seize upon this moment, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment is hosting a two-day conference on Rethinking International Investment Governance: Principles for the 21st Century. The conference seeks to elaborate principles for a progressive investment agenda. After reflecting on the current investment regime and the extent to which it aligns with or undermines sustainable development, panelists and speakers will re-imagine investment governance and consider the role that international cooperation could play to advance sustainable development-oriented investment.
The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.