Workshop 4.6

Workshop 4.6 Shedding Light onto Investment Arbitration

Stream 4 Sustainable Globalisation

Coordinator: Sofia Plagakis, Program Associate for the Trade and Sustainable Development Program, Center for International Environmental Law

Date: Saturday 11:00 to 13:00
Location: MC 3.4

Governments, institutions and corporations governed by transparency, openness, accountability and community participation are more capable of balancing the needs of present and future generations as well as private rights and public interests, and harmonizing economic development with social and environmental needs. There is increasing recognition that sustainable development is closely linked to improved access to information, participation in decision-making, and accountability, and that public policy decisions that take into account the views of different stakeholders are more likely to lead to sustainable development, conservation of natural resources, and a more just distribution of benefits. An informed and educated public will be able to more effectively participate meaningfully in decisions relating to economic policies and how these affect and relate to social and environmental policies.

International investment arbitrations between states and investors, i.e. corporations, have been increasing exponentially over the last decade, and despite the fact that they involve critical public policy issues such as access to drinking water, environmental protection, conservation of natural resources, and public health, the public and the media are shut out from the process. The veil of secrecy and corruption enveloping investment arbitrations can be lifted, however, by introducing transparency and participation into these arbitrations.

In this workshop, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) will provide a platform upon which we can build greater momentum to overcome the democracy deficits apparent in investment arbitrations. The purpose of this workshop is to strategize ways to introduce transparency and participation into international investment dispute settlement, which is one aspect of a wider strategy to democratize international dispute settlement processes. Investment arbitration is a key aspect of this broader strategy, given the importance of investment law in the shaping of the global economy and the visibility of high-profile investment cases.

Our proposed workshop supports the Stream 4, Sustainable Globalisation. Sustainable development and the conservation of national resources depend on decision-making that is inclusive, participatory, and transparent. It recognizes the importance of process and decision-making that includes the input of the stakeholders who will be affected by decisions. All of these developments relate to a more general trend towards promoting "good governance." All attempts to define the notion of good governance include the elements of transparency, participation, and accountability. It is evident that the international economic framework must promote the principle of good governance if it is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development and conservation of natural resources.

Moderator: Sofia Plagakis, Center for International Environmental Law
Rapporteur: Sofia Plagakis, Center for International Environmental Law

Nathalie Bernasconi-Osteralder,
Senior Attorney, Center for International Environmental Law

Jacob Werksman, Program Director, Institutions and Governance Program, World Resources Institute
Lucinda Low, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP