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Investment Treaties: A Debate over Sovereignty, Trade, Development and Human Rights

Event Documents


Stephen Fietta, Principal, Fietta
Emilie Gonin, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers
Guillaume Long, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Ecuador to the United Nations Office
Professor Makane Mbengue, Professor of International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Geneva


In recent years, investment treaties - and tribunal and arbitration decisions enforcing their terms - have proliferated, along with a debate about their merits.

Proponents of bilateral investment treaties argue that they provide mutual benefit to states and investors: providing protection and enforceable rights to investors and encouraging the foreign investment necessary for states' economic prosperity and development.

Detractors argue that investment treaties have in practice allowed already powerful corporations the ability to require governments to compensate for legitimate economic and social policy decision-making, crippling the ability of governments in developing states to legislate for the benefit of their people.

Those on both sides of the debate have raised questions about the lack of transparency in the investment tribunal and arbitration processes. 

Doughty Street Chambers and Chatham House were delighted to host a debate between prominent policymakers and legal practitioners to discuss recent legal and policy developments in the area of investment law.