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Earth Institute Research Projects

Bridging the Gaps between Investment Law and Environmental Policy

Lead PI:

Unit Affiliation: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI)

Unknown start date - Ongoing
Active
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: Over roughly the past 15 years, it has become increasingly clear that governments’ commitments under international investment agreements (IIAs) have important implications for domestic environmental regulation. These treaty commitments have been interpreted, for example, to impact governments’ abilities to regulate and determine pricing arrangements for water services, modify or deny land-use permits, impact transport of hazardous wastes, and strengthen environmental regulations. Yet despite the deep reach of international investment law into domestic environmental policy, little work has been done to systematically explore and develop understanding of the intersections between the two areas. CCSI sees an urgent need to fill this gap. It is therefore reviewing IIAs and the case law interpreting them, and analyzing what the treaties mean for domestic environmental policy.

Through this project, CCSI develops materials and seminars to help enable government officials designing foreign policy to craft and negotiate investment treaties with a fuller understanding of and ability to address those treaties’ implications for environmental regulation, and better enable environmental policy makers to accomplish their goals while avoiding the types of measures that may trigger state liability under international investment law.