10th Annual Columbia International Investment Conference: “Investment Treaty Reform: Reshaping Economic Governance in the Era of Sustainable Development”

Date: November 10-11, 2015 8:30am-5:30pm
Location: Faculty House, Columbia University, New York

Co-organized with: 


The Conference Program is available here.



Mobilizing investment and ensuring that it contributes to sustainable development is a priority for all countries. In light of the global discussions this year on the Sustainable Development Goals and multilateral efforts to catalyze Financing for Development, our Conference focused on the role that international investment agreements (IIA) can and should play in international economic governance. Are they able to mobilize investment and help channel it toward priorities for advancing sustainable development? Do they leave governments adequate regulatory flexibility to achieve relevant policy objectives? If not, what reforms are needed and how can they be accomplished?

Reforming the international investment agreements regime is fundamental to building and maintaining an enabling environment for investment and maximizing the chances of reaching financing for development targets. Following on the heels of UNCTAD’s 2015 World Investment Report (WIR), which offers a menu of options for the reform of the IIA regime, together with a roadmap to guide policymakers at the national, bilateral, regional and multilateral levels, this Conference dove deeper into the practical steps countries have taken to reshape their IIAs. It reviewed the issues, processes and possible next steps for governments pursuing further IIA review and reform.

Speakers included:

  • Daniel Bahar (Deputy Assistant Trade Representative for Investment, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, United States)
  • Matteo Barra (Expert Officer on International Energy Investments, Energy Charter Secretariat (ECS))
  • Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder (Group Director, Economic Law & Policy, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD))
  • Leidylin Contreras (Lawyer, Office of the Legal Advisor to the President, Dominican Republic)
  • Ronald Eberhard (Head of Services Section, Directorate for Treaties of Economic, Social and Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia)
  • Gonzalo Flores (Team Leader/Legal Counsel, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes)
  • Cristian Rubén Pino Garrido (Executive Secretary, Citizens’ Commission for a Comprehensive Audit of Investment Protection Treaties and of the International Investment Arbitration System (CAITISA), Ecuador)
  • David Gaukrodger (Senior Legal Adviser, Investment Division, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD))
  • Lisa J. Grosh (Assistant Legal Counsel, Department of State, United States)
  • Grant Hanessian (Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP)
  • Thierry Mutombo Kalonji (Director, Investment and Private Sector Development, Secretariat, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Zambia)
  • Timothy Lemay (Principal Legal Officer and Head of the Legislative Branch of the International Trade Law Division, Office of Legal Affairs, Secretariat, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL))
  • Annette Magnusson (Secretary General, Arbitration Institute, Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC))
  • Wamkele Mene (Director, Legal International Trade & Investment, International Trade & Economic Development Division, Department of Trade & Industry, South Africa)
  • Stormy-Annika Mildner (Head of Department External Economic Policy, Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (BDI), Germany)
  • Prabhat Kumar Mishra (Government of India)
  • Eliška Německá (Former Senior International Law Expert, International Investment Law Department, Ministry of Finance, Czech Republic)
  • Abrão M. Árabe Neto (Chief of Staff and Deputy Secretary, Foreign Trade Secretariat, Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Brazil)
  • Margrethe R. Norum (Specialist Director, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Norway)
  • Rocco Palma (Legal Officer, Directorate General for the European Union, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italy)
  • Luis Parada (Partner, Foley Hoag LLP)
  • Antonio Parenti, (Minister Counsellor, Head, Economic, Trade and Development Section, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations)
  • Manuel Pérez-Rocha (Associate Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies)
  • Luke Eric Peterson (Editor and Publisher, InvestmentArbitrationReporter.com)
  • Jeffrey Sachs (Director, The Earth Institute, Columbia University)
  • Eman Gamal Said (Under-Secretary of State and Head of the International Cooperation Department, General Authority for Investment & Free Zones (GAFI), Egypt)
  • Adriana Vargas Saldarriaga (Director, Foreign Investment, Services and Intellectual Property, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Colombia)
  • Ricardo De Urioste Samanamud (Advisor, Directorate General of International Economic Affairs, Competition and Productivity, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Peru)
  • Karl P. Sauvant (Resident Senior Fellow, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment)
  • Sylvie Tabet (General Counsel and Director, Trade Law Bureau, Government of Canada)
  • Michael Tracton (Director, Office of Investment Affairs, Department of State, United States)
  • Carlos Vejar (General Counsel for International Trade, Ministry of Economy, Mexico)
  • James Zhan (Director, Investment and Enterprise Division, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD))


With support from:


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