Blog - Page 3

Crucial Ingredients for Meaningful Reform at UNCITRAL: Withdrawal of Consent to Arbitrate and Termination of Existing Treaties

By Lise Johnson, Lisa Sachs, Brooke Guven, and Jesse Coleman
April 18, 2018

UNCITRAL’s Working Group III has been entrusted with a mandate to explore reform of ISDS, including, potentially, through a multilateral instrument capable of reforming existing treaties. However, these discussions are likely to be slow, and outcomes uncertain. In the meantime, governments and their stakeholders remain tied to an outdated system that is widely acknowledged to be ill-suited for modern investment policy objectives, with increasingly concerning consequences. Two near term options that could accompany longer term reform are (1) a joint instrument on withdrawal of consent to arbitrate; and/or (2) a joint instrument on termination.

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Justine Sylvester Alumni Profile

April 13, 2018

In this alumni profile, Justine Sylvester, Advisor to the Land and Livelihoods Program and Private Sector Engagement at Village Focus International (VFI) and a 2017 Executive Training alumnus, highlights efforts to encourage collaboration between the private sector and civil society organizations and discusses tools for communicating with different stakeholder groups.

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Jeremy Agyemang’s Alumni Profile

March 12, 2018

In this alumni profile, Jeremy Agyemang, Head of the Agribusiness Unit at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana and a 2017 Executive Training alumnus, provides insights on facilitation of agricultural investments in Ghana and supporting agribusinesses with technical expertise.

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Getting Community Voices Heard in Investor-State Arbitration

By Thierry Berger and Jesse Coleman
March 5, 2018

During investor-state arbitrations, the rights and interests of local communities are often overlooked. A recent webinar discussed mechanisms that are getting the concerns of local communities on the table.

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What Do We Mean by Investment Facilitation?

By Jesse Coleman, Brooke Güven, Lise Johnson, and Lisa Sachs
February 21, 2018

The authors discuss calls for “investment facilitation,” highlighting aspects of the potential investment facilitation agenda that could advance sustainable development and those that may ultimately undermine it.

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Odenda Lumumba’s Alumni Profile

February 19, 2018

In this alumni profile, Odenda Lumumba, Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Land Alliance and a 2016 Executive Training alumnus, provides insights into work as a human rights advocate specializing in land issues.

Transparency and Community Empowerment around Land Investments in Cameroon

By Kelly D. Ward
January 29, 2018

Samuel Nguiffo, founder of Cameroon’s Centre for Environment and Development, explains how he uses, a unique tool created by the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment.

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Justine Sylvester on Land Contract Transparency and

January 23, 2018

In this blog post, CCSI speaks with Justine Sylvester, an advisor to the Land and Livelihoods Program and Private Sector Engagement at Village Focus International and alum of the CCSI’s Executive Training on Sustainable Investments in Agriculture program. Justine explains how has influenced her work and how it can be used to “level the playing field” between investors, governments, and communities.

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New York City Joins Growing Chorus on Divestment

By Nathan Lobel
January 16, 2018

In the face of ever-greater urgency to act on climate, and few prospects for action at the federal level, Mayor Bill de Blasio built upon New York City’s already impressive record on climate with a big announcement last week: first, New York City would divest its $189 billion pension funds from fossil fuel companies. And second, the city would sue five oil majors—BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Exxon, and Royal Dutch Shell—for their contributions to climate change and efforts to cover up scientific evidence of its reality. These are important steps in the transition away from fossil fuels toward a clean energy future. Institutions should use all available tools—including investment funds and the courts—to press for a just and sustainable future.

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Experts Examine Costs and Benefits of Investment Incentives

By Nathan Lobel
January 10, 2018

Governments continue to use incentives to attract and hold corporate investment. In Rethinking Investment Incentives: Trends and Policy Options edited by Ana Teresa Tavares-Lehmann, Perrine Toledano, Lise Johnson, and Lisa Sachs (Columbia University Press, July 2016), several distinguished experts question some of the core assumptions that lead to these deals. In doing so, they identify key issues for policymakers and propose best practices to help governments get the most bang for their buck.

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