2022 CIBEL Global Network Conference | Session 2: Investment and Sustainability

Sustainability has become a keyword in policymaking as governments seek to counteract the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and pursue economic recovery and resilience in the post-pandemic era. International trade and investment are important ways of achieving the UN’s 2030 sustainable development goals (SDGs). At the same time, the international economic legal order, based on a web of trade and investment norms and standards, provides the predictability and certainty needed for governments to join forces to advance the SDGs. This year’s CIBEL Global Network Conference on “International Economic Law and Sustainability” brings experts from a variety of disciplines and jurisdictions to explore some of the systemic challenges faced by the international trade regime and international investment regime and the ways to overcome these challenges to ensure trade and investment policies contribute to sustainable and inclusive development.

Session 2: Investment and Sustainability

Mobilizing investment and ensuring that it contributes to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) is more important than ever at a time of pressing social and environmental challenges. There have been criticisms against the asymmetric nature of international investment treaties and the tenancy of arbitral tribunals to marginalize human rights and environmental issues in investor-state arbitrations. On the other hand, there is a recent trend to move from investor protection to investor responsibilization. A variety of reforms have been proposed. This session will explore the challenges and opportunities to enhance the sustainable development dimension of the international investment treaties and investor-state arbitration.

Moderator

Jonathan Bonnitcha is a Senior Lecturer in UNSW’s Faculty of Law and Justice. He is best-known for his research on investment treaties. His research also considers the inter-relationships between different systems of foreign investment governance, including investor-state contracts, national investment laws, national investment dispute management agencies and international principles, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

From 2022 to 2025, Jonathan is a Chief Investigator on the ARC-funded project China’s Belt and Road Initiative: A New Model of Economic Governance?, along with CIBEL colleagues Heng Wang, Kun Fan and Ross Buckley. Within this project, Jonathan is leading the research stream on investor-state contracting between Chinese firms engaged in outward foreign investment and government entities of the host states in which they invest.

Panelists

Suzy Nikièma is IISD's Lead, Sustainable Investment for the Economic Law and Policy Program (ELP). She is based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and provides legal and policy advice on sustainable investment. She is ELP's regional coordinator in Africa.

Suzy has provided technical assistance to developing country governments, particularly in Africa, with respect to the negotiation, implementation, and drafting of investment treaties and treaty templates, and has published widely on the subject. She has assisted countries in designing their domestic investment laws.

Suzy Nikièma has also led a number of training sessions on mining issues in Africa on behalf of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF). Her work with the IGF includes assistance to countries and regional organizations to develop/review national and regional mining legal instruments and conduct Mining Policy Framework Assessments.

Suzy is the Editor-in-Chief of the French edition of Investment Treaty News (ITN). She is a lecturer on investment law and mining law at the University Saint Thomas d'Aquin (USTA) and on mining law at the University Aube Nouvelle (U-AUBEN), both in Burkina Faso.

Suzy has a Master of Public Law from the University of Ouagadougou, and has a Certificate of Transnational Law from the University of Geneva, as well as a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

N Jansen Calamita is Head of Investment Law & Policy, Centre for International Law, and Research Associate Professor (CIL), Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore. Prior to entering academia, he served in the Office of the Legal Adviser in the US Department of State and in the UNCITRAL Secretariat. Jansen has published widely on topics related to international investment law and public international law. His most recent publications include Investment Treaties and the Rule of Law Promise (Cambridge University Press 2022) and ASEAN and the Reform of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (Elgar 2022). In addition to his academic work, Jansen continues to advise governments and international organizations on matters relating to international investment law and dispute avoidance.

Fan Kun is Associate Professor of UNSW Law's Herbert Smith Freehills China International Business and Economic Law (CIBEL) Centre. Her teaching and research focus in the area of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), comparative legal studies, and law and society. Professor Fan has studied and worked in China, Singapore, U.S.A., Switzerland, France, Hong Kong and Canada, and speaks Chinese, English and French. With her training in both the East and the West, in both common law and civil law jurisdictions, she is particularly interested in broad intellectual inquiries across national, disciplinary and professional boundaries. Before joining us, Professor Fan was an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law at McGill University in Canada and was named the Norton Rose Fulbright Faculty Scholar in Arbitration & Commercial Law in 2017. She has also taught for seven years at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2009-2016) and was a Visiting Scholar of the Harvard Yenching Institute at Harvard University (2012-2013). 

Commentator

Makane Moïse Mbengue is Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva and Director of the Department of International Law and International Organisation. He is also an affiliate professor at Sciences Po Paris (School of Law). He is a Member of the Curatorium of The Hague Academy of International Law and an Associate Member of the Institut de droit international. Since 2017, he has been the president of the African Society of International Law (AfSIL). Makane Mbengue acts as counsel in disputes before international courts and tribunals (in particular, before the ICJ and in investment cases) and as advisor for governments. He is involved in the negotiations of several international investment agreements, in particular in Africa. He is the author of several publications in the field of international law.