The Investment & Human Rights Project is led by Andrea Saldarriaga and Andrea Shemberg.
International investment plays a significant role in our globalised economy mobilising vast amounts of capital from the financial markets through to thousands of businesses and projects around the world. Investment can create positive conditions for improving people’s lives, but it can also negatively impact peoples’ enjoyment of their human rights. Normative developments over the last two years, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and updated social responsibility standards, tell us that both governmental and market actors should safeguard human rights in the context of all business activity, including investment.
While there is a flurry of activity directed towards improving company practices in line with these normative standards, a serious gap exists: few efforts, if any, consider what these standards imply for the structures, rules and policies that facilitate, support and protect international investment.
The Investment & Human Rights Project will contribute to closing this gap by:
building awareness about how international investment works and what might be its relationship to peoples’ enjoyment of their human rights; and
creating constructive spaces for learning, research, discussion and sharing of practical tools in the area of investment and human rights.
The Project will develop an innovative website that will be a free learning tool on investment and human rights for a range of practitioners, including lawyers, institutional investors, lenders, investment consultants and advisors, government and civil society. The site will also serve as a focal point for documents, relevant materials, and tools making them available in an easy-to-access way.
The Project will also provide a space where new research is highlighted and where discussion is catalysed around pressing questions related to the interaction of investment and human rights.
The online presence of the Project is expected in early 2014. The first phase of the Project will include three priority areas of work:
Investment policymaking and investment arbitration: exploring the relationship between investment arbitration, international investment agreements and human rights.
Investment contracts: building access to resources and capacity building for government, companies and civil society on managing human rights risks in investment contracts.
Export credit agencies (ECAs): assessing the practical implications of new normative standards for the role of ECAs in supporting international investments.