On 25-27 February 2015, Andrea Saldarriaga
, co-lead of the Investment and Human Rights Project, participated in UNCTAD’s Expert Meeting on The Transformation of the International Investment Agreement Regime
in Geneva, Switzerland. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the need for reform and identify strategies to help shape a sustainable-development friendly international investment framework.
On 19 November 2014 Andrea Saldarriaga and Andrea Shemberg, spoke as invited experts at a parliamentary briefing in London on Bilateral Investment Treaties. The briefing was hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group, Traidcraft and the Trade Justice Movement and ABColombia. It was chaired by Martin Horwood MP and considered bilateral investment treaties and the UK’s commitments on human rights and business in the context of investment.
On 24 October 2014, Andrea Shemberg spoke at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict conference on developments the UN Human Rights Council on the responsibilities of corporations towards human rights.
On 15 October 2014, at the World Investment Forum
, Andrea Saldarriaga and Andrea Shemberg participated in panels hosted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which they had helped to design and moderate. The panels brought together a range of reflections on the role of government policy-making in addressing the protection of and respect for human rights in the context of investment. Summary of WIF panels on investment & human rights
On 17 & 18 September 2014, Andrea Saldarriaga and Andrea Shemberg were invited as discussants to the expert workshop organised by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung on evaluating human rights impact assessments in trade and investment regimes.
In July 2014 Andrea Saldarriaga and Andrea Shemberg participated as invited experts at two policy events discussing investment agreements, sustainable development and human rights in Myanmar. The first event, organised by the International Commission of Jurists and the Myanmar Investment Commission consisted of a high-level panel discussion, including senior commissioners from the Myanmar Investment Commission and senior policy-makers. The second event was a workshop with civil society organisations. The events offered a unique opportunity to promote human rights and environmental protection at a crucial moment in Myanmar's development.
In June 2014 Andrea Saldarriaga was invited to present at the third conference on Human Rights and Business
organised by the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development, the Dutch inter-church organisation for development cooperation, PwC and CNV (part of the national Confederation of Christian trade unions in the Netherlands) International. The event discussed the relevance of human rights for companies and investors focusing on the questions of prioritisation of human rights issues and measurement of progress on managing human rights risks.
Consultations on National Action Plans: as part of the project's engagement in global efforts on business and human rights, Andrea Saldarriaga and Andrea Shemberg participated in two international consultations on shaping National Action Plans to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The first, in April 2014, was a London consultation convened by the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, the Danish Institute for Human Rights, and the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights. The second, in May 2014, was an expert workshop convened in Geneva to inform the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights as part of its efforts to develop guidance on National Action Plans.
Expert meeting and public debate on Business and Human Rights treaty: to share their expertise on current questions of international law, policy and investment and human rights, on 14 May, Andrea Saldarriaga and Andrea Shemberg participated in an expert meeting to discuss a new proposal by Ecuador at the UN Human Rights Council to negotiate a treaty on business and human rights. Andrea Saldarriaga also moderated a session in a related event organised by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre and the University of Notre Dame Law School.
A4ID training for lawyers: to help lawyers learn about investment and human rights from an investment perspective, on 10 May the Project leads conducted a training course for 30 London-based lawyers as part of the Advocates for International Development training program for legal professionals.
In December 2013, Andrea Saldarriaga and Andrea Shemberg participated in the UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights
in Geneva. Andrea Saldarriaga moderated a multi-stakeholder panel discussion on Investment and Human Rights. Andrea Shemberg was a panellist in the discussion on the application of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to state-owned financial institutions. The Project also supported the launch of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' multimedia training materials on the UN Principles for Responsible Contracts
integrating human rights risk management into State-Investor contract negotiations.
Watch an introduction to the training
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 has developed an innovative website, the Learning Hub, a new online space created to build understanding on investment, human rights and their connections. The Hub will explore the implications that these connections have for the work of governments, commercial practitioners and civil society in ensuring the protection of and respect for human rights. The Learning Hub is dynamic. It will develop over time, and there is much to explore already. Visit the Learning Hub.