Aligning the International Investment System with Environmental Protection: Synergies or Discord

The research project investigates to what extent international investment law is evolving towards greater integration of environmental protection.

vector money and the environment

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About the project

Faced with strong criticism for the asymmetry of international investment agreements (IIAs) and for the perceived lack of legitimacy of the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), states have taken actions to reform the international investment system. Some reform actions in treaty drafting aim, for example, at clarifying standards of protection, limiting access to investor-state arbitration (ISA) or explicitly carving-out regulatory space for states to protect the environment. In this context, the project assesses the interplay between international investment law and the environment, asking to what extent is international investment law evolving towards greater sensitivity for environmental protection.


More specifically, the project maps the use of environmental language in recently signed IIAs and discusses some of the effects of such language on ISA. It reflects also on the extent to which States’ experience with ISA is integrated in IIAs. This mapping exercise of environmental language allows then to contextualize their inclusion (or non-inclusion) in IIAs. In this respect, the project aims at enhancing our understanding of treaty making and of how adjudicative processes and treaty practice interact at the international level. It also proposes options for increasing synergies between international investment law and environmental protection.


The project is part of the Responses to the 'legitimacy crisis' of international investment law (LEGINVEST) funded by the Norwegian Research Council under FRIPRO.

Published Feb. 7, 2020 12:47 PM - Last modified Sep. 3, 2021 4:14 PM