Unlocking investment treaty reform through UNCTAD Multi-Stakeholder Platform

04 Mar 2024

The first meeting of the UNCTAD Multi-Stakeholder Platform on IIA Reform took place virtually on 29 February 2024. The Multi-Stakeholder Platform aims to expedite the reform of the international investment agreement (IIA) regime.

The primary objective of the meeting was to identify concrete impediments to IIA reform. Despite the broad consensus on the need to reform outdated investment treaties and the availability of reform tools, barriers to reform persist. Much more effort is needed to help countries and regions effectively reform the worldwide stock of 2,500 old-generation IIAs.

Over 40 participants from governments, civil society, academia, international and regional organizations engaged in the interactive dialogue hosted by UNCTAD. Participants exchanged views and best practices on IIA reform. The meeting provided a forum for stakeholders to share insights on the obstacles to IIA reform, considering both the depth and speed of reform.

Guided by two questions, participants analysed the bottlenecks and explored solutions:

  • What specifically slows down IIA reform, and how can it be accelerated at the bilateral and regional levels?
  • What additional, concrete actions could international organizations, civil society and academia take to accelerate the process of IIA reform?

The meeting was conducted as an interactive dialogue under the Chatham House Rule and will contribute to a global assessment of the obstacles and challenges faced by governments in their efforts to accelerate IIA reform. Insights from the discussions will inform UNCTAD’s research and policy analysis on investment treaties.

The Multi-Stakeholder Platform for IIA Reform was established during the 8th UNCTAD World Investment Forum held in Abu Dhabi in October 2023. The Platform emerged as an outcome of the Forum, aiming to drive global IIA reform by fostering collaboration among stakeholders.

For over a decade, UNCTAD has played a leading role in monitoring IIA reform trends and identifying policy options. Along the way, UNCTAD worked with partner organizations, countries and regions to facilitate IIA reform actions.

The establishment of the Multi-Stakeholder Platform for IIA Reform underscores UNCTAD’s commitment to providing an inclusive forum that promotes the alignment of international investment governance with sustainable development priorities.

Click here for more information on the UNCTAD Multi-Stakeholder Platform on IIA Reform