Date: Tuesday, 19 October 2021
Time: 16:30-19:00 

International investment treaty-making in the new era of global economy

International investment agreement (IIA) reform remains a daunting task for all member States, with challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Policymakers, IIA practitioners, civil society and legal scholars need to urgently take stock of ongoing reform efforts in times of COVID-19, both in terms of what IIA reform measures countries and regional organizations undertook or are considering undertaking in response to the crisis, and how to maintain and strengthen the reform momentum in light of the increased fragility of economies around the world that places added emphasis on the importance of FDI as a means of development finance. The 2021 IIA Conference will aim to pave the way for further inclusive, transparent, and synchronized IIA reform processes in the pursuit of sustainable development in the post-COVID-19 era.

Forward-looking IIA reform is well under way. All treaties concluded in 2020 contain several reform features that are in line with the UNCTAD’s Reform Package for the International Investment Regime (2018) or the UNCTAD Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development (2015). These features address five areas i) safeguarding the right to regulate, while providing protection ii) reforming investment dispute settlement iii) promoting and facilitating investments iv) ensuring responsible investment v) enhancing systemic consistency. UNCTAD policy tools have also spurred action to modernize old-generation treaties. Countries are increasingly interpreting, amending, replacing or terminating outdated treaties (Phase 2 of IIA Reform).

Given that, to date, such reform actions have addressed a relatively small number of IIAs, there is broad scope and urgency to pursue them further. Currently, the stock of old-generation treaties is 10 times greater than the number of modern, reform-oriented treaties and the majority of known investor–State dispute settlement cases have to date been based on old-generation treaties.

UNCTAD’s newly launched IIA Reform Accelerator offers a practical tool for intensifying IIA reform efforts. Based on a stocktaking of recent reform efforts, the 2021 High-level IIA Conference will offer the platform for accelerating IIA Reform and taking concrete steps towards a more coherent and consolidated process for modernizing old-generation IIAs.

Issues to be addressed:

  • Taking stock of IIA reform efforts
  • Reforming investment dispute settlement
  • Accelerating IIA reform in the public interest


  • Mr. James Zhan, Director, Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD


     Panel I: Taking stock of the reform of the IIA regime (16:30-17:45)

  • Ms. Emily Mburu-Ndoria, Director, Directorate of Trade in Services, Investment, Intellectual Property Rights and Digital Trade, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat
  • Mr. Urban Rusnák, Secretary-General, Energy Charter Secretariat
  • Mr. Carlo Pettinato, Head of Investment Policy Unit, European Commission
  • Ms. Meg Kinnear, Secretary-General, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
  • Ms. Ana Novik, Head of the Investment Division, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • Ms. Anna Joubin-Bret, Secretary, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)
  • Mr. Moritz Lumma, Head of Division, Foreign Investment, Paris Club, Development Banks, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany
  • Ms. Cindy Rayo Zapata, Director General of International Trade in Services and Investment, Ministry of Economy, Mexico
  • Ms. Caroline Kollau, Director, Trade Policy and Economic Governance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands
  • Ms. Fareena Mazhar, Secretary, Board of Investment, Pakistan
  • Ms. Kekeletso Mashigo, Director, Legal: International Trade, Investment, Dispute Settlement, Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, South Africa
  • Mr. Felix Imhof, Deputy Head, International Investment and Multinational Enterprises Division, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Switzerland


  • Ms. Samira Sulejmanovic, Head, Department for Bilateral Trade Relations, Ministry of Foreign    Trade and Economic Relations, Bosnia and Herzegovina

     Panel II: Way forward – accelerating IIA reform (17:45-19:00)

  • Mr. Winand Quaedvlieg, Chair, Committee on Investment and Responsible Business Conduct, Business at OECD (BIAC)
  • Ms. Chantal Ononaiwu, Trade Policy and Legal Specialist, Office of Trade Negotiations, CARICOM Secretariat
  • Ms. Lisa Sachs, Director, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI)
  • Ms. Suzy H. Nikièma, Sustainable Investment Lead, Economic Law and Policy Program, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
  • Mr. Jansen Calamita, Head of Investment Law and Policy, Centre for International Law, and Research Associate Professor (CIL), Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore
  • Mr. Surya Deva, Chair, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, and Professor, Macquarie Law School, Sydney
  • Mr. Shaun Donnelly, Senior Advisor, United States Council for International Business (USCIB)
  • Mr. Makane Moïse Mbengue, Professor of International Law and Director of the Department of International Law, University of Geneva


  • Ms. Patience Okala, Director, Legal Services, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Nigeria


  • Mr. Hamed El Kady, Senior Investment Policy Officer, International Investment Agreements Section, UNCTAD

Event Manager: Mr. Hamed El-Kady, Ms. Diana Rosert
Contact email: Hamed.El.Kady@unctad.org, Diana.Rosert@unctad.org