Announcements and Projects
Now Hiring: Legal Researcher on Natural Resource Investments
CCSI seeks to hire a legal researcher to support the Center’s work on natural resources and sustainable development. This position is primarily focused on Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development; some projects will also involve contributing to the Center’s work on Investment in Land and Agriculture. Specifically, the legal researcher will: undertake research related to legal frameworks for promoting sustainable development from major investments in natural resources globally; help develop, expand, and manage significant tools and resources; and contribute to technical advisory work. The position must be based in New York with the ability to travel. For more information or to apply, please click here to be taken to Columbia University’s Recruitment of Academic Personnel System. Due to the volume of applications, only short-listed candidates will be contacted.
Second Edition of Online Course on Natural Resources for Sustainable Development: The Fundamentals of Oil, Gas and Mining Governance
CCSI is pleased to announce the second edition of a massive open online course (MOOC) on Natural Resources for Sustainable Development: The Fundamentals of Oil, Gas and Mining Governance, co-developed by CCSI, the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), and the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), with support from the World Bank. The second run will launch on September 12, 2016, and will run for 12 weeks. The MOOC, offered twice a year, covers a range of topics including the challenges and opportunities that come with extractive industries, key political economy considerations, legal frameworks, tax policy, environmental issues, community rights, artisanal mining, economic linkages to the wider economy, and the management and investment of revenues for sustainable development. The course is particularly suitable for those who seek to build a solid comprehensive understanding of the field. Access to the course requires a reliable internet connection to be able to view the videos. Registration can be found here.
New Report: Employment from Mining and Agricultural Investments
Employment creation is often seen as a key benefit of investment in natural resources, although this benefit sometimes falls short. In July, CCSI released a new report
, authored in partnership with Olle Östensson, that aims to clarify the processes and nuances of job creation driven by large-scale mining and agricultural investments. A deeper understanding of the topic can help policymakers, citizens, and other stakeholders assess employment claims made in the context of such investment. The report also suggests how policies can improve employment outcomes. The report, “Employment from Mining and Agricultural Investments: How Much Myth, How Much Reality?”, is available here
.Submission to the SEC on Addressing Land Tenure Risks
In July 2016, CCSI sent a submission to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to provide input into how land tenure risks could be addressed through disclosure requirements for public companies. The SEC was seeking input into modernizing business and financial disclosure requirements in Regulation S-K, including whether Regulation S-K should be amended to require disclosure of public policy and sustainability information. CCSI argued that, due to the significant financial risk created by land tenure disputes in countries with weak or transitioning land governance systems, companies should be required to report on land tenure risks. Disclosure should be required for land tenure risks that emerge through direct land acquisitions, as well as land tenure risks tied to supply chains. The full submission is available here.
CCSI Submits Amicus Brief in Bear Creek v. Peru Investment Dispute
In June 2016, CCSI submitted an application
to file a written submission as an “other person” in Bear Creek Mining Corporation v. Republic of Peru
. CCSI’s submission
focused on a range of issues, including the implications of human rights obligations and responsibilities for the interpretation and application of the Peru-Canada Free Trade Agreement, and the systemic legal and public policy implications of certain interpretations of investment treaty standards. On July 21, the Tribunal determined that CCSI’s application should be denied. On August 3, CCSI shared its response
to this determination with the Tribunal and raised concerns regarding the Tribunal’s approach. CCSI’s full application and submission, along with the relevant Procedural Order of the Tribunal, can be found on our website
. In addition, a blog post discussing the submission is available on the RightingFinance website here
. While we are disappointed by the outcome regarding the Center’s application, we are pleased that the Tribunal accepted a separate amicus submission filed by the Association of Human Rights and Environment of Puno and Dr. Carlos López.Fall 2016 Internship Opportunities Now Available
CCSI has a limited number of internship positions available for graduate and undergraduate students. Details on the internship opportunities, as well as application instructions, are available here.
September 12, 2016: Launch of Fall 2016 International Investment Law and Policy Speaker Series
In September, CCSI will launch its Fall 2016 International Investment Law and Policy Speaker Series. We’re delighted to announce that this year’s speakers include (in the order of their talks) Maria Chedid, Freddy Sourgens, Stanimir Alexandrov, Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler, Gabriel Bottini, Allan Rosas and Mark Wu.
This fall, the series will once again be generously co-sponsored by Crowell & Moring LLP and Baker & McKenzie LLP. The series will be moderated by Ian Laird, Grant Hanessian and Kabir Duggal. All talks will take place in Jerome Greene Hall. Select presentations will be webcast; please see our website for the schedule and more details. No registration is required.
October 6, 2016: Shadow Courts: The Hidden Danger in Trade Agreements
On October 6, 2016, CCSI will co-host a panel discussion, “Shadow Courts: The Hidden Danger in Trade Agreements.” Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, Luis Parada, Partner, Foley Hoag LLP, and Haley Sweetland Edwards, author of “Shadow Courts: The Tribunals that Rule Global Trade,” will discuss investor-state dispute resolution provisions in trade and investment agreements, and the risk those provisions pose to democracy, public policy and the rule of law. The event is co-hosted by Columbia Global Reports and will take place from 6-8 P.M. in the World Room, Pulitzer Hall, 1600 Broadway.October 11, 2016: Who Actually Controls Public Companies and in Whose Interest Are They Run?
Drawing from his decades’ long experience in stewardship and sustainable investment, Colin Melvin
, Global Head of Stewardship at Hermes Investment Management and Chair of Hermes Equity Ownership Services, will examine who actually controls companies and in whose interest they are run. Colin will describe an emerging obligation and opportunity for pension plans, endowments and other institutional investors with regard to business and the public good, which he will characterize as a shift in focus from short term transactions to longer term relationships. Colin will argue that the interests of the corporation and its shareholders and other stakeholders converge in the longer term and he will present some practical measures for promoting such convergence. This talk is co-sponsored by the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School. For more information, click here
November 2-3, 2016: Save the Date for Annual Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Investment: From Consensus to Action
On November 2-3, 2016, CCSI will host the eleventh annual Columbia International Investment Conference, entitled “Climate Change and Sustainable Investment in Natural Resources: From Consensus to Action.” The Conference, taking place one week before COP22, will offer a high-level opportunity to explore the complex challenges of the Paris Agreement in light of sustainable development, the SDGs, and the real challenges facing developing countries within the global economy. The outcomes of the Conference will provide inputs to COP22, notably in the “Low-Emissions Solutions Conference” that will take place at COP22.
Confirmed panelists include:
- Penny Davies, Program Officer, Equitable Development, Ford Foundation
- Claudio Descalzi, CEO, Eni
- Mark Gainsborough, Executive Vice President, New Energies, Shell
- Stephen Heintz, President, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
- Andrea Illy, President, illycaffè S.p.A.
- Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility (GEF)
- Chris Jochnick, President and CEO, Landesa
- Petter Johnsen, Chief Investment Officer Equity Strategies, Norges Bank Investment Management
- Nezha Larhrissi, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Environment, Kingdom of Morocco
- Éric Martel, President and CEO, Hydro-Québec
- Amina J. Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria
- John Roome, Senior Director, Climate Change Group, The World Bank
- Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University
- Jérôme Schmidt, Senior Vice President Sustainable Development & Environment, Total
- Ilana Solomon, Director, Responsible Trade Program, Sierra Club
- Francesco Starace, CEO and General Manager, Enel
- Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute
- Jim Williams, Director, Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, Sustainable Development Solutions Network
- James Zhan, Director, Investment & Enterprise Division, UNCTAD
The Conference’s sessions will address issues including: the rapidly changing (and declining) role of hydrocarbons in the global energy system, including how to plan for, implement and manage the hydrocarbon and coal reserves that will be “stranded” in the process of decarbonization; how low-carbon strategies can and should be adapted to the development needs of low-income countries; how to manage land use to mitigate climate and environmental impacts and to maximize benefits for development, including for local communities; and the development of new international legal frameworks and global governance to support national-level actions.
The Conference is co-sponsored by Norges Bank Investment Management, in partnership with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network.Registration is free, but required
; for more information, please check our website
. CCSI welcomes partners and sponsors to support the Conference; please contact us
for more information about sponsorship opportunities.
Webinar on Using Online Technology to Empower Communities Facing Land Deals
Sam Szoke-Burke recently presented at a webinar convened by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) on how web platforms can be used by civil society organizations to support communities whose land rights and livelihoods are affected by agricultural projects. Sam discussed the Open Land Contracts database
, which features investment contracts for large-scale land projects. Wai Wai Lwin from Open Data Myanmar (ODM) also presented on web technology used to share verified data on land conflict in Myanmar to resolve conflicts and improve land governance. The webinar has been summarized in a blog
that also features videos of both presentations.
Mapping Mining to the Sustainable Development Goals: An Atlas
CCSI is pleased to announce the release of “Mapping Mining to the Sustainable Development Goals: An Atlas,” a collaborative project of CCSI, the World Economic Forum, UNDP, and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). The Atlas maps the relationship between mining and the SDGs by using examples of good practice in the industry and existing knowledge and resources in sustainable development that, if replicated or scaled up, could make useful contributions to the SDGs.The atlas includes a chapter for each of the SDGs, focusing on the contribution the mining industry can make to that goal through its business operations and identifying opportunities for mining companies to collaborate with other stakeholders. The executive summary, full report, and press release can be accessed here.
Rethinking Investment Incentives: Trends and Policy Options
The use of incentives to attract investment is connected to and impacts the most pressing challenges facing us today, including climate change, corruption, employment, development, harmful competition, and public spending efficiency. How, when, where, and why governments use incentives to attract investment is therefore critically important to whether and how society benefits from investments and to other public policy decisions and trade-offs. It is increasingly apparent, however, that the use of incentives is not well understood—including by the policy makers who use them—which necessitates a closer look and, in many cases, a policy response.
CCSI’s Perrine Toledano, Lise Johnson and Lisa Sachs, together with Ana Teresa Tavares-Lehmann, have edited a volume entitled “Rethinking Investment Incentives: Trends and Policy Options,” (Columbia University Press, July 2016) which explores the use of incentives by governments worldwide. It discusses efforts at the sub-national, national, and international levels to address the policy and governance challenges that are both driving, and driven by, the use of incentives. As an overall conclusion, this volume suggests that careful investment policies are particularly crucial to guide the strategic and efficient mobilization of public and private resources for improved economic, social and environmental outcomes. Investment incentives may play a useful role, if they are strategically and thoughtfully designed and are based on a robust cost-benefit analysis. This volume arose from the discussions at CCSI’s 2013 Annual Conference on Investment Incentives. View the flyer for ordering information, including an offer to save 30%.Op-ed: TransCanada Lawsuit Highlights Need to Scuttle TPP
On July 16, 2016, MSNBC published an op-ed by Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, Brooke Guven, CCSI’s Legal Researcher on investment law and policy, and Lisa Sachs, CCSI’s Director, entitled “TransCanada Lawsuit Highlights Need to Scuttle TPP.” The authors point to the recent investor-state lawsuit brought under NAFTA by TransCanada against the United States in which TransCanada is claiming $15 billion in damages for President Obama’s 2015 decision to deny TransCanada permission to construct the controversial KeyStone Pipeline. A substantially similar investor-state dispute settlement mechanism is included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and any efforts by the administration to ratify the TPP during the lame-duck presidential session at the end of this year would be a flagrant end-run around the democratic process.Periodic Review in Natural Resource ContractsCCSI’s briefing note on “Periodic Review in Natural Resource Contracts” was re-published in the Spring 2016 edition (Vol. 7 Issue 1) of the Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy of the the OGEES Institute based at the Afe Babalola University in Nigeria. CCSI has examined the use of built-in review periods in extractive industry contracts as a mechanism for managing investor–host-country relations over the duration of a project. We completed a survey of periodic review mechanisms contained in extractive industry contracts to analyze how they have been used to date and understand the purposes for which they may usefully be applied. Our briefing note presents the results of this research, identifies issues that have arisen in practice under these mechanisms, and suggests a new approach to the drafting of these mechanisms in order to assist policy makers seeking to implement such periodic reviews.Emerging Practices in Community Development Agreements
A revised version of CCSI’s briefing note
on “Emerging Practices in Community Development Agreements” was also re-published
in the Spring 2016 edition of the Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy of the the OGEES Institute. A Community Development Agreement (CDA) can be a vital mechanism for ensuring that local communities benefit from large-scale investment projects, such as mines or forestry concessions. The most effective CDAs are also adapted to the local context, meaning that no single model agreement or process will be appropriate in every situation. Nonetheless, leading practices are emerging which can be required by governments or voluntarily adopted by companies and communities. Our briefing note reviews existing research, as well as available agreements from the extractive sector in Australia, Canada, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Ghana and Greenland, to highlight these leading practices. This briefing note is part of a broader CCSI project on CDAs
.The Challenge: How Can Foreign Direct Investment Fulfill Its Development Potential?
CCSI Resident Senior Fellow Karl P. Sauvant published a brief "Challenger Statement
" in the 2016 OECD Development Co-operation Report that lays out three challenges foreign direct investment policy makers need to address: increasing foreign direct investment flows, gearing these flows toward sustainable development and reforming the international investment law and policy regime.How Investment Agreements Can Protect Free Media
Karl P. Sauvant, along with Columbia University President, Lee C. Bollinger, published an article in Project Syndicate entitled “How Investment Agreements Can Protect Free Media
,” on how international investment treaties and trade agreements can be used to protect media from efforts to suppress it.
Executive Training on Sustainable Investments in Agriculture
CCSI held its second annual Executive Training on Sustainable Investments in Agriculture from July 6-15 with 17 participants from 11 countries. This 8-day intensive training brought together participants representing governments, civil society, and social impact investors, with faculty members drawn from within and outside Columbia University. Feedback from the training was very positive, with comments stating that the training “will go a long way in shaping our ideas” and noting appreciation for “the opportunity to share the wealth of knowledge and to meet different people from different countries working in different capacities but all towards sustainable agricultural investments.” The next CCSI training on Sustainable Investments in Agriculture is scheduled to be held at Columbia University in the summer of 2017. Exact dates and additional information will be made available on our website
soon.Executive Training on Investment Arbitration for Government Officials
CCSI also held its second annual Executive Training on Investment Arbitration for Government Officials from August 1-5 in New York with 19 participants from 14 countries. This 5-day intensive training brought together government representatives from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Central and South America. Participation of several attendees was made possible through scholarships provided by Dechert LLP, Foley Hoag LLP, Baker & McKenzie LLP and Winston & Strawn LLP. The next CCSI training on Investment Arbitration for Government Officials is scheduled to be held at Columbia University in the summer of 2017. Dates and more information will be made available soon; check our website here
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