The Mauritius Convention: Boosting transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration
This week, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)’s third working group on Investor-State Dispute Settlement reform gathered in New York. Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is a mechanism through which foreign investors can sue the government of a State if they feel the rights associated with their investments in this country are being violated. Unfortunately, discussions within the working group mostly focus on procedural reforms without addressing the substantive reservations.
Over the years, Both ENDS and other civil society organisations have strongly criticised ISDS because we are opposed to the creation of separate courts for investor, to the primacy of investment law over human rights law and environmental law and the mechanism’s complete lack of transparency. Therefore, we would rather see it eliminated altogether. However, in the current state of affairs with more than 3000 international investment agreements in force worldwide, most of which contain ISDS, this will not happen overnight.
That is why Both ENDS points to the Mauritius Convention, drafted by UNCITRAL and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2014. This little known instrument can immediately strengthen transparency and inclusiveness in ISDS. It has the potential to achieve a standard of transparency in investor-State arbitration. The purpose of this paper is to spark a discussion on the usefulness and importance of the Mauritius Convention for civil society organisations.
You might want to sign the petition against ISDS yourself.