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International Institute for Sustainable Development - Investment Program (IISD)


Established in 1990, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is a non-partisan charitable organization specializing in policy research and analysis and information exchange. Its office in Geneva carries out IISD’s work on Investment and Sustainable Development, which is built upon a track record of solid research on emerging issues and key developments. IISD’s priorities in its Investment Program include:

The IISD Investment Program carries out capacity building and knowledge sharing amongst policy-makers, negotiators, civil society groups, and parliamentarians in relation to international investment treaties, investment contracts and domestic law relating to inward foreign investment by providing advisory services, delivering training, and issuing best practices advisory bulletins.

Negotiation Support General

Regional focus:

Africa, Asia and South America.

Assistance criteria:

Developing country governments. Priority is given to least developed countries.

Sector focus:

  • Domestic and international legal and policy frameworks (including investment treaties and investment contracts);
  • Agriculture and water;
  • Mining; 
  • Clean energy investment;
  • Sustainable industrial policy;
  • Chinese outward investment; 
  • Public procurement;
  • Public private partnerships (PPPs) and infrastructure finance; and
  • Institutional reform of investment law and policy.

Collaboration with partners:

Yes - IISD works with governmental organizations, other service providers and the private sector as needed.

Types of expertise:

Legal expertise: IISD’s in-house lawyers, supplemented as needed by local, regional and international legal experts with specific skill sets, assist developing countries in designing investment law and policy, including treaties and contracts (agriculture, mining, PPPs).

Negotiations strategy: IISD helps develop negotiation strategies for investment treaty and contract negotiations.

Dispute settlement:  IISD advises on investment disputes at the pre-claim stage, including legal opinions on potential claims, negotiation and mediation.

Economic and financial expertise: IISD’s in-house economists and finance experts advise on strategic government spending for sustainable development and achieving value for money (with a focus on public procurement and infrastructure finance).

Environmental and social expertise: IISD’s environmental professionals advise government on integrating environmental and social issues into investment frameworks and projects. 

Number of in-house experts:

10-15 core staff members with over 50 cross-sectoral experts.

Length of involvement:

Both short term and long term involvement. Often, short-term advisory work or site visits are followed by longer term engagement and follow up.

Fee/non-fee based support:

A large part of IISD’s advice to developing countries is on a non-fee basis. In case of insufficient funds, priority is given to least developed countries, and on occasion, countries may be requested to contribute towards reasonable expenses. 

Speed of response:

Rapid – depending on type of assistance required. 

Practical constraints:

IISD’s ability to provide technical support in multiple countries may be constrained  by available financial and human resources.

Types of negotiation support

Setting the Legal & Policy Framework Stage:

Yes - IISD provides advice and training in relation to investment treaties, domestic law and contracts. It also provides sector analyses on mining and agriculture. IISD lawyers also advise on drafting, negotiating and implementing international investment treaties and host government investment contracts, and designing overall legal framework.

Pre-Negotiation Stage:

Yes - IISD assists with the design and implementation of environmental and social impact assessments. IISD also assist with model investment treaties and contracts (especially mining and agriculture).

IISD lawyers:

  • Advise on preparing for the drafting and negotiation of  investment treaties and host government contracts;
  • Prepare legal opinions on international investment law and the domestic legal and policy framework;
  • Assist in structuring tender processes and financial structures; and
  • Train negotiators and government officials at the country-specific and regional levels.

Contract Negotiation Stage:

Yes - In relation to investment treaties and contracts, IISD assists with;

  • the development of a negotiation strategy,
  • assembling a negotiation team,
  • reviewing contractual provisions, and
  • directly participating in negotiations.

Implementation & Monitoring Stage:

Yes - IISD’s legal team assists states in managing potential legal claims arising under contracts by providing legal opinions and advice.

Advancing Knowledge-Sharing and Management:

Yes - IISD has a number of resources freely available:

IISD also provides in-country and regional trainings to developing country governments.

Provider Type:

Support Providers