Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 11/2012

Absent from the discussion: The other half of investment promotion

Lise Johnson

September 2012

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment


As UNCTAD highlighted over a decade ago and again recently in its Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development, home-country measures (HCMs), like host-country commitments regarding the protection of foreign investors, are tools of promoting foreign investment. Nevertheless, the vast bulk of investment treaties, which state the promotion of foreign investment as their objective, overlook the potential role of HCMs and focus rather singularly on setting out the obligations of host countries regarding the treatment of foreign investors. Even recent agreements and model investment treaties that should represent “next generation” practices incorporating accumulated learning about the impacts and effectiveness of these treaties remain relatively devoid of any obligation for governments to facilitate or promote the quantity and quality of outward investment that many countries want and need for sustainable development.