International investment agreements (IIAs) and climate action


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and IIED organised a webinar on international investment agreements and climate action on 4 February 2022.

Last updated 29 March 2022
The edge of a cliff falls away into the water.

Climate impacts, such as increased erosion and the loss of land, are being felt across the globe (Photo: Ivars Kukainis via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

This event brought together experts and stakeholders from government, international organisations, civil society and academia to discuss the reform of the international investment agreements (IIAs) regime for climate change goals.

The objective was to share views, experiences and practices on how to ensure that the IIA regime does not hinder governments from implementing measures to mitigate climate change and accelerate a transition towards green investments.

It also explored solutions for making existing and future IIAs more conducive to investments that have a positive contribution on the Sustainable Development Goals.

The webinar was organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and IIED.


Welcoming remarks: UNCTAD/IIED

  • James Zhan, director, Investment and Enterprise Division, UNCTAD
  • Andrew Norton, director, IIED

Session 1: Accelerating IIA reform for climate action

Moderator: Clare Shakya, director, Climate Change research group, IIED

  • Hamed El-Kady, Coordinator, International Investment Agreements Sections/Josef Ostransky, Consultant, UNCTAD
  • Martin Dietrich Brauch, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), Lorenzo Cotula/Thierry Berger (IIED) and Suzy Nikièma, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
  • Surya Deva, member, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, and professor, Macquarie Law School, Australia

Session 2: Sharing of experiences on IIA reform

Moderator: Hamed El-Kady, UNCTAD

  • Kekeletso Lorraine Mashigo, director, legal, international trade, investment, dispute settlement, Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, South Africa
  • Roslyn Ng’eno, senior investment expert, African Union Commission
  • Patience Okala, director, legal services, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Nigeria
  • Chantal Ononaiwu, trade policy and legal specialist, Office of Trade Negotiations, CARICOM Secretariat
  • Dorieke Overduin, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Netherlands
  • Mohamed Abdel Gawad, Minister Plenipotentiary (Commercial), head of sector, multilateral cooperation with UN and IFIs, Ministry of International Cooperation, Egypt
  • David Gaukrodger, senior legal advisor, OECD

Session 3: Solutions for the way forward

Moderator: Lisa Sachs, director, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI)

  • Olabisi D. Akinkugbe, assistant professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, co-founding editor, Afronomicslaw
  • Azar Aliyev, associate professor for International Economic Law and Comparative Law, Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg
  • Amnon Lehavi, professor, Harry Radzyner Law School (Reichman University), former co-president, Law School Global League
  • Alicia Nicholls, research fellow, Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services, The University of the West Indies
  • Nicolás M. Perrone, research associate, Professor of International Law, Andrés Bello National University
  • Tara Van Ho, senior lecturer, School of Law and Human Rights Centre, co-director, Essex Business and Human Rights Project, co-president, Global Business and Human Rights Scholars Association, Essex Law School

Closing remarks

Hamed El Kady, UNCTAD, and Lorenzo Cotula, IIED

Event coverage

After the webinar, UNCTAD and IIED produced a policy brief based on the discussions at the event. The publication highlights key policy recommendations aimed at supporting the reform of IIAs in order to advance climate goals.



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Jérémy Davis, senior communications coordinator, IIED's Natural Resources research group