Chapter 20 Reform of international investment agreements and sustainable development: contrasting the EU and Global South approaches
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The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development prominently supports that foreign investment and sustainable development are closely linked allies that mutually reinforce each other. While the term “sustainable development” has first been defined in the 1987 “Brundtland Report”, the UN 2030 Agenda is the most recent step to formulate various strategies to harmonize the three dimensions of sustainable development, namely economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection to eradicate poverty in all its forms. For the EU, the 2007 Lisbon Treaty establishes “sustainable economic, social and environmental development of developing countries“ as a foreign policy goal that the EU must consider when regulating external trade and investment. Both the European Commission’s Trade for All Strategy and its Reflection Paper on Harnessing Globalization have developed strategies to implement this goal. All Trade and Investment Agreements (TIAs) concluded since Lisbon contain “Trade and Sustainable Development” (TSD) chapters to ensure that the economic relations between the EU and its partners do not impede the implementation of sustainable development. However, despite the constant attempts to reconcile trade, investment, and sustainable development, it remains questionable whether and to what extent these EU foreign policy instruments contribute to realizing sustainable development.

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