Document Type : Article


1 Associate Prof., Department of International Law, Faculty of Law, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 Ph.D. Candidate in International Law, Faculty of Law, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran



Sustainable development has become the epicenter of collective international policy-making. As such, foreign direct investment, as the empowering engine for SD, has attracted much attention. It is believed that sustainable development cannot be achieved without foreign investment. Traditional international investment agreements have been criticized for protecting foreign investors who deviate from the requirements of sustainable development. This has led to changes in these treaties, which are the subject of the present article. It seems that in the light of the plurality of references to sustainable development in new investment agreements, a balance has been created between the goals of sustainable development and the protection of foreign investors.


  1. English

    1. A) Books
    2. Hindelang, Steffen & Krajewski (2016), Markus, Towards a More Comprehensive Approach in International Investment Law, Oxford University Online.
    3. Klabbers, John, (2013), International Law, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
    4. Sornarajah, M. (2015), Resistance and Change in the International Law on Foreign Investment, Cambridge University Press.
    5. Waibel, Michael and Kaushal, Asha and Liz Chung, Kyo-Hwa and Balchin, Claire (2010), The Backlash against Investment Arbitration, the Netherland, Kluwer Law International.


    1. B) Articles
    2. Beyerlin, Ulrich (2013), “Sustainable Development”, Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Web Edition.
    3. Cotula, Lorenzo (2016), "Foreign Investment, Law and Sustainable Development", International Institute for Environment and Development".
    4. De Luca, Anna (2014), “Integrating non-trade Objectives in the Oncoming EU Investment Policy: What Policy Options for the EU?”, in Takács, Tamra, Ott, Andrea, and Dimopoulos, Angelos (Eds.), Linking Trade and Non-Commercial Interests: The EU as a Global Role Model, Cleer Publications.
    5. De Mestral Armand (2016), “The Evolving Role of the European Union in IIA Treaty-Making”, in De Mestral Armand and Lévesque Céline (eds.), Improving International Investment Agreements, Rutledge, pp. 42-58
    6. Gehring, Markus W. & Kent, Avidan, (2013), "Sustainable Development and IIAs: From Objective to Practice", in De Mestral, Armand and Lévesque, Céline, Improving International Investment Agreements, Routledge, pp. 284–302.
    7. Hober, Kaj (2015), "Investment Treaty Arbitration and Its Future – If Any", Arbitration Law Review: Yearbook on Arbitration and Mediation, Vol. 7, Article 8.
    8. Newcombe, Andrew (2007), "Sustainable Development and Investment Treaty Law", the Journal of World Investment & Trade, Vol 8: Issue 3, pp. 1-71.
    9. Sacerodi, Georgio (2016), “Investment Protection and Sustainable Development: Key Issues”, in Hindelang, Steffen and Krajews, Markus, Shifting Paradigms in International Investment Law: More Balanced, Less Isolated, Increasingly Diversified, Oxford University Press, pp.19-40.
    10. Schreuer, Christoph (2011), "The Future of Investment Arbitration", Looking to the Future, Essays on International Law in Honor of W. Michael Reisman, Brill, pp. 787-803.
    11. Schultz, Thomas & Dupont, Cedric (2015), “Investment Arbitration: Promoting the Rule of Law or Over-Empowering the Investors? A Quantitative Empirical Study”, European Journal of International law, Vol 25 no.4, pp.1147-1168.
    12. Zugliani, Nicole (2019), “Human Rights in International Investment Law: The 2016 Morocco –Nigeria Bilateral Investment Treaty”, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 68(3), pp. 761-770.


    1. C) Case Law
    2. Eli Lilly and Company v. The Government of Canada, UNCITRAL, ICSID Case No UNCT/14/2.
    3. Gabčikovo-Nagymaros Project, Hungary v. Slovakia, ICJ, Judgment on Merits, 1997.
    4. Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay, Argentina v. Uruguay, ICJ, Judgment on Merits, 2010
    5. Responsibilities and obligations of States with respect to activities in the Area, Advisory Opinion, 1 February 2011, ITLOS Reports 2011.
    6. Vattenfall AB and Others V Federal Republic of Germany, ICSID Case No ARB/12/12.


    1. D) Documents
    2. Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Peru for the Promotion and Protection of Investments, 2006.
    3. Agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and the People's Republic of Bangladesh concerning the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments, 1981.
    4. Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, 1995.
    5. Canada Model Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, 2004.
    6. Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada, of the One Part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the Other Part, 2016.
    7. Draft EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, 2019.
    8. Group of Twenty, G20 Leaders Statement: The Pittsburgh Summit, September 24-25, 2009, Pittsburg Annex: Core Values for Sustainable Economic Activity.
    9. International Law Association’s 2002 New Delhi Declaration of Principles of International Law Relating to Sustainable Development.
    10. Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development, UNCTAD/DIAE/PCB/2015/5.
    11. Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, 4 September 2002.
    12. North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA"), 1992.
    13. Notice concerning the provisional application of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada, of the one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part, OJ L 238, 2017.
    14. Our Common Future, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), "World Commission on Environment and Development", UNGA Res 42/427 (4th August 1987).
    15. Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of Regulation (EU) No 1219/2012 establishing transitional arrangements for bilateral investment agreements between Member States and third countries, COM (2020) 134 Final, 6 April 2020.
    16. Responsible Leadership for a Sustainable Future, Group of Eight, 2009.
    17. Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, UNGA/CONF.151/26 Vol I (12 August 1992).
    18. Treaty on the European Union, 2007.
    19. Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, 1957.
    20. U.S. Model Bilateral Investment Treaty, 2012.
    21. UNCTAD Report (2018). "Safeguarding policy space and Mobilizing Investment for a Green Economy".
    22. UNCTAD, "Bilateral Investment Treaties 1959 – 2000".
    23. UNCTAD, "Fact Sheet on Investor–State Dispute Settlement Cases in 2018".
    24. United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Agenda 21: Program of Action for Sustainable Development (United Nations 1992).
    25. United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), ‘World Commission on Environment and Development’ UNGA Res 42/87 (11 December 1987).
    26. United Nations General Assembly Resolution, A/RES/52/2, 18 September 2000, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
    27. United Nations General Assembly, A/RES/70/1, 21 October 2015, Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
    28. United Nations General Assembly, Declaration on the Right to Development, A/RES/41/128, 4 December 1986.
    29. World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Johannesburg, South Africa, 2002.


    1. E) Websites:
    2., last visited on 9 February 2020


    References in Persian:

    1. A) Articles
    2. Eftekhar Jahromi, Goudarz (2009), Human Rights, Environment and Sustainable Development, Majale Tahghighat Hoghoughi (Legal Research Quaarterly of Shahid Beheshti University), Vol. (No.) 12, Issue 50, pp 7-24 (In Persian).
    3. Mir Mohammadi, Seyed Mostafa & Jahani Pour, Mohammad Reza (2018), Principles of Sustainable Development in The Jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice and the Internattional Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Comparative Law Review, Tehran University, Vol. (No.) 8, Issue 2, pp. 799-819 (In Persian).
    4. Nikbakht, Hamid Reza; Beykmohammadi, Meysam & Bagheri Farhad (2020), Legal Approach to New Arrangements in Foreign Investment and its Impact on Sustainable Development, Public Law Studies Quarterly, Tehran University, Vol. (No.) 50, Issue. 1, pp. 217-237 (In Persian).


    1. B) Documents
    2. Bilateral Investment Agreement between The Islamic Republic of Iran and Luxemburg, 14 February 2017, Ratification Date 14 May 2018 (In Persian).