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Bringing community perspectives to investor-state arbitration: the Pac Rim case

With over 3,000 investment treaties worldwide and a growing number of investor-state arbitrations, the need and opportunities for bringing community perspectives in investment disputes can only be expected to rise in the coming years. Civil society organisations can play an important role in carrying and strengthening community voices in arbitration processes, by making submissions to arbitral tribunals.

This publication distils lessons from the experience of La Mesa, a coalition of community organisations, research institutes and environmental, human rights and faith-based non-profit organisations advocating on metals mining in El Salvador. Through its submissions in the Pac Rim arbitration, La Mesa provided different perspectives on the case from those presented by the disputing parties, bringing to the arbitral tribunal’s attention the ongoing democratic debate in El Salvador in relation to metals mining and sustainable development.

This paper has been produced under IIED’s Legal tools for citizen empowerment project.

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Orellana, M. et al (2015) Bringing community perspectives to investor-state arbitration: Experience from civil society submissions in the Pac Rim case. IIED, London.

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There are growing calls to reform international investment law, but how can we ensure that the people affected by these decisions are part of the debate?

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