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Land deals and investment treaties: visualising the interface

Lorenzo Cotula, Thierry Berger

Report/paper, 32 pages

International investment treaties are an important part of the legal frameworks governing foreign investment. This report measures the extent to which investment treaties apply to agribusiness investments initiated as part of the recent wave of large-scale land deals in low and middle-income countries. It finds that the vast majority of land deals are protected by at least one investment treaty. Depending on circumstances, public action to terminate, renegotiate or regulate land deals could expose states to the risk of treaty-based arbitration claims in a wide range of geographic contexts. More research is needed to shed light on the extent to which investors are actually relying on these treaties, and with what results.

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

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Cotula, L. (2015) Land rights and investment treaties: Visualising the interface. IIED, London

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Commercial land concessions may be protected under international investment treaties, with important implications for local land relations. Securing land rights requires tackling these global dimensions.

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Land rights and investment treaties

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