Commercial pressures and legal rights: 'Land grabbing', human rights and international investment law

Dr Lorenzo Cotula (IIED) 7 February, 15.00-17.00. Lord Hope Building, 228

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As commercial pressures on the world's land and natural resources intensify, international law provides increasingly resorted to arenas for negotiation and contestation. While presenting important commonalities in legal concepts and normative content, international investment law and international human rights law protect different and possibly competing rights, reflect different balances of commercial and non-commercial considerations, and embody different standards of legal protection. The expanding frontiers of natural resource extraction can bring different land claims, and different conceptions of land, directly into tension. In this context, the articulation between investment law and human rights law influences the ways in which international law mediates competition for the world's natural resources, redefining the balance between public and private interests and reshaping spaces for the lawful exercise of state sovereignty. This presentation discusses recent trends in transnational land relations, the role of international law in mediating those relations, and the implications for action-research programmes to strengthen local rights in investment processes.