Environmental Impact Statements and Public Participation
in International Investment Law
Abstract: This article examines how environmental guidelines in international investment law instruments implement public participation as a means of assessing the environmental risk in a foreign investment project. The paper first explores international development banks, including the World Bank group and various regional development banks which have included environmental assessment as a condition of financing for foreign direct investment in the developing world. Secondly, it considers the relatively weak regime of environmental assessment that appears in bilateral investment treaties. More comprehensive rules mandating public participation in advance of establishment as a feature of bilateral investment treaties is recommended. This could be achieved without violating national treatment commitments through an overall transparency requirement, or as a pre-condition to accessing advantageous dispute settlement provisions.
* Senior Lecturer, The City Law School, City University London; Parsons Visiting Fellow, University of Sydney Law School. The author would like to thank Kate Miles and Luke Nottage of the University of Sydney Law School for helpful comments on an earlier draft.