UN World Investment Report Cites Law School Symposium

Lexington, VA Friday, August 06, 2010

Susan D. Franck
The World Investment Report 2010, the flagship annual publication of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)'s Division of Investment and Enterprise, discusses an international law conference held at Washington and Lee this past spring. 

The 2010 report highlights the importance of international dispute settlement as a way to promote sustainable international development opportunities and relies heavily on the value of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for finding new and creative ways for managing and minimizing investment-related conflict. 

It was this precise topic that was the focus of a joint symposium held on March 29 in Lexington and hosted by W&L and UNCTAD, the arm of the United Nations focused on foreign investment and development. The Joint Symposium brought together more than 80 scholars, practitioners, and government officials from all over the world to explore the prevention and efficient management of investment treaty disputes.

Professor Susan Franck, one of the Joint Symposium organizers, notes that is highly unusual for an academic conference to receive mention in a publication like the World Investment Report.

"Typically, UNCTAD publications refer to economic analyses or other systemic reports," says Franck.  "The inclusion of joint symposium and the materials created for that event set W&L's efforts apart from traditional academic conferences and make us part of an elite group." 

The report makes specific reference to the rapportuer reports, which were prepared by W&L law students.  These reports synthesized and analyzed the online discussions that occurred within a secure blog prior to the conference in Lexington. The blog helped bridge the geographical gap between symposium participants who were spread out across the globe.

Now in its 20th edition, the World Investment Report gives special attention this year to issues related to law-carbon investment, seen as a promising area of economic growth especially in the world's poorer countries. The report concludes that the nosedive in foreign direct investment (FDI) caused by the global recession bottomed out towards the end of 2009, and a modest recovery has taken hold over the first half of this year.

The report predicts that FDI inflows will rise to over US$1.2 trillion in 2010, and continue to expand in 2011 and 2012. However, the reports says this resurgence depends on continuation of the so-far fragile economic growth that has followed the global downturn. The report is available online at http://www.unctad.org/wir.

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