UNCTAD: Treaties play important role for investments in sustainable energy

In his keynote speech at the Stockholm Energy Charter Treaty Forum on 8 February, the Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) of UNCTAD Joakim Reiter stressed the need for energy investments, and highlighted the potential of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) and other investment treaties to meet the rising demand for sustainable energy. Mr. Reiter also shared UNCTAD’s three policy lessons on investment agreements.

DSG Reiter pointed out that with almost a fifth of the world’s population lacking access to electricity, the challenge of eradicating the energy poverty is essential in tackling other dimensions of poverty. Mr Reiter referred to an estimated annual $2.5 trillion financing gap in developing countries, of which investments in sustainable energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy make up a large part.

The Energy Charter Treaty, (ECT), as the only multilateral agreement providing a legal framework for energy governance and investment, can play an important role in fostering a sustainable energy future, the DSG continued, and added: 

“We need to adjust the "model", reflecting our experiences with past investment agreements. […] The question is not about whether to reform investment agreements, but about the what, the how, and the extent of such reform.”

For this, DSG Reiter proposed three broad policy lessons from UNCTAD on investment agreements, all pointing in a direction of change:

"First, there are limits to what agreements can achieve. Second, investment agreements cannot be seen in isolation. And third, investment agreements must better balance the rights of investors with the rights of states to regulate."

Read the full speech here:

DSG UNCTAD, Joakim Reiter: Keynote speech - Stockholm Energy Charter Treaty Forum 8 February

 Read more:

ECT Forum: The future of energy investment

The Stockholm Energy Charter Treaty Forum is organized by the SCC, in collaboration with the Energy Charter Secretariatthe International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).