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Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment
15 June 2023
In recent decades, thousands of bilateral and multilateral trade and investment treaties have been negotiated by States. The overwhelming majority of these treaties include Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms, which enable foreign investors to sue States for taking actions that adversely affect the value of their investments.
In the context of the triple planetary crisis, these ISDS mechanisms undermine States’ ability to enact, implement and enforce the stronger climate and environmental measures needed to respect, protect and fulfil the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. States have already been ordered, by international arbitration panels, to pay more than $100 billion to corporations in the coal, oil, gas, electricity and mining industries. Taking the actions needed to comply with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Paris Agreement, the Convention on Biodiversity, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and other environmental commitments could force States to pay more than one trillion dollars in compensation to foreign investors. Even the threat of being targeted by these cases is blocking more ambitious action urgently needed to address the climate crisis, reduce pollution, protect biodiversity and safeguard the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
The Special Rapporteur is seeking inputs on this topic from States, rightsholders, foreign investors and other businesses and other stakeholders through responses to the questions below. Your replies will inform the Special Rapporteur’s analysis and contribute to his report, which will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly in October 2023.
The Special Rapporteur invites and welcomes your answers to the following questions:
Your replies will inform the Special Rapporteur’s analysis and contribute to his report, which will be presented to the UN General Assembly in October 2023:
Please send your responses to the questionnaire in Word format by email to
However, submissions will also be accepted via regular mail at the following address:
UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment
Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
We kindly request that your submission be concise and limited to a maximum of 5 pages (or 2,000 words) and welcome the inclusion of links to online documents.
Due to a limited capacity for translation, we also request that your inputs be submitted in English, French, or Spanish.
To avoid unnecessary duplication: if you have recently replied to other questionnaires from UN human rights mechanisms (or other international bodies) with information that would be relevant to this request as well, we welcome your directing us to those replies.
The deadline for submission is 15 June 2023.
All submissions will be made publicly available and posted on the Special Rapporteur’s homepage at the OHCHR website