Warning! Javascript is disabled. Please enable javascript for a completly functioning application.

Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development


Pooling UNCTAD's cumulative expertise on national and international investment policymaking, the Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development (IPFSD) responds to a fast-changing international investment landscape where new issues relate to:

  1. Evolving economic geography;
  2. Policy coherence and effectiveness;
  3. Systemic flaws in the current system;
  4. The need to mainstream "sustainability" in investment strategies.

To facilitate the development of a new generation of investment policies, the IPFSD addresses these new challenges in line with the objective to make investment work for sustainable development and inclusive growth.

The IPFSD consists of a set of Core Principles for investment policy-making and translates them into:

  1. Guidelines for national policies;
  2. Options for international investment agreements.

The IPFSD is meant to be the point of reference for all investment stakeholders, gathering in one handbook a comprehensive list of options designed to support rule-makers in shaping modern investment policies.

Can't load video.

Get Adobe Flash player

Core Principles

The Core Principles for Investment Policy-making aim to guide the development of national and international investment policy.

They call for integrating investment policy into overall development strategies, enhancing sustainable development as part of investment policies, balancing rights and obligations of States and investors in the context of investment protection and promotion, including CSR into investment policy-making, and encouraging international cooperation on investment-related challenges.

The Core Principles are not a set of rules per se. They are an integral part of the IPFSD which attempts to convert them, collectively and individually, into a concrete set of guidelines for national investment policymakers and for negotiators of IIAs.


National Investment Policy Guidelines

The National Investment Policy Guidelines convert the Core Principles into specific policy advises. They are organized in four sections:

1. Strategy, aiming to ensure integration of investment policy in overall development strategy

2. Investment policy ‘stricto sensu’

3. Investment-related policy areas (e.g. trade, taxation)

4. Investment policy effectiveness

While the national guidelines in the IPFSD are meant to establish a generally applicable setting for investment-related policy-making, they cannot provide a “one-size-fits-all” solution for all economies. Countries have different development strategies and any policy guide must acknowledge these divergences.


Policy Options for IIAs

The policy options for international investment agreements present suggestions on how the Core Principles for Investment Policy-making could be reflected in international investment agreements.

To this end, the Framework contains a broad variety of policy options covering the whole range of policy issues dealt with in IIAs.

The IPFSD's compilation of policy options available to IIA negotiators includes both mainstream treaty approaches as well as more idiosyncratic language used by fewer countries and UNCTAD’s own suggestions to foster sustainable development.

Each section is accompanied by a brief commentary on the various drafting possibilities which highlights – where appropriate – implications for sustainable development.



IPFSD Article image
H.E. Rob Davies Trade and Industry Minister of South Africa
UNCTAD provides the policy know-how for moving from a traditional investment model to a new sustainable model.
IPFSD Article image
Prof. Jeffrey Sachs Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on the Millennium Development Goals and Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University
The IPFSD is an extremely important document of UNCTAD, one that we have to help put into life and practice...


  • IPFSD, the UNCTAD Road Map to Spearhead Reform of the IIA Regime
    20/11/2013
  • IPFSD - Basis for Methodology to Evaluate IIAs
    14/11/2013
  • IPFSD Considered to Steer Change to IIA Regime
    13/11/2013