International investment rulemaking continues to intensify and proliferate at the bilateral, regional, interregional and multilateral levels. Under the pressure of economic, social and environmental crises, it is widely recognized that inclusive growth and sustainable development need to be placed at the core of international investment policymaking.
This requires that policymakers, negotiators, civil society and other stakeholders are well informed about foreign direct investment (FDI), IIAs and their impact on sustainable development.
The IIA Section responds to these needs assisting countries to strengthen the sustainable development dimension of IIAs, to balance the rights and obligations of States and investors and to manage the complexity of the IIA system.
The IIA Section is guided by the mandates given by its member States.
In 2008, the Accra Accord established UNCTAD's IIA Section as the key focal point in the United Nations system for dealing with all matters related to IIAs (paragraph 151).
In 2012, the Doha Mandate re-affirmed and built upon the Accra Accord, which was "anchored by the three pillars of UNCTAD: policy analysis, consensus-building and technical cooperation" (paragraph 17).
More specifically related to IIAs, paragraph 65 (k) of the Doha Mandate calls upon UNCTAD to:
"undertake analytical work on international investment agreements, weighing the interests of all stakeholders, and continue to provide technical assistance, as well as fostering the international sharing of experiences and best practices on key issues relating to their negotiation and implementation".