CRCICA hosted and co-organized the OECD-EU Regional Seminar on “Investment Dispute Management and Prevention” on 26-27 June 2018 and the OECD national workshop on “Investment Dispute Management and Prevention in Egypt”, supported by the Middle East and North Africa Transition Fund, on 28 June 2018.
The Regional Seminar was held in the context of the EU-OECD Programme on Promoting Investment in the Mediterranean, which aims at supporting the implementation of sound investment policies and effective institutions in the Southern Mediterranean region.
With international investment disputes on the rise, notably in MED countries, and increasing concerns regarding Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms, the aim of the regional seminar was to build capacities of participating government representatives to deal with and to prevent disputes between foreign investors and the State. Discussions focused on ISDS trends and challenges in the Mediterranean region, while recalling current debates and developments at the global level. A session on the main steps of the dispute settlement process was conducted with practitioners, followed by a peer-learning session on the establishment of policies and mechanisms for the prevention of investment disputes, to avoid escalation into judicial or arbitration cases, merging the different countries’ experiences.
The seminar was well attended by over 140 participants including government officials, private sector representatives from the region, representatives from international organizations, peers and international legal experts from EU countries, OECD experts and academia. All eight beneficiary countries of the Programme (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia) were represented. Other countries represented were: France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Republic of Lithuania, the U.S.A and Djibouti.
The regional seminar was followed by the national workshop, on 28 June 2018, which was organized under the MENA Transition Fund project on “Enhancing the investment climate in Egypt”. This project, implemented jointly by the OECD and the World Bank, aims at enhancing the investment framework in Egypt and at supporting the Government in designing a new investment policy and legal framework, and in strengthening its international investment regime.
The workshop aimed at building capacities of Egyptian government officials to deal with disputes between foreign investors and the State whether through management or prevention. It followed upon a workshop on the same topic held in March 2016 with counsellors, judges, legal experts and policy makers from Ministry of Justice and economic courts, State Council, Ministry of Investment and GAFI (conclusions available).
The program gave an overview of investment dispute cases that arose in Egypt in the last decade and their implications for Egypt and reviewed the management of the dispute settlement process focusing on the Egyptian practices and mechanisms while looking at other countries’ experiences and possible options for further rationalization of the institutional mechanisms established in Egypt.
Participants of the workshop comprised judiciary and government legal experts from the Egyptian Ministries of Justice, Investment and International Cooperation, Foreign Affairs, GAFI and other relevant institutions that are dealing with investors.