The Protection of Cultural Heritage in International Investment Treaties and Arbitrations

Activity: Talk or presentationConference PresentationsResearch

Alessandra Asteriti - Speaker

    The last sixty years have seen the rise of a whole new area of public international law, dedicated to the protection of foreign direct investment; the conclusion of international investment agreements has been accompanied by the development of a sophisticated system of dispute resolution underpinned by the multilateral International Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes. International investors have been ableto avail themselves of this system both to protect their contractual rights and, since the first investment treaty arbitration decided in 1990, their rights protected in international investment agreements.The protection of cultural heritage has equally received the attention of the international legislators, thanks in great measure to the work of the UNESCO and the standards of protection guaranteed by its three main Conventions dedicated to the protection of cultural heritage, intangible heritage and cultural diversity.There has been little attention given to the potential conflict or conversly harmonisation of these distinct regimes, nothwistandingthe increased awareness of the fragmentation potential of international law, and the recent attempts at providing a reconciliation narrative, away from fragmentation, of the international legal project.This paper will provide an overview of the provisions in international investment agreements that pay respect to the protection of cultural heritage and to the arbitration awards where issues related to cultural heritage have been raised either by investors involved in cultural projects or by host States asdefences against an investment claim, such as the Southern Pacific Properties v Egypt, Malaysian Historical Salvors v Malaysia and Parkerings v Lithuaniacases.
    The paper will assess whether international investment arbitration can accommodate cultural heritage issues and whether the economic globalisation rationale that underpins international economic law can finally recognise cultural heritage as a resource and not an obstacleto development.


    UNESCO World Heritage Between Education and Economy: A Legal Analysis


    Ravenna, Italy

    Event: Conference

      Research areas

    • Law