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China’s foreign investment legal regime encompasses domestic laws governing inward and outward investments, investment treaties and the Belt and Road Initiative. Can China’s foreign investment legal regime lead its two-way investments towards the country’s five development goals (building technological capacity, deepening integration into the global economy, promoting green development, protecting security, and participating in global economic governance and rule-making)? Yawen Zheng pioneers a systematic study of China’s foreign investment legal regime, finding that the regime has gradually made progress towards the development goals, but the effort is diluted by obstacles such as outdated treaties, conflicts with the West, and domestic political challenges.
Volume Editor:
Volume 39 of the Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs publishes scholarly articles and essays on international and transnational law, as well as compiles official documents on the state practice of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 2021. The Yearbook publishes on multidisciplinary topics with a focus on international and transnational law issues regarding the Republic of China (Taiwan), Mainland China, and ASEAN.
Approaching the Global Competition and the Russian War against the West
Volume Editor:
By comparing the great-powers’ foreign policy, this book investigates the global competition and revisionist attempts to dismantle the Western liberal order. Since February 2022, the international system has been challenged by the Russian invasion in Ukraine and its profound, multiple consequences.Putin’s War has reinvented the West. But still, this is not “the end of history”. To illustrate that tensions between democratic and autocratic great powers are nowadays at their peak since the end of the Cold War, one should consider President Biden’s words in Warsaw, referring to President Putin: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power!”
Composed of original articles from academics and policy notes from practitioners, this book attempts to draw up the state of multilateralism through the UN model and identify potential ways to address its challenges and shortcomings. The contributors question the role of multilateralism, sometimes accused of being fragmented, inefficient and unrepresentative, and its impact on global governance, democracy, trade and investment, the environment, and human rights. Since most of the authors are not from the UN system, the content of the contributions provides an external and more neutral assessment of the UN’s ability to continue to function today as a serious actor within a global movement in favor of a renewed form of multilateralism.

Abstract

More than ever, the United Nations is facing global environmental threats, due to poor governance strategy and various obstacles related to multilateralism. Environmental problems are, by definition, transboundary issues. This chapter will focus on one of the main challenges of environmental law and governance: biodiversity loss. The conservation of biodiversity has been recognized as a common concern of humanity. Nevertheless, even if a vast majority of UN member states agree on the importance of tackling environmental issues such as this one, the lack of binding regulations and good implementation leads to poor results.

Using Sustainable Development Goals 14 and 15, I will discuss governance and legal issues concerning the identified goals, and the international community’s capacity to meet them in practice. One of the major problems concerning biodiversity conservation is the multiplication of instruments contained in its legal regime as well as the overlap of actors involved. This chapter will also evaluate the upcoming challenges that the world and the United Nations will have to solve in the next decades in terms of biodiversity challenges at a multilateral level.

Open Access
In: Does the UN Model Still Work? Challenges and Prospects for the Future of Multilateralism

Abstract

The chapter will explore two specific challenges that the UN must face in this new era of environmental degradation and climate crisis, which depart from the issues it was prepared to face when it was founded. Nowadays, after 75 years of work by universal and regional bodies, regional human rights courts such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have taken important steps toward the protection of the environment, with new regional treaties or with creative connections between regional human rights charters and the protection of the environment. These developments need to be observed, appraised and included in the universal efforts led by the UN, and a closer universal – regional dialogue is needed.

Regarding a second issue, the underrepresentation of indigenous peoples, their rights and their environmental agendas is still a challenge both at the UN and the local level. Securing active, permanent and effective representation of indigenous peoples in international bodies is vital for understanding different perspectives and solutions for particular environmental issues and climate change.

Open Access
In: Does the UN Model Still Work? Challenges and Prospects for the Future of Multilateralism
Author:

Abstract

In recent years, scholars’ attention to changes of government toward non-democratic variants has increased. The studies to date crystallize around a consensus that the modes of democratic regression in the post-Cold War period differ from the previous ones and that the prevailing archetype for this period is democratic erosion marked by two characteristics: first, a gradual and incremental process distinct from abrupt breakdowns such as coups d’état, executive coups or revolutions; and second, the process is implemented by legally elected incumbents by legal means or upholding the façade of legal means. In fact, quantitative measurement corroborates that 70 percent of the cases of autocratization after 1994 occurred on account of democratic erosion.

So far, scholars have set out to describe and explain this process of gradual democratic erosion on a domestic level. This chapter will take a different perspective and ask: What foreign policy implications does the fact that countries are in a process of democratic erosion have on the international level? Departing from an actor-centered approach, the argument is that the protagonist of democratic erosion, the erosion agent, might link her or his domestic mission to missions on the regional or international level. That means that in the same way that erosion agents strive to change the rules of the game domestically, they strive to change the rules of regional politics or even might try to influence the international level.

This chapter looks at cases of democratic erosion and the activities of their incumbents on the regional and international level and traces in what way and to what degree the erosion agents did change foreign policy approaches and introduce new foreign policy elements. The sample for this study embraces the following countries: Venezuela, Russia, Hungary and Poland, as well as the United States under President Trump.

Open Access
In: Does the UN Model Still Work? Challenges and Prospects for the Future of Multilateralism

Abstract

Brazil is facing a very difficult moment due to the chaotic institutional relationships in many sectors of politics and the economy. When we focus on the environmental sector, the situation is the same: a severe crisis, specifically regarding climate change policies. In the recent past, during the Conference of Parties (COP 21) in Paris (2015), when the Paris Agreement was adopted, Brazil set an important target to reduce national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 36–38 percent GHG reduction below the national baseline in 2005. Today, reaching these targets is under serious threat.

Naturally, a large part of these targets refer to GHG reduction associated with land use, land use change and forestry. These are the biggest challenges in this country. However, the challenge to reduce industrial and fleet GHG emissions has become increasingly important to Brazil. São Paulo has been preparing policies to deal with these challenges and applying them. In 2012, the government introduced a subnational policy for 29 activities of the industrial sector demanding the realization of such GHG inventory and reporting them to the Environmental Agency (CETESB). This was a pioneering action in a country where carbon dioxide is not a regulated pollutant. The main objective was to reinforce the monitoring of GHG inventory in industrial plants in the state.

Thus, São Paulo has implemented a new innovative policy, the São Paulo Environment Agreement. This Agreement is entirely voluntary, without any legal liability. The initiative was launched in November 2019 and was adopted by 55 subscribers, including companies in the private sector and associations. Furthermore, in 2021, the Agreement was still expanding and included 193 subscribers. Its objectives are to stimulate new areas of the private sector to adopt and increase sustainable practices; to facilitate access to markets that enforce high standards and low carbon emissions in products and services; and to contribute to the maintenance of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets from the Paris Agreement. The adoption of this voluntary Agreement should be well researched in order to provide a better understanding of the policies and results that can be expected from it.

Open Access
In: Does the UN Model Still Work? Challenges and Prospects for the Future of Multilateralism
Author:

Abstract

The Arctic Ocean has become a geopolitical core area and the interests of many nations are driven by the consequences and opportunities of climate change. These fast-developing consequences have changed all perspectives. Despite accelerated warming, the Arctic will remain a very dangerous, challenging and unpleasant place for maritime, air and land activities. There will be a perfect storm every year.

The strategic importance of the Arctic has increased. Five countries are littoral states to the Arctic Ocean: Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway, Russia and the United States. A total of eight countries, including Finland, Iceland and Sweden, form the Arctic Council, the forum dealing with all Arctic issues with the exception of security and defense. The Council is based on multilateralism. Impressive achievements include four agreements for good governance in the Arctic.

The important perspectives are climate change, resource exploitation, military build-up and exercises, and the Arctic as a habitat. Military power projection is already a serious issue and needs more awareness. The Arctic can no longer be considered in isolation from what is emerging in other regions, and the tensions between Russia and China on the one hand, and the West on the other, have already had an impact on what is happening in the Arctic region: Resource exploitation and transiting the Northern Sea Route are the highest priority for Russia and China; the issue of nuclear waste in the Arctic Ocean and ashore is threatening and a global concern; sovereign rights of Canada and Russia inside territorial waters are disputed; and Greenland and Svalbard deserve greater attention. The process of major changes will continue in the Arctic region, and a key aspect is the understanding of, on the one hand, how to protect the Arctic Region and, on the other hand, how to use the resources that are accessible due to climate change and new technology.

Open Access
In: Does the UN Model Still Work? Challenges and Prospects for the Future of Multilateralism

Abstract

Can we speak of a rule of law in the multilateral system of trade and investment? This chapter focuses on a contemporary analysis of the rule of law, one that has strayed from its original purpose: to ensure that the equality of any individual or government prevails, before the law. By this, we mean a rule of law that is increasingly being used selectively to favor the interests of certain governments and companies over others.

This analysis examines how the original subject of the rule of law, that is, the individual, has been replaced by economic entities personified in corporations and how the agreements for the protection of foreign investment are the most useful instrument for companies to discipline the self-determination of governments.

Open Access
In: Does the UN Model Still Work? Challenges and Prospects for the Future of Multilateralism