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The Protection of Indigenous Cultural Heritage in International Investment Law and Arbitration

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)

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Abstract

The protection of cultural heritage is a fundamental public interest that is
closely connected to fundamental human rights and is deemed to be among
the best guarantees of international peace and security. Economic globalization
and international economic governance have spurred a more intense dialogue
and interaction among nations—potentially promoting cultural diversity and
providing the funds to recover and preserve cultural heritage. However, these
phenomena can also jeopardise cultural heritage. Foreign direct investments in
the extraction of natural resources have the potential to change cultural landscapes and erase memory, and foreign investments in the cultural industries can induce cultural homogenization. In parallel, international investment law constitutes a legally binding and highly effective regime that demands that states promote and facilitate foreign direct investment. Does the existing legal framework adequately protect indigenous cultural heritage vis-à-vis the economic interests of foreign investors? This chapter aims to address this question by examining recent arbitrations and proposing legal tools to foster a better balance between economic and cultural interests in international investment law and arbitration.