Guiding Principle 9

States should maintain adequate domestic policy space to meet their human rights obligations when pursuing business-related policy objectives with other States or business enterprises, for instance through investment treaties or contracts.


Economic agreements concluded by States, either with other States or with business enterprises – such as bilateral investment treaties, freetrade agreements or contracts for investment projects – create economic opportunities for States. But they can also affect the domestic policy space of Governments. For example, the terms of international investment agreements may constrain States from fully implementing new human rights legislation, or put them at risk of binding international arbitration if they do so. Therefore, States should ensure that they retain adequate policy and regulatory ability to protect human rights under the terms of such agreements, while providing the necessary investor protection.

What National Action Plans say on Guiding Principle 9