Vi coordinator at the Belarus State Economic University (BSEU), Alena Petrushkevich, attended the first regional course on international investment agreements (IIAs) and investment disputes for transition economies held in Minsk, 16-25 July 2007.
The course, organized by UNCTAD's International Investment Arrangements Section, with the support of the government of and UNDP Minsk, was attended by 22 participants from 15 countries in Eastern and Southern Europe and Central Asia. General areas covered included key issues relevant to the analysis and negotiation of IIAs, the impact of recent dispute-settlement cases, investment dispute settlement mechanisms, and arbitration procedures.
The course consisted of interactive presentations by negotiators of IIAs, specialists from international organizations, academics, and IIA practitioners, and a simulated negotiation of a comprehensive investment arrangement. According to Petrushkevich, it "was unique because of its concept and the high quality of teaching encompassing both theoretical and empirical issues. It was intensive, coherent, concise and interesting and resulted in useful suggestions of measures for the strengthening of national legislation systems of transition countries in conformity with international rules."
The University already has graduate and post-graduate programmes in the area of investment, which it intends to strengthen further. The knowledge and materials from the course will thus allow enhancing and updating lectures on international investment rulemaking issues and IIAs in courses on International Investment, and International Economics. They will also feed into Petrushkevich's work as a member of the Working Group on the Improvement of Investment Legislation under the Foreign Investment Advisory Council of Belarus.
Another avenue towards strengthening investment education at the BSEU is the Vi project of local adaptation of its generic teaching material on economic and legal aspects of foreign direct investment that has been developed jointly with the International Arrangements Section. In the framework of this project, Belarusian experts from the BSEU will produce a version of the material tailored to the context of their country. This will include the drafting of a special module with a comparative analysis of FDI in and the neighbouring countries, additions of relevant examples to the text, inclusion of country and region-relevant publications in the reading list, development of PowerPoint presentations and translation of some modules into Russian. Ultimately, the material will be published as a handbook for students.
For more information on the workshop:
* Workshop programme
* List of participants and presenters