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Shamila Dawood

The main objective of this chapter is to discuss the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) as an ‘indispensable enabler’ to achieve sustainable development by overcoming the inequalities of the contracting parties to investment treaties. Recognizing the CBDR principle at the initial stage of investment treaty making is paramount to demarcate the duties and responsibilities of contracting parties, and can result in the production of a comprehensive legal framework which emphasizes the ‘sustainable characteristics’ of investments. However, the majority of existing investment treaties involving developing countries have not sufficiently recognized this principle’s practical application by acknowledging differentiated responsibilities of contracting parties for compliance with environmental and social sustainability objectives. Since uncertainty and unsatisfactory procedures to uphold sustainable development persist in investment treaties, this chapter looks at bilateral investment treaties of developing countries as these countries face disparate challenges with limited choices to address sustainable development strategies.