For information only - not an official document

11 December 2014

General Assembly Adopts the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration

VIENNA, 11 December (UN Information Service) - The United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration ("the Convention") on 10 December 2014. The General Assembly authorized the opening for signature of the Convention at a signing ceremony to be held on 17 March 2015 in Port Louis, Mauritius, upon which the Convention would be open for signature.

UNCITRAL undertook work on transparency in treaty-based investor-State arbitration as from 2010, and adopted in 2013 the Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration ("Transparency Rules"). The Transparency Rules represent a fundamental change from the status quo of arbitrations conducted outside the public spotlight. Indeed, confidentiality is often a valued feature of commercial arbitration. However, in investor-State disputes, the arbitration involves a State and often issues of public interest, as well as taxpayer funds. Acknowledging the fundamental role of the public as a stakeholder in investor-State disputes, UNCITRAL undertook the drafting of the Transparency Rules to provide a level of transparency and accessibility to the public of these disputes that is to date unprecedented. The Rules are also innovative in their approach to balancing the public interest in an arbitration involving a State, and the interest of the disputing parties in a fair and efficient resolution of their dispute.

The Convention constitutes the efficient and flexible mechanism by which the Transparency Rules will apply to disputes arising under the existing 3,000 bilateral and multilateral investment treaties currently in force. Together with the Rules on Transparency, the Convention contributes to the enhancement of transparency in treaty-based investor-State arbitration, and to the dissemination of knowledge about peaceful dispute resolution proceedings - which affect critical public sectors such as health, water and sanitation, transportation and agriculture - thereby engaging and empowering individuals and communities directly affected by them.

The information to be made publicly available under the Rules on Transparency will be published by UNCITRAL on the website of the Transparency Registry, available at


The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. Its mandate is to remove legal obstacles to international trade by progressively modernizing and harmonizing trade law. It prepares legal texts in a number of key areas such as international commercial dispute settlement, electronic commerce, insolvency, international payments, sale of goods, transport law, procurement and infrastructure development. UNCITRAL also provides technical assistance to law reform activities, including assisting Member States to review and assess their law reform needs and to draft the legislation required to implement UNCITRAL texts. The UNCITRAL Secretariat is located in Vienna, Austria.

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For information contact:

Timothy Lemay
Principal Legal Officer
UNCITRAL Secretariat
Email: timothy.lemay[at]