For information only - not an official document

21 July 2015

UN Commission on International Trade Law Concludes 48th Session in Vienna

VIENNA, 21 July (UN Information Service) - During its 48 th annual session, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) approved, in principle, texts on arbitration and security interests. The session included expert panel discussions on the rule of law and the 35 th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). In the course of the session, Sri Lanka announced its ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts, and Hungary announced the withdrawal of its "written form" declaration under the CISG.

Approval and endorsement of texts

During the session, the Commission approved in principle a draft revision of the UNCITRAL Notes on Organizing Arbitral Proceedings. The Secretariat will make further revisions to be finalized and considered for adoption at the Commission's 49 th session, which will be held in 2016 in New York. The Commission also approved some registry-related provisions of a draft model law on secured transactions. The draft model law is also due for adoption at the Commission's next session. Finally, the Commission endorsed the Principles of Choice of Law in International Commercial Contracts, a non-binding set of principles promoting "party autonomy" prepared by the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

Expert panel discussions

The 35 th anniversary of the CISG was celebrated with a panel discussion on the convention's broad impact as a treaty and legislative model. The panel also considered the CISG's future potential. In light of the discussion and additional forthcoming celebrations to be held in 2015, the Commission requested the Secretariat to further report on the anniversary at its 49 th session and, going forward, to periodically report on the various activities undertaken to support implementation of the CISG.

During deliberations on the role of UNCITRAL in promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels, States highlighted the need to increase awareness across the United Nations system about the relevance of UNCITRAL's work to the implementation of the international development agenda. On this topic, the Commission welcomed the attention put on UNCITRAL's work in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda , the outcome document from the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Addis Ababa from 13-16 July 2015. The Agenda provides a foundation for implementation of the global sustainable development agenda that is expected to be adopted by world leaders this September. The Agenda endorses UNCITRAL efforts and initiatives aimed at increasing coordination of and cooperation on legal activities of international and regional organizations active in the field of international trade law and at promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels in this field.

The panel discussion on the role of UNCITRAL multilateral treaty processes in promoting and advancing the rule of law analysed strengths of UNCITRAL treaty-initiation, -making and -implementation relevant to the promotion of the rule of law in commercial relations. The Commission, in its comments to the General Assembly, built on that analysis and brought to the attention of the General Assembly issues related to its treaty processes requiring attention.

Future work

In the area of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the Commission confirmed that the working group will continue to focus on simplified incorporation of MSMEs and other topics, taking into account the needs of developing countries. The Commission determined that the working group on arbitration and conciliation should move forward with work on the enforcement of settlement agreements resulting from international commercial conciliation/mediation, and that the Secretariat should further explore the topics of a code of ethics/conduct for arbitrators and concurrent proceedings in arbitration.

The Commission decided that work in the area of online dispute resolution (ODR) should consist of the elaboration of a non-binding descriptive text on the ODR process and should be completed within two working group sessions. With regard to electronic commerce, the Commission requested the Secretariat to conduct preparatory work on identity management and trust services, cloud computing, and mobile commerce while the working group continues work on electronic transferable records.

In the area of insolvency law, the working group will continue to work on the facilitation of cross-border insolvency of multinational enterprise groups, the obligations of directors of enterprise group companies in the period approaching insolvency, and the recognition and enforcement of insolvency-related judgements. The working group on security interests will continue drafting a model law on secured transactions and will prepare an accompanying guide to enactment.

The Commission also decided that the Secretariat should undertake exploratory work aimed at ascertaining whether demand exists from States for a legislative text on suspension and debarment in public procurement. In addition, the Secretariat was asked to continue to follow the topic of public-private partnerships. Finally, the Commission requested initial preparations to be made for a congress to commemorate UNCITRAL's 50 th anniversary, to be held in 2017.


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 , and maintains a website at

* *** *

For information contact:

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