For information only - not an official document

23 April 2018

UNCITRAL meets in New York to consider possible reform of investor-State dispute settlement

VIENNA/ NEW YORK, 23 April (UN Information Service) - A working group entrusted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) with a broad, three-phase mandate to work on the possible reform of investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) is meeting this week in New York to continue discussing procedural aspects of ISDS, including the arbitral process and overall consistency and coherence of its outcomes.

During UNCITRAL's 50th annual session, in July 2017, the Working Group was requested to identify concerns regarding ISDS, to consider whether reform was desirable, and, if so, to develop relevant solutions to be recommended to the Commission.

The Working Group is scheduled to discuss ISDS outcomes and consider topics of arbitrators and decision-makers in ISDS proceedings as part of its first phase of the mandate.

The session this week is expected to be attended by more than 200 participants representing States as well as invited observer inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, including the European Union, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Shortly after the session, the report summarizing the deliberations of the week as well as the digital recording of the proceedings will be made available to the public on the UNCITRAL website. The Working Group is scheduled to hold its next session in Vienna from 27 October to 1 November 2018.

European Union and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation to support travel of representatives from developing States

In recognition of the importance of the topic under consideration, and of the significance of inclusive and diverse representation in UNCITRAL sessions, the European Union and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation have offered to provide financial assistance over the next three years to support the participation of developing States in sessions of the Working Group. The UNCITRAL Secretariat gratefully acknowledges these contributions, which will enhance the level of participation in, as well as the results of, the Working Group's deliberations. Other donors wishing to contribute should contact the UNCITRAL Secretariat for further information.


UNCITRAL's work on ISDS includes the development of standards on transparency. The UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (Transparency Rules) adopted in 2013 provide a procedural framework for making information available to the public on investment arbitration cases arising under relevant investment treaties concluded after 1 April 2014. The United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration provides a mechanism for the application of the Transparency Rules to arbitration cases arising under the almost 3,000 investment treaties concluded before 1 April 2014. The Convention entered into force on 18 October 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 in reviewing and assessing their law reform needs, and drafting the legislation required to implement UNCITRAL texts. The UNCITRAL Secretariat is located in Vienna, Austria. For more information, visit: .

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For information contact, please contact:

Jenny  Clift 
Principal Legal Officer 
UNCITRAL Secretariat 
Email: jenny.clift[at]