For information only - not an official document

2 May 2018

Successful conclusion of UNCITRAL meeting in New York to consider possible reform of investor-State
dispute settlement

VIENNA, 2 May (UN Information Service) - A working group entrusted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) with a broad, three-phase mandate on the possible reform of investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) met last week in New York.

Some 400 delegates, including more than 80 States and 50 observer organizations representing various stakeholders, participated in a government-led process to identify concerns regarding ISDS.

Taking contributions from those States and stakeholders into consideration, the Working Group completed a review of issues in relation to procedural aspects of ISDS, including the arbitral process, overall consistency and coherence of its outcomes, and issues relating to decision-makers in ISDS proceedings.

A report summarizing the deliberations of the week as well as digital recordings of the proceedings will be available on the UNCITRAL website in the coming days (at

Stakeholders also discussed future contributions to the process from the academic community and practitioners, among others, at a series of events held on the margins of the sessions of the Working Group.  Information on relevant activities will also be included on the UNCITRAL website as it becomes available.

The Working Group looks forward to ongoing and constructive participation as it moves forward with further consideration of the topic of ISDS reform at its next session in Vienna from 29 October to 2 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 Working Group expressed its appreciation for 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.

Inter-sessional meeting

The Working Group welcomed a proposal from the Government of the Republic of Korea to organize an intersessional regional meeting on ISDS reform with the purposes of raising awareness in the Asia-Pacific region of the current work of the Working Group and of providing input to the current discussions.


Responding to concerns at a lack of transparency in ISDS, UNCITRAL adopted Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (Transparency Rules) in 2013, to 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, which came into force in October 2017, 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.

During UNCITRAL's 50th annual session, in July 2017, the Commission requested its Working Group III 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 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]