For information only - not an official document

6 November 2018

UN Commission on International Trade Law working group on reform of investor-State dispute settlement concludes meeting

VIENNA, 6 November (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 Vienna.

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 turned to phase II of its mandate - the consideration of whether reform was desirable in light of any concerns identified regarding ISDS. The Working Group concluded that developing reforms in UNCITRAL to address concerns regarding three broad categories of ISDS would be desirable: consistency and correctness of outcomes, issues relating to decision-makers in ISDS proceedings, and the cost and duration of those proceedings.  The Working Group also agreed that concerns regarding third party funding in ISDS, and any other possible concerns, would be addressed at its next session, which will be held in New York from 1-5 April 2019.

The Working Group agreed to develop a work plan for phase III of its mandate, which is to address the concerns for which it considers reform by UNCITRAL is desirable. Governments were encouraged to consult and submit written proposals for the development of the work plan in time for the next session.

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

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.

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

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 provided financial assistance 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.


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:

* *** *

For information contact, please contact:

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