For information only - not an official document

15 October 2019

UNCITRAL Working Group on Investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) reform fixes its project schedule and starts to develop solutions

VIENNA, 15 October 2019 (UN Information Service) - Work on the solutions put forward by States, groups of States and stakeholders to reform the investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) system started with an agreement today on the project schedule that will guide the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group III during the current and the next two sessions. The Working Group agreed to address multiple reform options in parallel during this period. The Working Group began today to discuss issues relating to the possible establishment of an advisory centre on ISDS. It will continue its discussion this week on a code of ethics and third-party funding. In addition, the suggestion to prepare a multilateral instrument on procedural aspects of ISDS will be examined.

The agenda for the next session (Vienna, 20 to 24 January 2020) will focus on a stand-alone review or appellate mechanism, a standing multilateral investment court as well as the selection and appointment of arbitrators and adjudicators/judges. Other reform options identified by the Working Group as worth deserving further consideration will be addressed at the following session (New York, 30 March to 3 April 2020).

In 2017, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) entrusted its Working Group III with a mandate to work on the reform of ISDS. At the current session, the Working Group embarked on its third phase of its mandate which is to develop solutions to be recommended to the Commission. More than 450 delegates representing more than 100 UN Member States and 60 observer organizations as well as various stakeholders are taking part in this government-led inclusive process. The participation of a number of developing States was supported by the European Union, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The Working Group will continue its work until this Friday (18 October 2019) and a report summarizing the deliberations will become available on the UNCITRAL website after the session.

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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

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For more information, please contact:

José Angelo   Estrella Faria  
Principal Legal Officer and Head, Legislative Branch  
UNCITRAL Secretariat  
Email: joseangelo.estrella-faria[at]