For information only - not an official document

20 June 2011

UN Commission on International Trade Law to Hold
44th Session in Vienna, 27 June - 8 July 2011

VIENNA, 20 June (UN Information Service) - The finalization and adoption of draft texts on procurement and insolvency will be key topics for consideration by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), as it meets in Vienna, for its 44th session from 27 June - 8 July 2011.

Finalization and adoption of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement

The 1994 UNCITRAL Model Law on Procurement of Goods, Construction and Services contains essential procedures and principles aimed at achieving competition, transparency, fairness, economy and efficiency in the procurement process. It has been recognized as an important international benchmark in procurement law reform.

In 2004, the Commission agreed that the Model Law would benefit from being updated to reflect new practices, in particular those resulting from the use of electronic communications in public procurement, and the experience gained in the use of the Model Law as a basis for law reform.

The revised text, the UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement, to be considered by the Commission, extends the application of the Model Law to all public procurement, streamlines and strengthens provisions in a number of areas, in particular on remedies and enforcement, and includes new provisions, such as on e-procurement, abnormally low submissions, conflicts of interest, electronic reverse auctions and framework agreements.

The revisions are aimed at assisting States in formulating modern procurement laws where none presently exist or modernizing and enhancing their existing procurement law. While developing countries and States whose economies are in transition may find the text of particular benefit, its provisions are intended to be applicable to all States.

Finalization and adoption of judicial materials on the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency

The UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency, adopted by the Commission in 1997, is designed to provide effective mechanisms for dealing with cases of cross-border insolvency to promote, amongst other things, fair and efficient administration of those cross-border proceedings, cooperation between courts and greater legal certainty for trade and investment. Legislation based on the Model Law has now been enacted in some 20 States. In recent years, judges and other participants at the international judicial colloquiums on insolvency, held by UNCITRAL in cooperation with INSOL International and the World Bank, have requested information and guidance on cross-border-related insolvency issues and in particular on the use and application of the UNCITRAL Model Law.

Responding to those requests, a draft text entitled "The UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency: the judicial perspective", has been prepared by the Secretariat in consultation with judges, insolvency professionals, UNCITRAL's Working Group V (Insolvency Law) and Member States. The Commission is expected to finalize and adopt the draft at this session. The judicial materials examine the provisions of the UNCITRAL Model Law and offer general guidance on the issues a judge might need to consider, based on the intentions of those who crafted the Model Law and the experiences of those who have used it in practice. To be of continuing use and assistance to judges, it is proposed that the materials be periodically updated to reflect the latest developments in the jurisprudence interpreting and applying the Model Law. If agreed by the Commission, it is expected that the updating would be undertaken by the Secretariat in consultation with judges and, as appropriate, other insolvency experts.

Other topics to be discussed

The Commission may also consider a cost-saving proposal from the Secretary-General to hold all sessions of UNCITRAL and its working groups in Vienna. This would end the long-standing practice of holding sessions alternately in Vienna and New York.

The Commission is also invited to provide guidance on the topic of the better integration of UNCITRAL's standard-making and technical assistance activities. In particular, it may discuss a more active role for member States in promoting UNCITRAL texts. In the area of technical assistance, the UNCITRAL Secretariat will also inform the Commission of recent developments with regard to the potential establishment of UNCITRAL regional centres and activities to be undertaken by such centres.

The agenda for the meeting also includes reports from working groups, including progress reports on the preparation of texts on transparency in treaty-based investor-State arbitration, online dispute resolution for cross-border electronic commerce transactions and registration of security rights in movable assets.

The coordination of UNCITRAL's work with that of other international organizations active in the field of international trade law, its role in promoting the rule of law, its possible endorsement of the revision of the ICC Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees and its potential future work are also scheduled for discussion.


The Commission is composed of 60 Member States elected by the United Nations General Assembly. Membership is structured so as to be representative of the world's geographic regions and its principal economic and legal systems. Members of the Commission are elected for terms of six years, the terms of half members expiring every three years.

From 27 June 2011, UNCITRAL will be composed of the following 60 member States: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Benin, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Fiji, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).


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 information contact:

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