UN agrees to start work on multilateral reform of investment dispute settlement
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European Commission | 12 July 2017

UN agrees to start work on multilateral reform of investment dispute settlement


The United Nations has agreed to initiate work on possible multilateral reform of investment dispute settlement including the possible establishment of a multilateral investment court.

  • On 10 July 2017, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) agreed that further work should be carried out in this forum on the issue of a multilateral reform of investment dispute settlement. This follows a formal request from many countries, including the European Union and its Member States to examine this issue. The UNCITRAL Commission has now agreed.
  • UNCITRAL members have decided that a Working Group will start discussing investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).
  • In terms of next steps, a first meeting of the Working Group will take place in the autumn of 2017. The European Commission plans to organise further consultations with interested stakeholders in advance of the first session of the Working Group.
  • The European Union has enhanced observer status in UNCITRAL. The European Union is invited to attend and participate in sessions of the UNCITRAL Commission and its working groups and is invited to table documents and topics for discussion. All EU Member States are either members of UNCITRAL or can take part as observers.
  • As part of the United Nations family, UNCITRAL is both inclusive and transparent. Although formally its membership is composed of states, UNCITRAL invites interested organisations and parties to actively participate in its discussions. Interested groups of stakeholders will therefore be able to take part in the forthcoming discussions. Records of the meeting, of the papers submitted and discussed are all accessible to the public.
  • UNCITRAL is a subsidiary body of the General Assembly of the United Nations tasked with the mandate of furthering the progressive harmonisation and unification of international trade and investment law. It is governed by the UNCITRAL Commission, which meets once a year, typically in summer, alternatively in New York and in Vienna. In order to facilitate discussions and deliberations, the Commission is made up of 60 States, representing the various geographic regions and the principal economic and legal systems of the world. All State members of UNCITRAL gather at the working groups, where they carry out substantive preparatory work on topics of interest to UNCITRAL. Working groups normally meet twice a year, holding a spring session in New York and an autumn session in Vienna.