UNCITRAL Working Group III and Reform of Investor–State Dispute Settlement
In 2017, the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) mandated its Working Group III to identify concerns regarding investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS)—the process for settling disputes under investment treaties—and develop potential reform solutions. These deliberations are taking place as several countries and regions are developing new dispute settlement mechanisms and approaches, examining other options for dispute prevention, and negotiating alternative types of bilateral and regional treaties or renegotiating or terminating existing ones.
IISD has observer status with UNCITRAL and has participated in all the sessions of Working Group III as an invited non-governmental organization. We seek to help initiate an inclusive and transparent discussion on reforming the ISDS regime and building a new mechanism for resolving investment-related disputes. We also provide support to developing countries to ensure their concerns are put on the table during negotiations, to help them identify key issues on which to focus efforts when developing a national position, and to build coalitions with like-minded countries.
IISD, the Columbia Centre on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) regularly submit joint comments to UNCITRAL Working Group III on proposals for the reform of investor–state dispute settlement.
Assessment of Damages and Compensation
Submission to UNCITRAL Working Group III in November 2021.
Submission to UNCITRAL Working Group III in September 2021.
Draft Work and Resourcing Plan
Submission to UNCITRAL Working Group III in March 2021.
Withdrawal of Consent to Arbitrate and Termination of International Investment Agreements
Submission to UNCITRAL Working Group III in July 2019.
IISD produces research and publications to support developing countries navigate the negotiation dynamics at UNCITRAL Working Group III.
The UNCITRAL Code of Conduct: Breakthrough or diversion?
This article provides an overview and analysis of UNCITRAL Working Group III’s third draft Code of Conduct for Investment Adjudicators.
UNCITRAL Working Group III Considers Options to Regulate Third-Party Funding
This article discusses the draft regulatory provisions prepared by the Secretariat of UNCITRAL Working Group III on third–party funding.
Reflecting on a Year Online for International Investment Negotiators
This report examines the opportunities and challenges resulting from investment negotiations—including UNICTRAL Working Group III—moving online due to COVID–19.
UN Negotiations to Reform Investor–State Arbitration Reach Critical Juncture
This blog discusses progress in talks ahead of UNICTRAL Working Group III’s resumed 40th session in May 2021 and what to expect for the rest of 2021.
Meetings and Events
IISD and partner organizations host webinars, events, and workshops alongside UNCITRAL Working Group III sessions to help developing country delegates prepare for the deliberations. See examples below.
Informal Preparatory Meeting for the 42nd UNCITRAL WGIII Session
This preparatory meeting brought together developing and emerging economies to prepare for the 42nd session of UNCITRAL Working Group III in February, 2022.
Informal Preparatory Meeting for the 41st UNCITRAL WGIII Session
This preparatory meeting brought together developing and emerging economies to prepare for the 41st session of UNCITRAL Working Group III in November, 2021.
Reflecting on a Year Online: Lessons from an IISD survey of international investment negotiators
Participants in this webinar discussed a forthcoming IISD report on virtual negotiations on international investment governance, while also sharing their experiences with and views on the challenges and opportunities involved.
IISD at the UNCTAD High-Level IIA Conference 2019
IISD participated in the High-Level IIA Conference held by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in November, 2019.
Reflecting on a Year Online: Lessons from a survey of international investment negotiators
Analysis of a survey on the opportunities, challenges, and consequences of virtual negotiations.
Compensation Under Investment Treaties: What are the problems and what can be done?
In this brief, the authors explore the subject of compensation under investment treaties, as well as options for reform, drawing from their analysis in a related longer paper.
World in Progress: Arbitration courts - why citizens foot the bill for big investors
When foreign investors sue governments for losses due to policy changes in so-called arbitration courts, countries can end up paying billions.
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