Press Releases

    For information only - not an official document

    UNIS/L/197
    1 April 2014

    United Nations Establishes Transparency Registry in Vienna

    VIENNA, 1 April (UN Information Service) - On 1 April 2014, the United Nations launches a new entity, the Transparency Registry, at its offices in Vienna, Austria. The Transparency Registry operates within the Secretariat of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and serves as a repository for the publication of documents in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration. The European Commission is planning to offer financial support for the operation of the Transparency Registry.

    Disputes between a foreign investor and a State often touch on subjects of public interest, such as infrastructure development, resource extraction, and environmental standards, but the arbitrations conducted to resolve these disputes have frequently taken place outside public view. The Transparency Registry is established under the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration ('Rules on Transparency') with a view to making the documents produced in these disputes available to the public.

    The Transparency Registry will publish dispute documents via its user-friendly and freely-accessible global case database, available at www.uncitral.org/transparency-registry

    The Transparency Registry is just one aspect of the Rules on Transparency that serves to make investment arbitration more transparent. The Rules on Transparency were adopted by UNCITRAL in July 2013 after three years of negotiations that included States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. They take into account both the public interest in investment arbitrations and the need for an efficient resolution of such disputes. In addition to the publication of documents, they facilitate, where applicable, public access to hearings and the ability of third parties to make submissions.

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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.

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    For information contact:

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