UNCITRAL – United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
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.
In the 1960s, as global trade was significantly developing and the various national legislations on world trade obstructed the development of exchanges, the international community became aware of the necessity of having a global set of norms and rules to harmonise national and regional regulations.
Thus, in 1966, the General Assembly of the United Nations created the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) (Resolution 2205 (XXI), December 17th, 1966).
The General Assembly mandated the Commission with promoting the harmonisation and unification of international trade law. The Commission has become the main legal body within the United Nations system in the field of international trade law.
The Commission works out modern, fair and consistent rules on trade operations. Its activities consist in:
Conventions, model laws and rules which are acceptable worldwide;
Legal and legislative guides and recommendations of great practical value;
Updated information on case law and enactments of uniform commercial law;
Technical assistance in law reform projects;
Regional and national seminars on uniform commercial law.
UNCITRAL contributes to the promotion of the rule of law in commercial relations and in international trade, as well as to the establishment of the rule of law in a broader sense on a national and international level. Its activities also connect public and private law. For these reasons, the normative reforms resulting from its activities have an impact on the economic and commercial development of States.
The Commission comprises representatives from 60 Member States, which are elected by the United Nations General Assembly for a six-year term. The UNCITRAL Secretary is a part of the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations. Since november 2017, the executive secretary has been a French lawyer, Ms Anna Joubin-Bret. She took over a French magistrate, Mr. Renaud Sorieul, who was at the head of UNCITRAL between 2008 and 2017.
The Commission is divided in six working groups in charge of the preparatory work on the subjects that belong to its agenda. Each of them includes all the Member States of the Commission. The six working groups are the following:
Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
Arbitration and Conciliation
Investors States Dispute Settlement Reform