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Hub News Article Dec 16, 2015

UNCTAD launches Investment Dispute Settlement Navigator

Geneva, 16 December 2015 - UNCTAD launched its much awaited Investment Dispute Settlement Navigator, a fully revamped version of its earlier database on investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) cases.

"The ISDS Navigator confirms UNCTAD's role as the one-stop shop for information on investment policy developments", said Mr. James Zhan, Director of UNCTAD’s Investment and Enterprise Division.

The ISDS Navigator is the world's most complete ISDS database containing information on more than 660 publicly known international arbitration cases initiated by investors against States pursuant to international investment agreements (IIAs).

"The Navigator is an invaluable research and information tool for experts and non-experts alike", noted Meg Kinnear, the Secretary-General of ICSID, one of the key institutions administering ISDS cases. "The Navigator complements the efforts of institutions such as UNCTAD and ICSID to encourage transparency and develop thorough understanding of international investment law”, she added.

The database is freely available to all from UNCTAD's Investment Policy Hub and will be useful for country officials, policymakers, and representatives from the private sector, civil society, law firms, arbitrators, academia, journalists and others with an interest in investment dispute settlement.

Its usefulness has been recognised already. Ms. Adriana Vargas Saldarriaga, the Director of Foreign Investment, Services and Intellectual Property at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism in Colombia noted that "[w]hile Colombia has not yet faced any ISDS case, we appreciate UNCTAD's efforts to make facts-based, neutral information on this sensitive topic available to policy makers and the general public".

The launch of UNCTAD's database is timely, as ISDS cases are increasingly making it into the mainstream media. "The UNCTAD Navigator will also help raise awareness on this important issue", says Ms. Eman Gamal, the Under-Secretary of State, General Authority for Investment and Free Zones in Egypt.

What makes UNCTAD's ISDS Navigator unique? The ISDS Navigator is:

  • User-friendly and inclusive: the use of the Navigator is free-of-charge, granting access to ISDS information to a large number of stakeholders across countries; the search functions are intuitive and easy to handle, allowing non-experts to access key information.
  • Data-rich: a source of readily available statistical data on the main aspects of ISDS cases (to view, click on the individual “Filters” below the Map).
  • In-depth and flexible: the “Advanced search” option allows tailoring searches to your needs (e.g. search for all cases against a particular country group, brought between 2010 and 2015, in which the amount claimed has exceeded USD 1 billion).
  • Detailed: each case entry contains information on: legal basis (applicable treaty); countries involved; short summary of the dispute; economic sector and subsector; amounts claimed and awarded; breaches of IIA provisions alleged and found; arbitrators serving on the tribunal; status/outcome of the arbitral proceedings; decisions issued by tribunals (with links to texts); links to external sources with information about the case, as well as other items.
  • Regularly updated and reliable: all data presented in the ISDS Navigator has been compiled using a uniform methodology to ensure data comparability (the methodology notes are available on the site). The data has been updated as of 1 September 2015. While every effort is made to keep information in the ISDS Navigator up to date and complete, the material is provided without any guarantees as to its accuracy or completeness.

The information on ISDS cases is collected from published arbitral decisions and other available sources. Any additional information or clarifications on specific cases as well as suggestions for improving the ISDS Navigator would be welcome (to submit information, use the “ Report new developments” button).

Feel free to tweet about your experience - @unctadwif #ISDS #Navigator