CCSI Submissions to UNCITRAL ISDS Reform Process

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is currently working on how to reform international investment treaties, focusing in particular on those treaties’ provisions enabling investors to sue governments in international arbitration. As an observer organization in this process, CCSI has emphasized that in the context of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform, it is important to first consider what it is that investment treaties aim to achieve, and only then to consider what form(s) of dispute settlement will best advance those objectives. This means not only looking at reform of the existing ISDS mechanism, but also alternatives to it. Having identified various concerns about ISDS, UNCITRAL is now taking stock of potential reform options, and will consider this fall which options to pursue and in what order. To contribute to UNCITRAL’s work, CCSI, together with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), submitted five documents outlining potential reform options and considerations:

  • "Possible Reform of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS): The assessment of damages and compensation” is a joint submission in response to the Secretariat’s request for comments on its note addressing the issue of the calculations of damages and the award of compensation to investors in ISDS. The comments proposes, among other suggestions, the consideration of an entirely new standard of compensation rather than adding clarifications to the existing standard, restricting the use of Discounted Cash Flow, and limiting compensation based on investor conduct.


  • Comments to the draft Working Group III Workplan. The draft workplan is available on the Working Group III website and is intended to set forth and allocate time and resources to the WGIII activities over the coming years. Our comments relate to making the plan of work more transparent and participatory, in particular for developing countries, non-governmental Working Group III observers (including our organizations) and also how the workplan should incorporate the “cross-cutting issues” (see below submission).







The submissions are described by the authors in a series of videos, included below.

Concerns and Cross-Cutting Issues
Third Party Funding
Third Party Rights in ISDS