Participation in legislative sessions
UNCITRAL is composed of 60 member States elected by the General Assembly, representative of the various geographic regions and the principal economic and legal systems, and of developed and developing countries. Other Member States of the United Nations and invited intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations participate in the work of UNCITRAL as observers.
Active participation of governmental and non-governmental stakeholders in UNCITRAL legislative processes significantly contributes to the inclusiveness of the drafting of international trade law and serves as a platform for exchange of best practices and capacity building.
The chart indicates the level of participation of UNCITRAL member States, other (observer) States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in annual sessions of UNCITRAL since 2004 (the first year with the current enlarged membership). The level of participation of UNCITRAL member States has remained relatively stable, with the Group of Western Europe and Other States regularly represented at almost 100 per cent, the Asia-Pacific Group of States, the Eastern European Group of States and the Latin American and the Caribbean Group of States usually represented at around 80-90 per cent, and the African Group of States represented at a fluctuating level between 25 per cent-80 per cent. It is not possible to ascribe simple reasons for the change in observer State participation as it depends in any given year on the text being adopted at the annual session, the location of the annual session (New York attracts different States to Vienna) and other factors. Given that 92 IGOs were invited to attend the 2016 UNCITRAL annual session, their level of participation has remained relatively low, with the World Bank, Unidroit, the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the European Union being usually represented. Because of their high degree of specialization, participation of NGOs fluctuates depending on whether topics of interest to them are to be considered at any given UNCITRAL session (218 were invited to attend the 2016 UNCITRAL annual session).
The trends described above may be observed also in all current UNCITRAL working groups, although not all NGOs are invited to attend all working group sessions because of their highly specialized nature. See reports of the Working Groups
for more information.
UNCITRAL is mandated with promoting ways and means of ensuring a uniform interpretation and application of international conventions and uniform laws in the field of the law of international trade. UNCITRAL’s CLOUT and related tools
have been specifically designed to assist judges, arbitrators, law professors and other legal practitioners to achieve uniform interpretation of international trade law standards. The chart below shows the number of court and arbitral decisions on UNCITRAL texts reported to, and published by the Secretariat since 2000.
The sharp increase of published decisions (from 373 in 2000 to 1636 by the end of 2016) may be explained by the increased recognition of the role the CLOUT system and related tools play in promoting transparent, consistent and predictable jurisprudence on international trade law matters. The distribution of published decisions per regional groups remains uneven, with most reported cases coming from the Western European and Others Group of States, followed by the Asia-Pacific and Eastern European Groups of States at the level of 16 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively. The input from the African and the Latin American and Caribbean Groups of States remains at the low level of between 1 per cent and 4 per cent.