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. UNCITRAL, a subsidiary body of the UNGA was established in 1966 with the general mandate to further the progressive harmonization and unification of the law of international trade. UNCITRAL has since prepared a wide range of conventions, model laws and other instruments dealing with the substantive law that governs trade transactions or other aspects of business law, which have an impact on international trade.
The Commission carries out its work at annual sessions, which are held in alternate years at United Nations Headquarters in New York and at the Vienna International Centre at Vienna. UNCITRAL Working Groups undertake the substantive preparatory work on topics on UNCITRAL's work programme. Membership of working groups currently includes all States members of UNCITRAL.
Working Group I - Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
Working Group II - Arbitration and Conciliation / Dispute Settlement
Working Group III - Investor-State Dispute Settlement Reform
Working Group IV - Electronic Commerce
Working Group V - Insolvency Law
Working Group VI - Judicial Sale of Ships
Each working group of the Commission typically holds one or two sessions a year, depending on the subject matter to be covered. These sessions also alternate between New York and Vienna. The Secretariat of UNCITRAL is the International Trade Law Branch of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations.
In addition to Member States, all States that are not members of the Commission, as well as interested international organizations, are invited to attend sessions of the Commission and of its working groups as observers. Observers are permitted to participate in discussions at sessions of the Commission and its working groups to the same extent as members.
UNCITRAL was originally composed of 29 States; its membership was expanded in 1973 to 36 States. Today, the Commission is composed of 60 member States elected by the General Assembly. Membership is structured to ensure that the various geographic regions and the principal economic and legal systems of the world are represented. The 60 member States include 14 African States, 14 Asian States, 8 Eastern European States, 10 Latin American and Caribbean States and 14 Western European and other States. The General Assembly elects members for terms of six years; every three years the terms of half of the members expire. As a general rule, elections are held towards the end of the year before the year in which membership expires. India is currently a member of UNCITRAL with her current term due to expire in 2022.
For more information, please visit https://uncitral.un.org/