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Officials from around the world gathered today to witness the momentous occasion of the signing of the Singapore Convention on Mediation. The Convention aims to strengthen the international dispute resolution framework, and in turn, help ease trade and commerce among countries.
The Singapore Convention will enable the enforcement of mediated settlement agreements amongst signatory countries. A total of 46 states have signed the treaty thus far, including the United States, China, and India.
Today’s signing of the Convention is a culmination of the United Nations General Assembly adopting a resolution to pass the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, now known as the Singapore Convention on Mediation, in December 2018.
The last attempt made to internationally enforce mediation settlements happened in 2002, during discussions on the Model Law on International Commercial Conciliation. However, those discussions did not bear any fruit.
Seventeen years later, the world now has a treaty to enforce mediation settlements, on the lines of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Addressing the gathering today, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the Singapore Convention is a powerful statement in support of multilateralism. He said,
“Existing multilateral institutions are not perfect…But we must recognise that these institutions have collectively brought the world growth and prosperity, and contributed to the peace and security we have enjoyed over decades…
…The Singapore Convention on Mediation demonstrates that countries are capable of achieving consensus, with effort, creativity, and leadership.”
United Nations Assistant General Secretary for Legal Affairs Stephen Mathias said that the Singapore Convention will address the uncertainty surrounding the enforcement of settlements, and help avoid recourse to burdensome domestic legal processes. He said,
“The Singapore Convention will bring legal certainty for fair settlement of disputes through mediation in the same way New York Convention did for arbitration.”
Later in the day, Singapore and the United Nations also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the organisation of a UNCITRAL Academy in the country.
During the course of this week, Singapore will be the arena for a number of developments in the field on international dispute settlement. The American Arbitration Association set up its Asia headquarters in Singapore. On August 8, Maxwell Chambers Suites – the world’s first integrated dispute resolution complex, will have its grand opening. INSOL International, a worldwide organisation of restructuring and insolvency professionals, set up its first office outside of London, in Singapore.
Read the Singapore Convention on Mediation here: