logo logo

UNASUR dispute settlement centre will start operating in 2015

All the versions of this article: [English] [Español]

El Telégrafo, 27-9-14

[Freely translated by Anoosha Boralessa for]

UNASUR dispute settlement centre will start operating in 2015

Its main difference with ICSID is that it will resolve disputes between the parties at any time and will not issue a ruling. 

Next year, the South American Union of Nations (UNASUR) dispute settlement centre will start operating, announced the UNASUR Secretary General, Ernesto Samper and Marco Albuja, the Chairman of the Group of Ambassadors that drafted the document establishing the Centre. 

According to the diplomat, both the ministers of the member states of the regional organisation (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) and the president of each state will have to approve the texts. 

He believes that this will take place at the inauguration of the UNASUR building, in either November or December of this year.

Ernesto Samper highlighted that after 11 meetings of the working group, chaired by Marco Albuja, the document was 92% ready to be presented to the Heads of States for ratification. 

He pointed out that the issues still outstanding were neither controversial nor difficult to resolve. Therefore, he believed that Centre would be established this year. 

In the meanwhile, the ambassador Marco Albujo clarified that the points on which agreement had not been reached required a political decision that the group lacked the capacity to make, given that the decision fell within the authority of the Heads of States. 

He asserted: "They have to take decisions that we are not going to take because they are political, such as where the Centre will be established and the budget of the Centre. We need one year of financing from the member states and the procedural matters finalised before we can start." 

The diplomat maintained that the key difference between the Centre and the arbitration systems that are currently used throughout the world was that the overriding aim of both ICSID and ad hoc tribunals was the delivery of an award. In contrast, the overriding objective of the UNASUR Centre is to resolve a dispute at any time and to allow the parties to resolve the dispute. 

"The difference is that here the parties act with their facilitators or mediators. The parties create a solution rather than having to comply with a ruling laid down on them by the arbitral tribunals," he said, making it clear that this mechanism that would be alternative to ICSID. 

"It must not be forgotten the majority of UNASUR member states have signed free trade agreements (FTAs) or bilateral investment treaties which provide that ICSID is the mechanism to settle disputes." 

From now on, for any trade agreement or contract, the UNASUR Centre can be the dispute settlement body. 

 source: El Telégrafo