In an increasingly economically interdependent world, the importance of an improved legal framework for the facilitation of international trade and investment is widely acknowledged.
UNCITRAL plays an important role in developing that framework because of its mandate to prepare and promote the use and adoption of legislative and non-legislative instruments in a number of key areas.
These instruments are negotiated through an international process involving a variety of participants. UNCITRAL membership is structured so as to be representative of different legal traditions and levels of economic development. As a result of this process, the UNCITRAL texts are widely accepted as offering solutions appropriate to many different countries at different stages of economic development.
UNCITRAL undertakes a range of technical assistance activities to promote its work and the use and adoption of the legislative and non-legislative texts it has developed to further the progressive harmonization and unification of private law.
Information on the status of conventions and model laws is regularly updated on the UNCITRAL website and is made available as detailed tables related to specific texts and as a single table providing an overview of all texts.
An important part of the mandate of UNCITRAL is to coordinate the work of organizations active in the field of international trade law, both within and outside the United Nations' system, to encourage cooperation between them, avoid duplication of effort and promote efficiency, consistency and coherence in the modernization and harmonization of international trade law. In recent years, there has been a growing number of rule-making bodies developing texts in areas of law that affect international trade, making UNCITRAL's coordination function increasingly important.
The General Assembly, in its resolution 64/111 of 16 December 2009, noted the request by the Commission that its Secretariat explore the possibility of establishing a presence in regions or specific countries by, for example, having dedicated staff in United Nations field offices, collaborating with such existing field offices or establishing Commission country offices with a view to facilitating the provision of technical assistance with respect to the use and adoption of Commission texts.
At its forty-fourth session, in July 2011, broad support was expressed for the initiative taken by the Secretariat to build such a presence through the establishment of UNCITRAL regional centres in different parts of the world. It was considered a novel yet important step for UNCITRAL in reaching out and providing technical assistance to developing countries. Informed of the offer received from the Republic of Korea for a pilot project in the Asia-Pacific region, the Commission approved the establishment of the UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific in Incheon, Republic of Korea.
With the aim of better integrating UNCITRAL work with the United Nations operations on development, conflict-prevention and post-conflict-reconstruction and in other appropriate contexts, UNCITRAL endorsed the Guidance Note on Strengthening United Nations Support to States, Upon Their Request, to Implement Sound Commercial Law Reforms. The General Assembly, in its resolution 71/135 , paragraph 8 (e), requested the Secretary-General to circulate the Guidance Note as broadly as possible to its intended users.
While endorsing the Guidance Note, the Commission agreed that illustrative indicators relevant in the assessment of the state of the commercial law framework and the need for commercial law reforms in a particular country should be used at working level, as an internal document of the UNCITRAL secretariat, when needed in the negotiation of specific projects with relevant stakeholders, donors and possible partners of UNCITRAL in technical cooperation and assistance projects.