United Nations passes resolution for new treaty on mediation named after Singapore

The 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York passed a resolution to adopt the UN Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, and to name it after Singapore.
The 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York passed a resolution to adopt the UN Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, and to name it after Singapore.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - A new United Nations treaty on mediation will be named after Singapore, with a signing ceremony to take place in the Republic in August next year (2019).

The Singapore Convention on Mediation - the first UN treaty to carry Singapore's name - will make it easier for mediated settlement agreements to be enforced, giving businesses more assurance that cross-border commercial disputes can be resolved through mediation.

On Thursday (Dec 20), the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York passed a resolution to adopt the UN Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, and to name it after Singapore.

The UNGA also agreed that the signing ceremony be held in Singapore on Aug 7, 2019.

Singapore, which played a key role in the negotiations and drafting of the treaty, is expected to be among the first signatories of the convention. Singapore has invited other countries to sign it as well.

Singapore's Ministry of Law (MinLaw) said in a press statement on Friday: "Being among the first signatories to the Convention will be a strong statement of a country's commitment to trade, commerce and investment.

"It will strengthen a signatory's position as a leader in international trade law and will be warmly welcomed by businesses and foreign investors." 

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said that the Singapore Convention on Mediation will "further cement Singapore's place on the world map for international dispute resolution".

The convention will address the current lack of an effective means to enforce mediated settlement agreements from cross-border commercial disputes. With it, agreements can be more readily enforced by courts of jurisdictions that are contracting parties to the convention.

"This will facilitate the growth of international commerce and promote the use of mediation around the world," said MinLaw.

At the UNGA in New York on Thursday, Singapore commended the UN Commission on International Trade Law for its work on mediation and expressed appreciation for the support for the signing ceremony in Singapore.

The UN treaty will be a boost to Singapore's position as an international hub for dispute resolution.

Over the years, MinLaw has set up various institutions - including the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Singapore International Mediation Centre, and Singapore International Commercial Court and Maxwell Chambers - to offer a full suite of dispute resolution services.

In 2017, Singapore enacted a Mediation Act, that lets agreements reached be recorded as orders of Singapore's courts, allowing parties to enforce their terms more easily.

Singapore has another international treaty named after it - the 2006 Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks. This was not concluded under the auspices of the UN but under the framework of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, a UN specialised agency.