ICSID is an autonomous intergovernmental organization established in 1966 under the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States. The Convention, also known as the ICSID Convention or the Washington Convention, sets out ICSID's mandate, organization, functions and procedures. Under its founding treaty, ICSID provides facilities for the conciliation and arbitration of international investment disputes arising between States and foreign investors.
The ICSID Convention was formulated by the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank) in 1965. The Convention sought to remove a major impediment to the free flows of international investment resulting from the lack of an adequate international mechanism for the settlement of investment disputes. ICSID was crated as an institution specially designed to offer conciliation and arbitration facilities for the settlement of international investment disputes between governments and foreign investors.
ICSID has over the years become a leading international arbitration institution in its field. Its membership currently stands at 144 member States and continues to grow. The number of cases submitted to ICSID has increased significantly and steadily in recent years. Numerous bilateral and several multilateral treaties on investment refer to the ICSID dispute settlement facilities and most of the cases brought to ICSID have involved such treaties. These trends suggest that ICSID will continue to play in future an important role in the development of international law on foreign investment.