Secretariat - Overview

​​The ICSID Secretariat carries out the daily operations of ICSID. Its composition and principal functions are set out in the ICSID Convention (Articles 9 to 11 of ICSID Convention and the Administrative and Financial Regulations). 


Composition of the Secretariat

The Secretariat consists of approximately 70 staff of diverse backgrounds and nationalities. It is led by the Secretary-General, who is the legal representative of ICSID, the registrar of ICSID proceedings, and the principal officer of the Centre. The current Secretary-General, Martina Polasek, was elected by resolution of the Administrative Council pursuant to Article 10 of the ICSID Convention in 2024.

The Secretary-General is assisted by a Deputy Secretary-General, Gonzalo Flores.  The staff are organized into five case management teams, a general administration and financial management team, and a front office.

English, French and Spanish are the official languages of ICSID. The case management teams are chiefly organized by these languages, but the Secretariat has capacity to communicate in over 25 languages. Each case management team has experienced legal counsel acting as Secretaries to Tribunals, Commissions and ad hoc Committees under the ICSID Convention, ICSID Additional Facility and UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. They are assisted by paralegals and legal assistants.

The general administration and financial management team oversees all financial aspects of case management and the ICSID budget. It also handles ICSID’s archives, human resources and information technology.

The front office deals with all matters relating to participation as ICSID Member States, maintains the ICSID Panels of Conciliators and of Arbitrators, and manages ICSID’s publications.

Support in Dispute Settlement


The Secretariat’s main role is to provide support in investor-State dispute settlement. It is involved in all aspects of the process, including:

  • acting as registrar in proceedings (for example, receiving, reviewing and registering requests for arbitration and conciliation and authenticating awards);
  • assisting in the constitution of Conciliation Commissions, Arbitral Tribunals and ad hoc Committees;
  • assisting parties and Commissions, Tribunals and Committees with all aspects of case procedure;
  • organizing and assisting at hearings;
  • administering the finances of each case; and
  • providing other administrative support as requested by Commissions, Tribunals and Committees.

Non-ICSID Cases

The Secretariat also supports dispute settlement in State-State or investor-State proceedings under rules other than the ICSID Rules. This includes cases under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules and other ad hoc dispute settlement provisions. The Secretariat’s services in these proceedings range from support with the organization of hearings to full administrative services comparable to those provided in ICSID cases. Parties are free to elect the extent of the services desired in these cases.

ICSID also assists regularly with the organization of hearings in arbitration proceedings conducted under the auspices of the ICC, LCIA, PCA, and other institutions.

Appointing Authority/Deciding Challenges

The Secretary-General acts as appointing authority in proceedings not conducted under the ICSID Convention or the Additional Facility Rules, and decides proposals for disqualification of arbitrators, upon request.

Support to Member States and the Public

In addition to its case administration, the Secretariat undertakes a number of tasks relating to institutional matters and knowledge dissemination. It promotes greater awareness of the ICSID dispute settlement process and the development of international law on foreign investment. As part of these tasks, the Secretariat:

Careers at the Secretariat

The Secretariat hires lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants and financial officers for vacant positions on its case management, institutional and finance teams. The positions, including information concerning the hiring process and the selection criteria, are announced on the homepage of the ICSID website and the World Bank’s Jobs site.