February 7, 2022: Released today, the latest edition of ICSID’s caseload statistics provides detailed data on case-related developments at ICSID in 2021, as well as an overview of trends involving all ICSID cases going back to 1972. The last year saw strong demand for ICSID’s dispute resolution rules and services, as well as progress on diversifying the pool of adjudicators appointed to ICSID cases.

ICSID registered a record 66 new arbitration cases in 2021 under the ICSID Convention, eclipsing last year’s record of 58 new cases.  While the ICSID Convention rules of arbitration remain the most popular procedure for resolving international investment disputes, ICSID also administers cases under other procedural rules. In 2021, 20 cases were administered under ‘non-ICSID’ arbitral rules, including 14 cases that applied the arbitration rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).

Basis of Consent

The majority of new cases asserted ICSID jurisdiction on the basis of a bilateral investment treaty (58%), followed by contracts between the investor and host State (10%), and the Energy Charter Treaty (8%). In addition, a variety of bilateral and regional trade and investment agreements were invoked, namely:

  • The North American Free Trade Agreement and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (6% each)
  • The United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement and the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (2% each)
  • The Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras; the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement; the Chile-Colombia Free Trade Agreement; the Central America-Panama Free Trade Agreement; and the ASEAN-China Investment Agreement accounted for 1% each of new cases.

Finally, 3% of cases were brought on the basis of domestic investment laws.

Regional Distribution

As in previous years, countries from all regions of the world were represented amongst new cases. The largest share in 2021 involved States in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and South America—with each region accounting for 23% of new cases. States in Sub-Saharan Africa were involved in 15% of new cases, while Central America and Caribbean, North America, and the Middle East/North Africa each accounted for 9% of new cases. Finally, 8% of cases involved States in Western Europe and 4% States in the South and East Asia/Pacific region.

Economic Sectors

The economic sectors involved in ICSID proceedings are also diverse. Historically, the extractives and energy sectors have represented the largest share of cases, and this trend continued in 2021. Twenty-nine percent of new cases involved the oil, gas and mining industry, and 18% related to electric power and other energy sources.

Also prominent was the construction sector, which accounted for 16.5% of disputes. These sectors were followed by disputes related to information and communication (11%); transportation (7.5%); finance and tourism (3% each); services and trade (3%); water, sanitation and flood protection (3%); and agriculture, fishing and forestry (2%). A mix of other industries accounted for the remaining 4% of cases registered in 2021.

Case Outcomes

Historically, the outcome of cases at ICSID has been balanced between States and investors—and this trend stayed true in 2021. Out of the ICSID arbitration proceedings concluded in 2021, 31% of awards upheld the investors’ claims in part or in full, 18% of awards rejected all of the investors’ claims on the merits, and 15% of awards declined jurisdiction.

In addition, 22% of cases were discontinued at the request of both parties, 7% of cases were discontinued for lack of payment of the required advances, and 4% were discontinued at the request of one party. Moreover, 1.5% percent of cases concluded with a settlement embodied in an award, and 1.5% for failure of the parties to act.

Diversity of Appointments

ICSID tracks the gender and nationality of individuals appointed to ICSID cases to help benchmark diversity in the field of investor-State dispute settlement. Overall, women accounted for 27% of appointments in 2021—an improvement over the 23% of appointments in 2020 and 19% in 2019. Over 40 different nationalities were represented amongst the arbitrators, conciliators and ad-hoc committee members appointed in the last year. 

For further information, see the https://icsid.worldbank.org/resources/publications/icsid-caseload-statistics.

About The ICSID Caseload - Statistics

The ICSID Caseload - Statistics contains a profile of the ICSID caseload since the first case was registered in 1972. ICSID has hosted the majority of all known international investment cases and The ICSID Caseload - Statistics is a valuable empirical reference about trends in international investment dispute settlement generally. It profiles various aspects of international investment cases, including the number of cases, the basis of consent invoked by claimants, geographic and economic sector distribution of cases, outcomes of proceedings, and the nationality of arbitrators and conciliators. The ICSID Caseload - Statistics is available in English, French and Spanish, and updated every 6 months.