January 23, 2024: The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the Vienna International Arbitration Centre (VIAC) penned an agreement today to jointly support the use of arbitration, conciliation, mediation, and other dispute resolution tools to resolve international investment disputes.  

The agreement signed by Martina Polasek, Deputy Secretary-General of ICSID, and Nikolaus Pitkowitz, VIAC President, establishes a framework to collaborate on public outreach on dispute resolution procedures, exchange information on new trends and technologies, and provide support for proceedings administered by ICSID or VIAC. Drawing on Article 63 of the ICSID Convention, the agreement also offers parties in ICSID proceedings with the option of holding hearings at VIAC’s hearing centre in Vienna.

It is the latest such agreement for ICSID with leading domestic and regional dispute resolution institutions, all of which share the aim of promoting knowledge exchange and offering practical assistance with cases.

The signing was followed by a public event focused on reducing the time of cost of international arbitration proceedings. This is a goal that both ICSID and VIAC have advanced in their recently amended procedural rules for resolving disputes between foreign investors and host States.

“ICSID and VIAC share a common interest in encouraging foreign investment by ensuring mechanisms are in place to resolve disputes efficiently and fairly,” said Ms. Polasek. “The agreement signed today embodies that commitment and we look forward to working with VIAC on practical solutions that benefit investors and States.”

“We are honoured to sign this cooperation agreement with ICSID and look forward to advocating knowledge exchange between our two institutions in the future as well as hosting ICSID hearings at our facilities,” said Niamh Leinwather, Secretary-General of VIAC. She added that “VIAC’s Investment Arbitration Rules are geared toward smaller investment claims, which often fall through the cracks and are particularly focused on reducing time and cost, which was the very topic of the panel discussion today.”