A new edition of ICSID’s caseload statistics takes a deep dive into case-related trends in the 2023 calendar year, while also showcasing data on all ICSID cases going back to 1972.

ICSID releases its comprehensive statistics report twice a year, providing key insights into the caseload of the world’s leading forum for resolving international investment disputes.

New Cases

ICSID registered 57 cases in 2023 under its bespoke rules. This marks the third highest number of cases registered in a single year—and represents a significant uptick over the 41 cases registered in 2022. Arbitrations underCover image the ICSID Convention accounted for the largest share of new cases (53 cases), followed by arbitrations applying the ICSID Additional Facility Rules (three cases). ICSID also registered one conciliation case in 2023.

As of December 31, 2023, ICSID had registered a total of 967 cases under either the ICSID Convention or Additional Facility Rules.

An additional 20 cases were administered under other non-ICSID procedural rules. Most (14 cases) applied the arbitration rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).

Basis of Consent

In the majority of new cases in 2023 (40%), ICSID jurisdiction was asserted on the basis of a bilateral investment treaty (BIT). When accounting for all ICSID cases, 58% have relied on BITs for jurisdiction. Multilateral treaties have accounted for a growing share of cases over time. In 2023, these included:

  • The North American Free Trade Agreement (15% of cases)
  • The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (15% of cases)
  • The Energy Charter Treaty (7% of cases)
  • The Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (3% of cases)
  • The Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement (2% of cases)
  • The Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua FTA (2% cases)
  • The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (2% of cases, and invoked for the first time at ICSID)
  • The Central America-Panama Free Trade Agreement (2% of cases)

A further 7% of new cases were brought on the basis of contracts between a host State and investor in 2023 and 5% under domestic investment laws—both of which are consistent with figures from previous years.

Regional Distribution

The considerable regional diversity among new cases was also in accord with historical trends. In 2023, States in Central America and the Caribbean accounted for 23% of new cases, followed by North America with 19%. South American States were involved in 16% of cases, Sub-Saharan Africa in 12%, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and Western Europe for 11% respectively. Seven percent of cases involved the Middle East and North Africa.  

Notably, ICSID registered its first case involving a regional economic integration organization (REIO) in 2023—the European Union. ICSID’s Additional Facility was amended in 2022 to allow cases involving REIOs, such as the EU.

Economic Sectors

Investments in the oil, gas, and mining industry were involved in 23% of new cases. This was followed by the construction and transportation sectors—each of which accounted for 18% of cases. This is an increase from the historical trend in which 10% of cases involved construction and 9% involved transportation.

Also prominent in 2023 were cases involving electric power and other energy sources (12%), finance (7%), and water, sanitation, and flood protection (5%).

Case Outcomes

Of the cases that concluded in 2023, 69% were decided by a tribunal and 31% were settled or otherwise discontinued. This is similar to case outcomes in previous years.

Among cases decided by tribunals in 2023, 55% of awards upheld the investors’ claims in part or in full, 31% of awards rejected all of the investors’ claims on the merits, and 14% of awards declined jurisdiction. Such balanced results are also typical of ICSID’s long-terms trends.

Gender Balance

Women accounted for 32% of all appointments to ICSID cases in 2023. This compares to 15% when accounting for the appointment of women in all ICSID cases.

Among the appointments made by ICSID in 2023—as opposed to appointments by the parties or co-arbitrators—49% were men and 51% were women.

For further information, see the ICSID Caseload – Statistics (Issue 2024 – 1).