Press Release

UNDP Hosts Discussion on New York Arbitration Convention to Boost Foreign Investment in Iraq

21 September 2023

Baghdad, Iraq, 20 September—The United Nations Development Programme recently hosted a high-level discussion on the New York Arbitration Convention. The event brought  together distinguished guests and honorable judges, to shed light on matters that directly impact Iraq's potential to attract foreign investment.

The Government of Iraq (GoI) has taken significant steps to promote the use of arbitration, demonstrating its commitment to facilitating a favorable climate, that is attractive to foreign investors.

“UNDP recognizes the crucial role that foreign investment plays in reducing Iraq's dependence on oil and diversifying its economy, which is why we emphasize the need for a robust environment that facilitates the flow of foreign capital,” said Auke Lootsma, UNDP Iraq’s Resident Representative. 

Within the framework of the EU-funded Anti-Corruption and Arbitration (ACAI) Project, UNDP is actively supporting the Government of Iraq in drafting a modern Law on Arbitration. Additionally, UNDP is committed to providing the necessary support to enhance institutional and professional capacity among lawyers, arbitrators, and students in the field of arbitration.

The Importance of fostering Arbitration to Iraq’s Economic Development

A key aspect of such an environment is the presence of a trusted and efficient forum for resolving disputes that may arise between investors and local private or public entities. International arbitration and mediation offer precisely this, providing both parties with a neutral and efficient system for managing and resolving disputes. Consequently, the development of arbitration and mediation frameworks becomes a catalyst for increased investments.

Arbitration cannot function effectively without the support of courts. The support and limited intervention of courts play a pivotal role in safeguarding the integrity of the arbitration process.

Significance of the New York Arbitration Convention

The New York Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1958 is the bakcbone of international arbitration system. It aims to ensure the enforceability of arbitration agreements and arbitration awards across the 172 states signatories to the Convention. The Convention entered into force for Iraq in February 2022 and it is now in the hands of Iraqi judges to interpret and apply it. UNDP emphasized the importance of collaboration with the Supreme Judicial Council, aiming to foster strong partnership, through hosting discussions, such as this, and with the Judicial Institute to develop specialized courses for prospective judges. Once the Law on Arbitration is adopted, UNDP will also develop a comprehensive guide on arbitration for the benefit of the wider legal community.

Having Iraq develop a robust, arbitration-friendly ecosystem is crucial for Iraq's economic growth as it helps attract foreign investment, fosters international cooperation and strengthens the rule of law. Together, this plays a vital role in supporting Iraq's current engagement with the global community, contributing to both its economical and political development.

About UNDP:

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) works in nearly 170 countries and territories, helping to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, and build resilience to promote sustainable development. With a focus on empowering people and ensuring inclusivity, UNDP collaborates with governments, civil society, and the private sector to drive positive change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit


For more information:


Christine Cool, UNDP Iraq, Team Lead, Partnerships, Advocacy & Communications

Christine Cool

Christine Cool

Head of Strategic Partnerships, Advocacy and Communications Iraq
Mohammed Al-Bahbahanee

Mohammed Al-Bahbahanee

Communications Specialist

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United Nations Development Programme

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