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The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law was established by the General Assembly in 1966 with the mandate of harmonizing the law of international trade. In the years since its establishment, UNCITRAL has been recognized as the core legal body of the United Nations system in this field and has since worked in the attempt to remove or reduce disparities in national laws that create obstacles to the flow of international trade.
Trade means faster growth, higher living standards and new opportunities through commerce. In order to increase these opportunities worldwide, UNCITRAL formulates modern, fair, and harmonized rules on commercial transactions. These include:

· Conventions, model laws and rules which are acceptable worldwide;
· Legal and legislative guides and recommendations of great practical value;
· Technical assistance in law reform projects;
· Updated information on case law and enactments of uniform commercial law;
· Regional and national seminars on uniform commercial law.

The Commission is composed of sixty member States elected by the General Assembly. Membership is structured so as to be representative of the world's various geographic regions and its principal economic and legal systems. Members of the Commission are elected for terms of six years, the terms of half the members expiring every three years.
Italy is a current member of the Commission, and its mandate will last until 2022. The Commission carries out its work at annual sessions, which are held in alternate years in New York and in Vienna. The Commission has established six working groups to perform the substantive preparatory work on topics within the Commission's programme of work. Each of the working groups is composed of all member States of the Commission.
The six working groups and their current topics are as follows:

· Working Group I - Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
· Working Group II - Dispute Settlement
· Working Group III - Investor-State Dispute Settlement Reform
· Working Group IV - Electronic Commerce
· Working Group V - Insolvency Law
· Working Group VI - Security Interests

Each working group of the Commission typically holds one or two sessions a year, depending on the subject-matter to be covered; these sessions also alternate between New York and Vienna.
In addition to member States, all States that are not members of the Commission, as well as interested international organizations, are invited to attend sessions of the Commission and of its working groups as observers. Observers are permitted to participate
in discussions at sessions of the Commission and its working groups to the same extent as members.

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: UNCITRAL's role
As a promoter of the rule of law in the field of international trade law, UNCITRAL supports the SDGs, in particular goals 1 (No poverty), 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 8 (Decent work and economic growth), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), 10 (Reduced inequalities), 12 (Responsible consumption and production), 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and 17 (Partnership for the goals). UNCITRAL's contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals proceeds on several fronts and touches upon a number of different and interrelated areas. Inter alia, UNCITRAL helps generating resources by
promoting a legal environment that attracts potential donors and investors and provides the means for businesses of all sizes to establish and to thrive. It promotes mature rule-based commerce, which has long been recognized as a stabilizing factor important for mobilizing resources for development. Also, it cooperates in mainstreaming gender equality by setting standards aimed at reducing the legal obstacles faced by MSEs during their life cycle, since many such businesses are run by women.

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Last updated: October 2020