I have been asked to address tonight the question whether the 1958 New York Arbitration Convention should be amended by the United Nations. You might well wonder at the relevance of this question to an audience predominantly concerned tomorrow with the ICSID Convention, operating independently from the New York Convention, State courts and national laws. For two reasons, however, we must now look to the future of all forms of transnational arbitration.
First, does ICSID have any future, with States from Bolivia to Venezuela denouncing the ICSID Convention? Does it remain only for the rest of the alphabet to be joined up for the ICISD Convention to become a dead letter? Of course, we all here know that ICSID does indeed have a fine future; and it would be odious for anyone even to raise any doubts about that future, particularly on a candle-light occasion like this. It is just that we do not quite know, yet, what that future may be. The World Bank and ICSID work often in mysterious ways; and never more so than now. In any event, investment arbitration will always be more than ICSID arbitration, as it was before the ICSID Convention; and also, as we fear, the ICSID Convention, as enacted by many States, may not apply to non-monetary ICSID awards. And so, on any view, the New York Convention remains and will remain relevant to investment arbitration; and it certainly remains important to international commercial arbitration.