The Independent State of Papua New Guinea ("PNG") has become the 160th state to accede to the 1958 United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the "Convention").

PNG deposited its instrument of accession with the UN Secretary-General on 17 July 2019 and under Article XII (2) of the Convention, it will come into force for PNG on 15 October 2019, 90 days thereafter. PNG becomes a state party at a time that marks the 60th anniversary of the Convention coming into effect on 7 June 1959. It is also the last member economy of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation to ratify the Convention.

PNG has not made any declarations, notifications or reservations regarding the application of the Convention. By way of background, the most frequently made declarations are to apply the Convention only to: (i) recognition and enforcement of awards made in the territory of another contracting State (the so-called "reciprocity reservation"); and (ii) differences arising out of legal relationships that are considered commercial under the national law (the so-called "commercial reservation").

PNG's accession to the Convention follows the establishment by the Asian Development Bank (the "ADB") of an arbitration-specific project, Promotion of International Arbitration Reform for Better Investment Climate in the South Pacific, in 2016. The project is aimed at assisting countries in the South Pacific in acceding to the Convention and enacting arbitration laws implementing it. A Technical Assistance Report describing the project is available here. It is reported that PNG is currently working with the ADB and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on implementing the Convention and on a related arbitration law reform.

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