According to information posted on its recently updated website, ICSID was established in 1966 by the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the ICSID Convention), a multilateral treaty.
ICSID is probably the least known part of the World Bank Group. The other members comprise the following:
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which lends to governments of middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries;
The International Development Association (IDA), which provides interest-free loans — called credits — and grants to governments of the poorest countries;
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector; and
The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which offers political risk insurance (guarantees) to investors and lenders.
ICSID is the world’s leading institution devoted to international investment dispute settlement. It has administered the majority of all international investment cases. ICSID provides for settlement of disputes by conciliation, arbitration or fact-finding. As of December 31, 2014, ICSID had registered 497 cases under the ICSID Convention and Additional Facility Rules. This includes 38 cases registered in 2014, a decline from 40 the previous year.
I learned about ICSID through an engagement with White & Case LLP, a leading international law firm representing Gold Reserve Inc. The case involved the expropriation of the Brisas Project by Venezuela. My analysis and contributions to the case focused on social and impact assessment aspects, including stakeholder engagement, indigenous peoples, resettlement planning, and community development. This engagement enabled a rare learning experience – and I developed a new sense of admiration for the legal team and other experts involved on the winning side of this case.
Gold Reserve initiated the case in October 2009 and received the final award in September 2014. ICSID’s three-member tribunal unanimously awarded Gold Reserve $740 million.