6 Events to Remember from Singapore Convention Week 2022
The Singapore Convention Week 2022 (SC Week 2022) successfully drew to a close on 2 September 2022, leaving participants with insightful perspectives from global experts and thought leaders on international dispute resolution, new and renewed connections and friendships, as well as beautiful memories of Singapore. Further details of the event and its many highlights have been collated by the organisers and can be found below.
Organised by the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) in collaboration with 21 supporting partner organisations, SC Week 2022 attracted over 4,000 local and overseas in-person and virtual participants from the legal, business and government sectors over five days (29 August 2022 to 2 September 2022).
1. UNCITRAL Academy
At the heart of SC Week 2022 was the UNCITRAL Academy, which comprised the UNCITRAL Academy Conference and Capacity-Building Workshops. Jointly organised by MinLaw and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the UNCITRAL Academy took place from 30 August to 1 September 2022. Themed ‘Embracing Global Change, Navigating New Possibilities’, the discussions centred on current trends and challenges in cross-border dispute resolution amidst the quick-changing global landscape, and breakthroughs in dispute resolution practice.
Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam SC delivered his welcome address, emphasising the importance of upholding rules-based multilateralism against a backdrop of uncertainty and global challenges brought about by COVID-19 and geopolitical tensions. He highlighted, “The Singapore Convention on Mediation provides businesses with greater assurance that their international mediated settlement agreements can be enforced across borders.”
Secretary of UNCITRAL Anna Joubin-Bret gave her opening remarks, where she expressed her appreciation for the Singapore Government’s role in helping to facilitate opportunities for the legal industry. She said, “The launch of UNCITRAL Academy here in Singapore as part of the Singapore Convention Week has been a dream of ours – to turn our legislative work into practice as close as possible to the end user and their needs.”
During a fireside chat on the evolution of dispute resolution in Asia, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong SC shared Singapore’s journey to becoming a leading centre for international commercial dispute resolution. He also expressed optimism about growing opportunities for young practitioners in Asia as new areas and opportunities emerge in the region.
“The Singapore Convention on Mediation provides businesses with greater assurance that their international mediated settlement agreements can be enforced across borders.”
Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Law, Rahayu Mahzam launched the second edition of the Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy’s (SIDRA) Singapore Convention on Mediation Commentary Book during the UNCITRAL Academy Conference.
The Conference also hosted rich panel discussions on pertinent topics such as investor-state dispute settlement reforms and dispute resolution in relation to the digital economy, climate change and various specialised fields.
Three UNCITRAL Academy Capacity-Building Workshops were held virtually over two days:
- The Government Capacity-Building Workshop, supported by SIDRA, featured a panel of speakers who provided perspectives from various jurisdictions on signing and ratifying the Singapore Convention on Mediation. Speakers and participants also exchanged views on various topics relating to the Convention and its implementation.
- The Industry Capacity-Building Workshop, supported by the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC), provided participants an opportunity to hear views from international dispute resolution practitioners and experts on common user concerns regarding mediation, which included insights on issues such as confidentiality and guiding principles when drafting settlement agreements.
- At the Investor-State Dispute Settlement Capacity-Building Workshop, supported by SIDRA and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), panellists explored recent developments in Investor-State mediation and took a deep dive into the practical considerations surrounding such mediation through different stakeholders’ perspectives.
2. Partner Events
SC Week 2022 proudly offered a large range of exciting events organised by partner institutions and associations throughout the week, which explored a range of legal and dispute resolution-related topics, such as ‘Singapore’s Role in Maritime Dispute Resolution’, ‘Litigation in the Asia-Pacific Region’ and ‘Complex Mediations for a Digital Age’. The events drove rich discussions among global experts and thought leaders.
3. Reimagine, Rethink, Remake International Commercial Dispute Resolution Event
Promising young dispute resolution practitioners from around the world came to Singapore to exchange views on emerging issues in dispute resolution on 31 August 2022, with Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong SC and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Law Rahayu Mahzam joining in the roundtable discussions and presentations. It was an insightful session, where the practitioners shared varied perspectives and experiences with their peers, with a view to shaping the future of international dispute resolution.
Promising young dispute resolution practitioners from around the world came to Singapore to exchange views on emerging issues in dispute resolution
4. Welcome Reception
Guests enjoyed a stunning bird’s eye view of Singapore while reconnecting with old friends and toasting to new connections at an exclusive welcome reception hosted by MinLaw to formally welcome SC Week 2022 participants and kick off the week’s events on 29 August 2022.
5. Breaking with Convention Networking Event
After a day of fruitful discussions at the UNCITRAL Academy Conference on 30 August 2022, participants gathered along the rich historic lanes of Emerald Hill for a casual evening of networking with light bites and drinks.
6. Experience Singapore
SC Week 2022 participants were given a ‘taste’ of Singapore through various curated activities on 28 August 2022.
The Market to Table Culinary Experience brought participants to a wet market to pick out fresh ingredients and cook local favourites such as chicken rice, alongside professional chefs. Gin enthusiasts who signed up for the Brass Lion Distillery Tour learnt more about the distilling process and sampled some locally made spirits.
An exclusive tour of the former Supreme Court gave participants the opportunity to explore areas of the historic building not usually open to the public. To cap off the day, participants set sail on an evening Singapore River Cruise to take in the sights of Singapore’s nightscape from an iconic traditional bumboat.
Role of SC Week in promoting international dispute resolution
SC Week 2022 was made possible with the strong support of UNCITRAL, our partner organisations and student volunteers.
The success of SC Week 2022 is a testament to the pivotal role that Singapore continues to play in promoting global thought leadership and bringing expert practitioners, academics and business leaders together to share best practices and insights on international dispute resolution amidst a changing operating landscape.
The Singapore Convention on Mediation is an essential instrument in the facilitation of international trade and the promotion of mediation as an effective cross-border dispute resolution option. SC Week reinforces our commitment to the Convention and to multilateralism.
Highlights of the SC Week 2022 are available online.