SINGAPORE: Fiji and Singapore became the first two countries to deposit their respective instruments of ratification of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation on Tuesday (Feb 25).
The treaty, known as the Singapore Convention on Mediation, will allow countries to enforce mediated settlements across borders. The treaty was named after Singapore to recognise its role in developing and negotiating it.
Singapore and Fiji were represented by Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Health Mr Edwin Tong, and Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Fiji to the United Nations, Mr Satyendra Prasad respectively.
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The instruments of ratification were deposited in a handover ceremony at the UN Headquarters with the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel, Mr Miguel de Serpa Soares.
The Singapore Convention on Mediation will enter into force six months after the third State deposits its instrument of ratification, acceptance and approval or accession.
An instrument of ratification is a document validated by a signature of an official that expresses the consent of a state to be bound by a treaty.
THE "MISSING THIRD PIECE" FOR LITIGATION
Mr Tong said that the Singapore Convention on Mediation joins instruments such as the New York Convention for arbitration and the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements for litigation as the "missing third piece".
"By providing for the cross-border settlement agreements resulting from mediation, the Convention strengthens the international framework of rules in the field of commercial dispute resolution," said Mr Tong.
"I am happy that Singapore, together with Fiji, have come together today to be the first two countries to ratify the convention.
"We are now closer to seeing the Convention enter into force. Singapore is committed towards multilateralism and a rules-based international order.
"We are confident that the Convention will benefit international trade, by providing businesses around the world with more options and greater certainty in resolving cross border disputes. Singapore will continue to do our part to promote and support the Convention," he added.
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Earlier in February, the Singapore Convention on Mediation Act 2020 was passed in Parliament, six months after the Singapore Convention Signing Ceremony and Conference held in Singapore on Aug 7, 2019.
On the day that the Singapore Convention on Mediation was opened, it was signed by 46 countries, including the United States, China, India and South Korea.
Another 24 countries attended the signing ceremony to show their support for the Convention, with six other countries subsequently signing it to bring to the total number of signatory countries to 52.