AIIB plans landmark Legal Week


The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has invited the United Nations’ top legal representative, along with general counsel and legal department heads from the biggest multilateral financial institutions in the region and further afield, to attend its inaugural Legal Week in Beijing in October.

The legal week, which will run from 16-20 October, will begin with a two-day academic conference at AIIB headquarters on the topic of good governance and modern international financial institutions.

On 19 October, the inaugural AIIB Law Lecture will be given by Miguel de Serpa Soares, the undersecretary general for legal affairs and legal counsel of the United Nations. Introduced by the AIIB president, Jin Liqun, the lecture will examine co-operation between the UN and other international organizations.

Gerard SandersGeneral counselAsian Infrastructure Investment Bank
Gerard Sanders
General counsel
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Confirmed conference speakers include the general counsel of several fellow multilateral development banks, academics and other legal specialists to bring authority and insight to the subject matter. The invited audience is likewise comprised of leading lawyers, academics and legal practitioners from across the world.

The AIIB Legal Week will conclude with a closed-door meeting of Asia-based chief legal officers of international financial institutions. This grouping will comprise an impressive array of institutions headquartered in the broader Asia region.

“The rule of law and good governance are intrinsic not only to the legitimacy, but also to the success, of international financial institutions. They form a worthy focus for debate and discussion,” said Gerard Sanders, general counsel of the AIIB.

“It is part of the tradition of public service among international financial institutions to play a leading role in the international legal community.

“The AIIB has taken on this important shared responsibility with an aim similar to our infrastructure project financing – improving connectivity.”

In addition to the AIIB (based in Beijing), the Asian Development Bank (Manila), Credit Guarantee and Investment Facility (Manila), ECO Trade and Development Bank (Istanbul), Eurasian Development Bank (Almaty), Green Climate Fund (Seoul), the International Investment Bank (Moscow), Islamic Development Bank (Jeddah) and the New Development Bank (Shanghai) will all be represented. Their chief legal officers will hold discussions on pressing institutional and operational matters of common concern, as well as hold talks with undersecretary general de Serpa Soares.

The entire conference proceedings will comprise the inaugural issue of the AIIB Legal Journal, to be published at the time of the third annual meeting of the AIIB next June in Mumbai, India.

“These kinds of keynote events recognize that no institution exists in either an intellectual or legal vacuum,” said Sanders. “Although international financial institutions – of which the AIIB is the latest – owe their existence to multinational treaties, and are protected by a legal status independent of member states, they are not above the law.

“Understanding better how public international law and good governance converge and uphold the rule of law is essential for all the organizations taking part in the AIIB’s inaugural Legal Week.”