The United Nations’ top lawyer was a hit with attendees at a special function during Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) recent inaugural Legal Week in Beijing.

About 100 invited attendees from law firms, academic institutions and business, as well as GCs from regional and global financial institutions turned out to hear a law lecture from UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel Miguel de Serpa Soares titled “The necessity of co-operation between international organizations”.

More than twenty GCs and a number of other senior lawyers at international financial institutions (IFIs) and national authorities attended the Legal Week, including: Marie-Anne Birken (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development); Heikki Cantell (Nordic Investment Bank); Nikolay Chernenkiy (International Investment Bank); Jan De Bel (Council of Europe Development Bank); Pascale Hélène Dubois (World Bank); David Eatough (European Stability Mechanism); Olga Glukhova (Eurasian Development Bank); Raul R. Herrera (Green Climate Fund); Yan Liu (International Monetary Fund); Gene Soon Park (Credit Guarantee & Investment Facility); Gerard Sanders (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank); Michail Spanopoulos (Black Sea Trade and Development Bank); Christopher Stephens (Asian Development Bank); Rutger De Witt Wijnen (Global Fund); Paul Yuen (Monetary Authority of Singapore); and Kin-chung Boyce Yung (Department of Justice, Hong Kong SAR).

AIIB Legal Week a hit with GCs
From left: AIIB GC Gerard Sanders, the UN’s Miguel de Serpa Soares, and AIIB President Jin Liqun

Feedback from the GCs to Asia Business Law Journal was positive, with one adding some sessions provided “something of a tutorial for me” on many issues.

General Counsel of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Gerard Sanders, advises the bank’s president, Jin Liqun (who also attended most of the events during the Legal Week, including the law lecture), and also governance bodies of the AIIB, as well as leading its Office of the General Counsel.

Sanders said the event was a success and one he hoped to continue. The week included a two-day conference on the topic of good governance and modern international financial institutions, a law lecture, and a one-day meeting of chief legal officers of Asia-based IFIs.

“There was a rich exchange of ideas, many people commented that this is the kind of thing we should do more often'” he said. “And based on that, our considerations are certainly to look at doing the same thing next year.”

Sanders said the law lecture provided by Serpa Soares was a real highlight of the week. “He spoke about the necessity for co-operation among international organizations, and he made some important observations,” he said. “The president of AIIB, Jin Liqun, also made some comments that were very well received by the audience, including his emphasis of the two fundamental notions of the bank, namely the rule of law and partnership.

“We attach huge amounts of value to the experiences of others, to knowledge, to ideas. We want to learn from others, distill what we hear, and internalize that in our own decision making, and we think that will strengthen the decisions that we do make.

“So we have a selfish reason for hosting these things, but at the same time we hope that as an international organization, we can play our part in contributing to the development of global goals.”