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Sixty-fourth session

United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (agenda item 80)

Summary of work

Background (source: A/64/100)

The United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law was established by the General Assembly at its twentieth session, in 1965 (resolution 2099 (XX)). The Assembly authorized the continuation of the Programme at its annual sessions until its twenty-sixth session, and thereafter biennially (resolutions 2204 (XXI), 2313 (XXII), 2464 (XXIII), 2550 (XXIV), 2698 (XXV), 2838 (XXVI), 3106 (XXVIII), 3502 (XXX), 32/146, 34/144, 36/108, 38/129, 40/66, 42/148, 44/28, 46/50, 48/29, 50/43, 52/152, 54/102, 56/77, 58/73 and 60/19).

In the performance of the functions entrusted to him by the General Assembly, the Secretary-General is assisted by the Advisory Committee on the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law, the members of which are appointed by the Assembly.

At its sixty-second session, the General Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to carry out in 2008 and 2009 the activities specified in his report, including the provision of: (a) a number of fellowships in both 2008 and 2009, to be awarded at the request of Governments of developing countries, (b) a minimum of one scholarship in both 2008 and 2009 under the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea, subject to the availability of new voluntary contributions made specifically to the fellowship fund, and (c) subject to the overall resources for the Programme, assistance in the form of a travel grant for one participant from each developing country, who would be invited to possible regional courses to be organized in 2008 and 2009; requested the Secretary-General to invite Member States and interested organizations, as well as individuals, to make voluntary contributions towards the financing of the Programme or otherwise to assist in its implementation and possible expansion; and also requested the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly at its sixty-fourth session on the implementation of the Programme during 2008 and 2009 and, following consultations with the Advisory Committee on the Programme, to submit recommendations regarding the execution of the Programme in subsequent years
(resolution 62/62).

Consideration at the sixty-fourth session.

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 24th and 25th meetings, on 4 and 12 November 2009. Statements were made by the representatives of Ghana, Slovakia, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States of America, Mexico and Colombia (see A/C.6/64/SR.24).

Several delegations expressed support for the Programme of Assistance and considered it to be a key component in the efforts of the United Nations to strengthen international law. The importance of the Audiovisual Library of International Law in the teaching and dissemination of international law was particularly emphasized. The view was expressed that due consideration should be given to placing the activities under the Programme of Assistance on the regular budget, which would be supplemented by voluntary contributions, to ensure their effective implementation. The point was also made that it would be useful to receive information from the Secretary-General concerning the possibility of providing funding from the regular budget for the Audiovisual Library, as referred to in paragraph 89 of his report on this item (A/64/495). The clarifications regarding the relationship between the Programme of Assistance and the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Fellowship for the Law of the Sea in annex II of the Secretary-General’s report were deemed to be fully satisfactory.

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 25th meeting, on 12 November, the representative of Ghana, on behalf of the Bureau, introduced a draft resolution entitled “United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law” (A/C.6/64/L.17). The Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/64/L.17 without a vote. The representative of Ghana spoke in explanation of position after taking action on draft resolution A/C.6/64/L.17 (see A/C.6/64/SR.25).

Under draft resolution A/C.6/64/L.17, the General Assembly would approve the guidelines and recommendations regarding the execution of the Programme for the biennium 2010-2011 andauthorize the Secretary-General to carry out the activities specified in section III of his report on this item. It would recognize the importance of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law as a major contribution to the teaching and dissemination of international law around the world, and urge States to make voluntary contributions to enable the Codification Division to continue and further develop the Library. It would also request the Secretary-General to provide relevant information to the Advisory Committee on the Programme of Assistance, to facilitate its consideration of the possibility of providing funding from the regular budget for the Audiovisual Library. In addition, the General Assembly would request the Secretary-General to continue to publicize the Programme and to invite Member States and interested organizations, as well as individuals, to make voluntary contributions towards the financing of the Programme or otherwise to assist in its implementation and possible expansion. The General Assembly would further request the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly at its sixty-fifth session on the implementation of the Programme during 2010 and, following consultations with the Advisory Committee on the Programme, to submit recommendations regarding the execution of the Programme in subsequent years.

This agenda item was subsequently considered at the sixty-fifth session (2010)