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Sixty-seventh session

United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (Agenda item 78)

Summary of work

Background (source: A/67/100)

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)), to contribute towards a better knowledge of international law as a means of strengthening international peace and security and of promoting friendly relations and cooperation among States. The Assembly authorized the continuation of the Programme annually until its twenty-sixth session, biennially until its sixty-fourth session and annually thereafter (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, 60/19, 62/62, 64/113 and 65/25).

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-sixth session, the General Assembly authorizedthe Secretary-General to carry out in 2012 and 2013 the activities specified in his report on the Programme of Assistance, including the provision of a number of fellowships, to be determined in the light of the overall resources for the Programme of Assistance and to be awarded to qualified candidates from developing countries to attend the International Law Fellowship Programme in The Hague and regional courses in international law in 2012 and 2013. The Assembly also authorized the Secretary-General to award a minimum of one scholarship in 2012 and 2013 under the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea, subject to the availability of voluntary contributions made for that fellowship (resolution 66/97).

At the same session, the General Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to continue and further develop the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law as a major contribution to the teaching and dissemination of international law around the world and to continue to finance the activity from provisions in the regular budget, as well as, when necessary, from voluntary financial contributions (resolution 66/97).

Also at that session, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to provide to the programme budget for the following and future bienniums the resources necessary to ensure the continued effectiveness and further development of the Programme of Assistance, in particular the organization of regional courses in international law on a regular basis and the viability of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law; to periodically invite Member States, universities, philanthropic foundations and other interested national and international institutions and organizations, as well as individuals, to make voluntary contributions towards the financing of the Programme of Assistance or otherwise to assist in its implementation and possible expansion; and, following consultations with the Advisory Committee on the Programme of Assistance, to submit recommendations regarding the execution of the Programme in subsequent years (resolution 66/97).

At its sixty-sixth session, the General Assembly appointed the following 25 Member States as members of the Advisory Committee on the Programme of Assistance for a period of four years, beginning on 1 January 2012 and ending on 31 December 2015: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Portugal, Russian Federation, Sudan, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania and United States of America (resolution 66/97).

 
Consideration at the sixty-seventh session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 16th, 17th, 24th and 25th meetings, on 24 October and on 9 and 16 November 2012 (see A/C.6/67/SR.16, 17, 24 and 25). For its consideration of the item, the Committee had before it the report of the Secretary-General (A/67/518).

During the 16th meeting, the Secretary of the Advisory Committee on the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the teaching, study, dissemination, and wider appreciation of international law made a statement.

Statements were made by the representatives of Chile (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Egypt (on behalf of the African Group), Viet Nam (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), the European Union (also on behalf of its Member States; the Acceding Country Croatia, the Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland and Serbia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia aligned themselves with this declaration), Ethiopia, the Republic of Korea, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina, Nigeria, Malaysia, Portugal, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, China, Ireland, Thailand, Eritrea, Israel, South Africa, the United States of America, the Sudan, the Russian Federation, Ghana and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Delegations welcomed the report of the Secretary-General (A/67/518) and expressed their strong support for the Programme of Assistance. Some delegations underlined that the Programme is a core activity of the United Nations. Several delegations commended the work of the Codification Division, including its cost saving measures.

Some delegations expressed concern about the financial situation of the Programme, notably the sustainability of the Programme under voluntary contributions. Several delegations favoured providing adequate resources for the Programme of Assistance in the programme budget for the 2014-2015 biennium. It was noted that it was important to ensure that the Programme has adequate resources, within overall existing resources.

Several delegations underlined the importance of the International Law Fellowship Programme.

Many delegations expressed their support to the Regional Courses in International Law. Some delegations thanked the African Union for its support. Some delegations welcomed the possibility of organizing a Regional Course for Latin American and the Caribbean.

Some delegations noted the importance of the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe scholarship on the law of the sea, urging Member States to continue to make contributions to this scholarship.

Some delegations praised the numerous legal websites maintained by the Office of Legal Affairs. Several delegations welcomed the Audiovisual Library of International Law, as a useful instrument to achieve the goals of the Programme. Some delegations urged that adequate resources be provided to sustain the Audiovisual Library.

As to legal publications, some delegations praised the desktop publishing of the Codification Division. Some delegations welcomed the publication of the jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of International Justice, the Legislative Series and the Yearbook of the International Law Commission.

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 24th meeting, on 9 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.6/67/L.15). At the 25th meeting, on 16 November, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/67/L.15 without a vote.

Under the terms of the draft resolution, the General Assembly would reaffirm that the Programme constitutes a core activity of the United Nations and that there is an increase in the demand for international law training, which creates new challenges for the Programme. The Assembly would, inter alia: authorize the Secretary-General to carry out the activities specified in his reports on the Programme in 2013; reiterate its request to the Secretary-General to provide to the programme budget for 2014-2015 the necessary resources for the Programme to ensure its continued effectiveness and further development; and decide to consider the viability of voluntary contributions as a sustainable method for funding the Regional Courses in International Law and the Audiovisual Library of International Law and the need to provide a more reliable funding method. In addition, the Assembly would decide to include the item in the provisional agenda of its sixty-eighth session.

This agenda item was subsequently considered at the sixty-eighth session (2013).