Sixth Committee (Legal) — 73rd session

United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (Agenda item 81)

Documentation

Summary of work

Background (source: A/73/100)

At its twentieth session, under the item entitled “Technical assistance to promote the teaching, study, dissemination and wider appreciation of international law”, the General Assembly established a programme of assistance and exchange in the field of international law as well as an Advisory Committee on Technical Assistance to Promote the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law, the members of which are appointed by the Assembly, to assist the Secretary-General in the performance of the functions entrusted to him by the Assembly (resolution 2099 (XX)). The Assembly had the item on its agenda at its twenty-first session, and decided that the programme established under resolution 2099 (XX) would be known as the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law, and accordingly the Advisory Committee set up under that resolution would be known as the Advisory Committee on the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (resolution 2204 (XXI)).

The Assembly had the item entitled “United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law” on its agenda and authorized the continuation of the Programme annually at its twenty-second to twenty-sixth sessions, biennially until its sixty-fourth session and annually thereafter (resolutions 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, 65/25, 66/97, 67/91, 68/110, 69/117, 70/116, 71/139 and 72/115).

At its seventy-second session, the Assembly allocated the item to the Sixth Committee, where statements were made by the Acting Secretary, on behalf of the Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Programme of Assistance, a representative of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs, and 28 delegations (see A/C.6/72/SR.16 and 30). The Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to carry out the activities specified in his report on this item in 2018 and 2019. The Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report to it at its seventy-third session on the implementation of the Programme of Assistance in 2018 and, following consultations with the Advisory Committee on the Programme of Assistance, to submit recommendations regarding the Programme in subsequent years (resolution 72/115).

Consideration at the seventy-third session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 18th, 19th and 35th meetings, on 19 October and on 13 November 2018 (A/C.6/73/SR.18, 19 and 35). For its consideration of the item, the Committee had before it the report of the Secretary-General (A/73/415).

During the 18th meeting, both the Chair and the Secretary of the Advisory Committee on the Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law made a statement as did a representative of the Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs.

Statements were made by representatives of Egypt (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China), the Gambia (on behalf of the African Group), El Salvador (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)), Barbados (on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)), Cambodia (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)), the European Union (also on behalf of its Member States) (the candidate countries Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, aligned themselves with the statement), Finland (and also on behalf of Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Norway (Nordic Countries)), Brazil, Portugal, the Sudan, Paraguay, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Thailand, Lebanon, Mauritius, Gabon, South Africa, China, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Togo, Uruguay, Namibia, Tonga, Monaco, Peru, Bangladesh, Singapore, Nigeria, Morocco, Ethiopia, Algeria, Cuba and Timor-Leste.

Delegations welcomed the Report of the Secretary-General and commended the role of the Programme of Assistance in furthering knowledge of international law and thereby strengthening international peace and security, promoting friendly relations and cooperation among States, and supporting the rule of law. It was noted that the training provided by the Programme of Assistance had enabled generations of government lawyers, judges and diplomats from across the globe to have a better understanding of international law for the benefit of the international community as a whole. Several delegations stressed the importance of the Programme as a critical capacity-building activity to improve the participation of developing countries in multilateral frameworks and instruments. The contribution of the Programme of Assistance towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 16 was also highlighted.

Delegations expressed appreciation for the work of the Office of Legal Affairs, in particular that of the Codification Division, and commended its efforts to promote international law in an inclusive manner.

Delegations recognized the Audiovisual Library of International Law as an invaluable research and teaching resource, offering free access to a vast range of materials, and noted its reach and continued expansion in both content and users. Delegations noted with appreciation the launch of the podcasts of the Lecture Series which enhances access to the Series. Support was expressed for making more of the content available in other official languages of the United Nations. Delegations welcomed the issuance of the four-volume Recueil de droit international: Collection d’instruments, used as a training material for the training programmes conducted in French and available on the Audiovisual Library.

Delegations expressed their strong appreciation for and support of the Regional Courses in International Law and for the International Law Fellowship Programme. Several delegations noted the training programmes have a multiplier effect as they generate numerous opportunities for further exchanges of ideas and sharing of knowledge as a result of the contacts made during the programmes. Support was expressed for gender parity with respect to the participants of the training programmes. Some delegations requested that efforts be made to further increase the geographical diversity of lecturers. Ethiopia, Chile and Thailand were recognized for hosting the Regional Courses in their respective regions in 2018 as were the contributions made by the United Nations Regional Commissions in serving as venues for the Regional Courses.

With respect to legal publications, delegations expressed support for the efforts of the Codification Division to expedite the issuance of its publications, including in hard copy, and noted their utility.

Delegations reiterated the importance of maintaining regular budget funding for the Regional Courses and the Audiovisual Library of International Law with some delegations requesting an increase in the number of fellowships funded by the regular budget. Further, appreciation was also expressed for those States which had made voluntary contributions, including in-kind contributions, to the activities of the Programme of Assistance. Continued and enhanced voluntary contributions, including for the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Fellowship on the Law of the Sea, were encouraged.

Archived videos of plenary meetings

Video   18th meeting (19 October 2018, 10:00am – 1:00pm)

Video   19th meeting (19 October 2018, 3:00pm – 4:00pm)

Video   35th meeting (13 November 2018, 10:00am – 1:00pm)

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 35th meeting, on 13 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.6/73/L.25). At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/73/L.25, without a vote (see para. 7).

Under the terms of the draft resolution, the General Assembly would request the Secretary-General to continue to include resources for the activities of the Programme of Assistance in the proposed programme budget for 2020 and pursuant to operative paragraph 3, would authorize the Secretary-General to further expand such activities using voluntary contributions. The Assembly would reiterate its request to Member States and interested organizations to make voluntary contributions for the Audiovisual Library of International Law and the United Nations Regional Courses in International Law. In addition, the Assembly would encourage the Secretary-General to support the establishment of alumni networks of participants of the training programmes organized under the Programme of Assistance. The Assembly would note with appreciation the efforts of the Codification Division of the Office of Legal Affairs to enhance the accessibility of the Audiovisual Library by making all lectures in the Lecture Series available as podcasts, note with satisfaction the issuance by the Codification Division of volume XXXI of Reports of International Arbitral Awards and further would express its appreciation for the issuance during the reporting period of the Recueil de droit international: Collection d’instruments.

This agenda item will be considered at the seventy-fourth session (2019).

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