8 July 2010

United Nations International Trade Law Commission Has Distinct Contribution to Make to UN Joint Rule of Law Programmes, Says Deputy Secretary-General

8 July 2010
Deputy Secretary-General
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

United Nations International Trade Law Commission Has Distinct Contribution


to Make to UN Joint Rule of Law Programmes, Says Deputy Secretary-General


Following are Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks to the panel discussion on the role of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNICTRAL) at the national and international levels, 7 July, in New York:

Thank you for this opportunity to consider our activities to further the rule of law in the context of commercial law.

The United Nations today faces many challenges in promoting the rule of law.  These include being more responsive to Member States’ needs and capacities; empowering national stakeholders; mobilizing local knowledge and resources; and constantly monitoring and evaluating the impact of our work.

The fact that all these issues will be discussed today shows the relevance of your meeting — and of UNCITRAL’s work — for the United Nations entire rule-of-law agenda.

With its mandate to work in the interests of all peoples, and particularly those of developing countries, UNCITRAL has continuously sought more effective ways to deliver, to build local capacities and to respond to needs “on the ground”.  But no one entity, including UNCITRAL, can hope to achieve progress single-handedly on the range of issues that relate to the rule of law.  They can only be addressed collectively — by the whole United Nations system.

UNCITRAL has a special role to play here — as shown by your specific mandate to encourage cooperation and to coordinate the work of organizations active in the field of international commercial law.  But even initiatives by the United Nations alone are not sufficient.  The United Nations is just one actor in the field; our policies and approaches must cohere with those of others.  Here again, UNCITRAL’s role as the core United Nations legal body in the field of international commercial law gives it special relevance.

UNCITRAL promotes the rule of law in both national and cross-border contexts:  by developing a modern commercial law framework; by assisting States to implement it; and by helping them to fulfil their international commitments, under the auspices of other international and regional organizations.  Beyond its contribution to the United Nations internal coordination, and to our work with other actors in the field, UNCITRAL also has less visible but no less important impacts on economic and social development.

Effective commercial law plays a supportive role in addressing the roots of economic tensions and problems.  These include poverty and inequality, or disputes over access to shared resources.  It also promotes regional and international integration, which can deter cross-border tensions from escalating into conflicts.

UNCITRAL’s work on arbitration and conciliation, public procurement, privately financed infrastructure projects and microfinance are particularly relevant to the challenges of transitional justice and post-conflict reconstruction.  This includes the creation of jobs for ex-combatants and internally displaced persons.

UNCITRAL’s work is also crucial to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  It is directly relevant to Goal 8 — the promotion of an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system.  And it contributes to the Millennium Development Goals in many other ways, direct and indirect.  The creation of legal frameworks to mobilize resources is just one example.

As you may already be aware, in September this year the United Nations General Assembly will hold a high-level plenary meeting on the Millennium Development Goals.  As we prepare for September’s summit, we know that the Goals are attainable with the right resources, targeted technical assistance and smart policy.  UNCITRAL is playing an important role in delivering this trinity.

The Secretary-General has called for the United Nations work on the rule of law to be firmly grounded in our development agenda.  This call speaks to the importance of integrating UNCITRAL into the United Nations rule of law activities.  This includes strengthening the capacity of Member States — with their support — in the areas of governance, access to justice, legal empowerment, informal justice systems and the protection of economic and social rights.

With more than 40 years of experience and resources, and access to a unique network of expertise, UNCITRAL has a distinct contribution to make.  I hope and believe we can find ways to integrate your highly specialized and relevant work into the United Nations joint rule of law programmes, and to deploy UNCITRAL resources rapidly and effectively.  This panel is a welcome step in that direction.  I encourage all concerned to follow up by raising awareness of UNCITRAL’s work across the United Nations, and by promoting regular interaction between UNCITRAL and other relevant actors.

To this end, I would also like to mention the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group, which I chair, and which was established by the Secretary-General to help achieve a more coordinated and strategic approach to rule-of-law activities.  It brings together the heads of nine leading United Nations departments and entities engaged in rule-of-law activities.  The director of the Rule of Law Unit, which supports the group, will brief you in a moment.  I encourage you to follow their work closely and to maintain regular dialogue with them.  Let me close by wishing you a fruitful discussion.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.