On the sidelines of the busy seventy‑fourth General Debate at United Nations Headquarters, 32 Member States undertook 48 treaty actions in an annual four‑day event that ended on 27 September.
Participants included two Heads of State, one Head of Government and 27 ministerial‑level officials. The treaty actions comprised four accessions, one approval, three consents to be bound, one declaration, 17 ratifications and 22 signatures.
As the world gathered at the United Nations to accelerate action on the Sustainable Development Goals, much attention was on promoting people and planet through multilateral treaties. Focusing on treaties ranging from Disarmament, Human Rights, Environment, Commercial Arbitration and Mediation, International Trade and Development, to Penal Matters and Transport and Communications, global leaders publicly recommitted to multilateralism and a rules‑based international system.
Grenada, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Bolivia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Uruguay jointly took action on the regional Escazú Agreement, one of the most important treaties on human rights and the environment of the last 20 years. This represents an important step towards the Escazú Agreement’s entry into force.
The year 2019 also marks the thirtieth anniversary since children’s human rights were first enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Armenia, the Gambia, Myanmar and the Maldives all signed or ratified the Optional Protocols to the Convention, relating to the involvement of children in armed conflict and to a communications procedure, sending a strong signal that every right is for every child.
The spotlight was also on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, with signatures by Botswana, Dominica, Grenada, Lesotho, Maldives, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. Bangladesh, Ecuador, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Maldives and Trinidad and Tobago all ratified the Treaty, bringing the world a step closer to achieving a planet free of this deadliest of all weapons.
Other treaty actions included Grenada’s accession to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; accession by the Maldives to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Arms Trade Treaty; Viet Nam’s approval and Bhutan’s ratification of the Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer; and Benin’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
In September 2000, the United Nations invited world leaders attending the landmark Millennium Summit to take advantage of their presence at Headquarters to join a wide range of major international treaties. Since then, the Treaty Event has been held annually, usually coinciding with the general debate of the General Assembly in September. Since 2000, the United Nations Treaty Events have resulted in more than 2,000 treaty‑related actions, including signatures, ratifications and accessions.
For more information on the 2019 Treaty Event, please see: http://treaties.un.org.
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