Lisbon, Portugal

20 June 2022

Secretary-General's video message to the 80th Biennial Conference of the International Law Association: “International law: our common good”

Watch the video:


I am pleased to send my greetings to the International Law Association as you gather in Lisbon.

International law is the foundation of global cooperation – and I commend your efforts to promote, develop and strengthen this bedrock of multilateralism.

Your theme – “International law: our common good” – could not be more timely. 

Your focus fully aligns with our efforts to address global governance challenges, outlined in my report “Our Common Agenda”.

The report offers a global roadmap for the development and effective implementation of international law.

This includes a number of key priorities:

Encouraging the participation of States in multilateral treaties and other instruments on matters of global concern, such as the protection of the environment.

Urging States to accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.

Assisting States in identifying and addressing gaps in the international legal framework.

And helping States understand and overcome reasons for non-compliance with international law.

Of course, international law is not only for States – it should serve people.

A people-centered vision for the rule of law can ensure that institutions remain strong and accountable, and that justice and fair remedies are accessible to all.

A principled framework for the development of international law requires a stronger, more networked and inclusive multilateralism.

We must engage all stakeholders, including non‑governmental organizations and academia, to adapt to global challenges, live up to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and build a more peaceful, prosperous and just world.

I wish you a successful conference and I count on you to continue defending and developing our common language, the language of international law.

Thank you.