Speakers Applaud Audiovisual Library Initiatives but Urge Materials be Available in All Six Official Languages
The global demand for legal training met by the Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law must be matched by funding for its activities, the Sixth Committee (Legal) heard today as it began its consideration of the Programme.
Jessica M. Elbaz, Secretary of the Advisory Committee of the Programme of Assistance, introduced the report of the Secretary‑General (document A/74/496), underscoring the heightened need for the Programme’s activities. Since the last biennium, the number of requests for the regional courses on international law has doubled. This year, 82 of the 97 participants had all expenses paid, she said, also noting the attainment of gender parity and geographic diversity among the lecturers.
She also noted that while the regional courses and fellowships benefit a limited number of lawyers, the Audiovisual Library of International Law offers free online training to an unlimited number of people worldwide. Over the 11 years of its existence, it has been accessed by 1.9 million users in all 193 Member States. In efforts to reach across the digital divide, podcasts of lectures were launched last year to enable access by users without high‑speed Internet connections; to date, they have been downloaded more than 90,000 times.
Although the Programme was included in the regular budget of 2018 and 2019, voluntary contributions still remain crucial, she said, especially in regard to funding additional fellowships. The need for teaching and training materials on international law remains just as significant today as it was when the Programme was first established more than half a century ago.
Vladimir Jares, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, updated delegates on the implementation of the Hamilton Shirley Amarasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea. As of 2019, 33 fellows — 15 of them women — from 30 developing countries have completed the Fellowship. They are now making important contributions in their respective countries and regions, he said.
Recalling that the Fellowship was established to disseminate knowledge about the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, he stressed that it is now more important than ever for developing countries to build and maintain the capacity to actively participate in ocean‑related processes. The award had not been made in several years due to insufficient funds, he noted, calling for voluntary financial contributions to enable consistency.
Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee (Ghana), Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Programme of Assistance, said the large number of applications received in the past year for the fellowship and the regional courses are ample evidence of the clear need for capacity‑building and training. She also congratulated the Secretariat for enhancing language and geographical diversity in the Programme and welcomed its efforts to achieve gender parity among participants and lecturers.
In the ensuing debate, a number of delegates praised the work of the Codification Division in implementing the Programme and called for the expansion of the regional courses, increased funding and enhanced linguistic diversity.
The representative of Mauritius pointed out that diplomats have diverse backgrounds, yet they practise international law daily. The Programme’s fellowships and courses offered valuable training to those with non‑legal backgrounds. In addition, international law can be a cold subject “that can be unpalatable if not served properly”, he said, calling on United Nations agencies to disseminate international law in a way that allows those of an early age to appreciate it.
Sudan’s delegate called for more financial resources for the Programme so it can continue to provide high‑quality training in topics of specific relevance to the respective regions. The interactive nature of the training enables exchange of ideas and expertise among the participants which, in turn, leads to enhanced regional cooperation in international law, she noted.
Speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, an observer for the State of Palestine observed that the Programme benefits jurists, academics, diplomats and other public officials from developing countries. While grateful that the Programme’s funding was secured in the budget for biennium 2018 and 2019, he underlined the importance of ensuring appropriate resources in 2020 and beyond.
Cameroon’s representative expressed concern about the restricted number of participants in the regional courses. Of the 252 who applied for the regional course in Addis Ababa, only 25 were chosen and not all countries requesting participation were represented. Globalization has led to new challenges, new norms and new stakeholders, he said, describing the topics discussed at the course, including law and African Union institutions, peaceful settlement of disputes and trade and investment laws. “These topics are extremely important for our countries,” he said.
Also calling for more support for participation, Cuba’s delegate said that many experts from small and developing countries are unable to participate in the courses and scholarships because of economic realities. Noting the detrimental effects of the six‑decade‑long economic blockade that the United States imposed on his country, he called it the main obstacle preventing Cuba from systematically participating in these courses and programs.
El Salvador’s representative shared her experience in the regional course for Latin America and the Caribbean, noting “I was lucky enough to participate.” Held in Santiago in April and May 2019, the course helped the 21 participants — 15 of whom were women — from countries from all over the region, enhance their understanding of treaty law, State responsibility, Law of the Sea, international humanitarian law and other matters. She also stressed that the materials published by the Audiovisual Library should be in all six official languages.
Algeria’s delegate, along with several other speakers, also took up the call for linguistic diversity, noting that the publication of materials in several languages, including Arabic, is crucial to promote multilateralism.
Echoing that, the representative of Portugal noted that Portuguese is one of the most spoken languages in the world and the single most widely spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere. The Audiovisual Library should expand its inclusivity by including content in other languages, he said.
Also speaking were representatives of Egypt, Cambodia (speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Finland (also for Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), Slovakia, Singapore, China, Lebanon, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Sierra Leone, Colombia, United States, Qatar, Russian Federation, Argentina, Ethiopia, Togo, Republic of Moldova, Gabon, Myanmar, Equatorial Guinea, Chile, Morocco, Nigeria, Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as a representative of the European Union delegation.
The Sixth Committee will next meet at 10 a.m. on Monday, 28 October to begin its consideration of the report of the International Law Commission.
Opening Remarks on Programme of Assistance
MARTHA AMA AKYAA POBEE (Ghana), Chair of the Advisory Committee on the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law, called attention to the large number of applications received in the past year for the fellowship and the regional courses. Those numbers provide ample evidence of the clear need for capacity‑building and training. They also reflect the continuing relevance of the Programme’s activities, particularly for developing countries. Noting that the current provisions in the regular budget has made it possible to hold all three courses for the fourth year in a row, she thanked Ethiopia, Thailand and Chile for hosting them in their regions.
Highlighting the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law as a unique element of the Programme, she said its potential can only be fully realized when there is reliable Internet connectivity. Thus, the launch of the podcast series last year is a step in the right direction. The Secretariat has also continued to devote attention to enhancing language and geographical diversity in implementing the Programme. Efforts have also been made to achieve gender parity among participants of the training programme and to increase the number of female lecturers. The work of the Advisory Committee has enhanced the effectiveness of the Programme, she said, affirming her country’s commitment. She added she looked forward to open and transparent consultations on the draft resolution on the Programme.
JESSICA M. ELBAZ, Secretary of the Advisory Committee for the Programme of Assistance, recalling the Programme’s establishment 54 years ago, said that the need for teaching and training materials on international law remains just as significant today. Since the last biennium, the number of requests for training programmes in international law has doubled. Of 97 participants selected this year for training programs, 82 fellows from 72 different Member States had all expenses paid; gender parity and geographic diversity for lecturers were achieved.
However, because only a limited number of lawyers can benefit from these training programs, she underscored the importance of enriching the Audiovisual Library. The Library offers free online training to an unlimited number of people worldwide. Since its creation in 2008, it has been accessed by 1.9 million users in all 193 Member States. Work continues to improve access to the Library’s lecture series. Last year saw the launch of podcasts to enable access by users without access to reliable, high‑speed internet connection. These podcasts have been downloaded more than 90,000 times since their inception.
For such efforts to continue, voluntary contributions remain crucial, especially to fund additional fellowships for training programs, she said. To this end, she thanked Saudi Arabia, China, Finland, Ghana, Iraq, Ireland, Monaco, the Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Slovakia and the United Kingdom for their contributions. She also noted that the deadline for applications to the regional course in international law in Africa to be held in 2020 is 28 October and asked delegates to share this information with qualified candidates, particularly women.
VLADIMIR JARES, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, updated the Committee on the implementation of the Hamilton Shirley Amarasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea. The Fellowship was established in 1981 to assist Government officials and other professionals from developing States to acquire additional knowledge on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and to enhance specialized experience in maritime affairs and related disciplines. As of 2019, 33 fellows from 30 developing counties have completed the Fellowship, 15 of them women. They are now making important contributions in their respective countries and regions.
It is now more important than ever for developing countries to build and maintain the capacity to actively participate in ocean‑related processes, he continued. Therefore, it is critical that awards under the Fellowship are implemented consistently, particularly so that States can plan accordingly for the application and eventual release of staff. Necessary funding was critical in this regard; due to insufficient funds, no awards were made from 2007 to 2009, nor were any made in 2014 and in 2016. Recalling General Assembly resolution 73/125 on oceans and the Law of the Sea, which urged States to make voluntary financial contributions to sustain the Fellowship, he encouraged States to support future Fellows.
AHMED ABDELAZIZ ELGHARIB (Egypt), associating himself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the Programme of Assistance contributes to the promotion of the rule of law at the international level. Not only does the Programme directly serve the objectives and principles of the United Nations and the foundation of the global order, it also represents an important assistive tool for the implementation of the United Nations activities worldwide. Regional courses and other activities are paramount in the dissemination of international law knowledge and capacity‑building of legal professionals, particularly in Africa. More than a third of the applicants have been from Africa, he said, adding that the regional course for Africa takes place annually in Addis Ababa. Commending the activities undertaken by the Codification Division, he said the creation of a community of international law professionals is a useful tool for the realization of the overarching objectives of the Programme.
MAJED S. F. BAMYA, observer for the State of Palestine, speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that the Programme is an integral and indispensable part of the United Nations efforts to promote international law. It benefits jurists, academics, diplomats and other public officials from developing countries. Expressing gratitude that the necessary resources for the Programme were secured in the budget for biennium 2018 and 2019, he underlined the importance of ensuring appropriate funding in 2020 and beyond. The United Nations Audiovisual Library is an essential tool, particularly its off-site recording sessions in various locations to promote a broader representation of recorded lectures. He also commended the Codification Division’s efforts in successfully completing the podcast project that facilitates access of lectures for users without high‑speed Internet access.
SOVANN KE (Cambodia), speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that the Programme promotes Sustainable Development Goal 16 by enhancing capacities at all levels of governance. The Programme, vital for the global dissemination of international law, has granted scholars and practitioners across the world valuable access to training materials and resources on international law. He expressed appreciation for the courses held in The Hague and Chile earlier this year, as well as the ones to be held in Thailand and Ethiopia later in 2019 and 2020.
The importance of the Programme cannot be overstated, he stressed. However, in previous years, financing was lacking. Calling for the Programme to be included in the Organization’s regular budget, he also encouraged additional financing through voluntary contributions to enable the maximum number of participants. He also welcomed the Audiovisual Library as a cost‑effective, widely available resource that promotes legal knowledge across the globe and creates needed institutional knowledge in international law.
ERIC CHABOUREAU, European Union, observed that the Fellowship Programme continues to provide comprehensive training by highly qualified international law scholars and practitioners from different regions and legal systems. The various seminars organized by the Codification Division are crucial in building a common legal culture among young professionals. Welcoming the three regional courses, he added that given the limited number of participants who can be accommodated in the Fellowship Programme, these regional courses play an essential role in the dissemination of international law.
He also congratulated the Codification Division for its desktop publishing activities in 2019, including the United Nations Juridical Yearbook (2014) and the Summaries of Judgments, Advisory Opinions and Orders of the International Court of Justice (2013-2017). More financial stability for the Hamilton Shirley Amarasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea should be ensured, he added. Noting the bloc’s voluntary contributions to various activities of the Programme, he encouraged all States to consider making more frequent or increased contributions in the future in order to sustain its contributions.
NIINA NYRHINEN (Finland), speaking for Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, said an effective rules‑based international order depends on the professionalism and commitment of people acting on behalf of States. Through the Programme of Assistance, generations of lawyers, judges and diplomats have been able to gain a deeper understanding of international law. She commended the active and continued engagement of the Codification Division of the Secretariat’s Office of Legal Affairs. The International Law Fellowship Programme, as well as regional courses, have proven instrumental in providing international law training for young lawyers. Moreover, the Audiovisual Library continues to bring high‑quality training to individuals and institutions free of charge, she observed, noting that the podcast project and new lectures have been launched both in video and audio formats. Spotlighting resources for the Programme proposed in the 2020 regular budget, she urged Member States to make voluntary contributions, as well.
RISHY BUKOREE (Mauritius), aligning himself with the African Group and the Group of 77 and China, observed that many diplomats have diverse professional and academic backgrounds. It is therefore encouraging that more diplomats with non‑legal backgrounds are applying for Programme fellowships and courses, he said, underscoring how these diplomats practice international law daily. He also requested the Codification Division to explore whether the call for future applications could begin in early August and have a submission deadline in early November so that as many interested parties as possible may apply. He also suggested that relevant United Nations agencies help disseminate international law in a way that allows those of an early age to appreciate it. International Law can be a cold subject “that can be unpalatable if not served properly”, he remarked.
PETER NAGY (Slovakia), aligning himself with the European Union, said the Fellowship Programme, the regional courses and other activities of the Programme contribute to enhancing respect for international law. Highlighting the Audiovisual Library, he said it makes legal publications and lectures readily accessible throughout the globe. As a result, it serves as an important resource for a broad group of legal practitioners, as well as the academic community. His country has made a voluntary contribution to the Programme of Assistance, with a focus on the Library, he said, noting his support for devoting continued attention and necessary resources to this project and encouraging its further development and expansion.
CHUNG YOON JOO (Singapore), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and China and ASEAN, said that her country — as a small State that depends on a rules‑based multilateral system for survival and success — identifies with the Programme’s goals and purposes. She welcomed various activities implemented by the Codification Division to promote international law and encouraged the Division to continue to seek opportunities to collaborate with countries and institutions in different regions. She further commended the Division for its efforts to expand the Audiovisual Library, which offers easy access to a vast range of legal resources and training materials. In addition, she gave a detailed overview of domestic initiatives that contribute to building the capacity of fellow developing countries on international law.
CHI XU (China) observed that Fellowship Programme and the regional courses have provided training opportunities for professionals from developing countries and countries with emerging economies. As well, the Audiovisual Library has witnessed a continued expansion in its education and research resources and its historic archives, playing an important role in promoting the dissemination, teaching and exchanges in international law. The Chinese Government has financially contributed to the Programme for many years. China has also directly supported capacity‑building of Asian and African countries in the field of international law. In August 2019, 44 officials from 38 Asian and African countries participated in the fifth training course held in Beijing and Hong Kong. From October 14 to 25, China held the first Belt and Road Workshop on the Cooperation in the Rule of Law in Beijing and Xi’an, attended by legal officials from over 20 countries. The Programme of Assistance requires the joint efforts of the international community, he added.
NUNO VAULTIER MATHIAS (Portugal) commended the outstanding work of the Office of Legal Affairs, which is responsible for conducting research, collecting legal materials, facilitating electronic research and organizing the regional courses for Africa, Asia and the Pacific, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean. However, he expressed concern that the courses and the Programme itself are not yet sufficiently well known by students and young scholars, noting the need to promote the Programme to universities and students. The Audiovisual Library is another important tool for students. He praised the initiative for providing online quality training at a global scale and at relatively low cost. The available content in the Audiovisual Library covers all relevant areas of international law and strives to be inclusive from a linguistic and geographic perspective. However, the Audiovisual Library should expand its inclusivity by including content in other languages. Portuguese is one of the most spoken languages in the world and the single most widely spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere.
Mr. HITTI (Lebanon) stated that the dissemination of international law is a key part of maintaining a rules‑based international order. Noting the increasing number of candidates for the Fellowship Programme and other regional courses, he thanked Ghana for its commitment to ensuring the Programme’s success. While the Programme must be financed from the Organization’s regular budget, he also said that States’ voluntary financial and in‑kind contributions must not be forgotten. He welcomed the Codification Division’s new initiatives like the Alumni Network, as well as efforts to enhance accessibility — particularly for developing countries — to its material, including the podcasts.
Ms. ELGINDI (Sudan), aligning herself with the African Group and the Group of 77, thanked the Codification Division and its regional partners for holding courses in international law. She also noted the crucial role played by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union in implementing the continent’s regional course. The international community must provide more financial resources for the Programme so it can implement these courses which provide high‑quality training by practitioners and scholars, in topics of specific relevance to the respective regions. The training has an interactive nature, thus enabling an exchange of ideas and expertise among the participants which, in turn, can lead to enhanced regional cooperation in matters of international law. She also commended the contribution by the African Institute for International Law and called for more capacity‑building for this organization.
PARK CHULL-JOO (Republic of Korea) stated that the Fellowship Programme and three regional courses provide participants with an opportunity to enhance their knowledge of contemporary issues of international law. For its part, his Government works to promote the dissemination and wider appreciation of international law at the global and regional levels through such initiatives as the Seoul Academy of International Law programme and annual domestic moot court competitions, academic awards and on‑campus town hall meetings. In the field of the Law of the Sea, the Korea Maritime Institute provides capacity‑building training to more than 30 developing countries through the Yeosu Academy of the Law of the Sea. He also thanked Ghana for its leadership and all members of the Advisory Committee for their contribution.
Mr. SINGTO (Thailand) applauded the increased usage of information and communications technology for the Audiovisual Library, especially in its numerous lecture series. These useful resources provide open and unlimited access to knowledge and information, promoting a wider appreciation of international law not only to Government officials but also to the general public. Noting the technical challenges, he voiced a hope for further improvements in the coming years, such as off-site recordings of lectures including in other languages and the update of contents regarding the regional course in the Asia‑Pacific region. Thailand is proud to co‑host that course for the seventh time, to be held from 18 November to 13 December in Bangkok.
HAWANATU KEBE (Sierra Leone), associating herself with the African Group and the Group of 77, expressed appreciation for the competitive selection and participation of her country’s nationals in the regional course on international law held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2018, as well as the Fellowship held in the Hague, in July 2019. She also commended the gender parity observed in participant selection for both the regional courses and the fellowship, as well as the efficient partnership existing between the Codification Division and the Regional Commissions that host the courses. Moreover, the established alumni network will bring together former participants, further enabling peers to share experiences and strengthen networking opportunities, she said.
Mr. FUNDORA (Cuba) said he appreciated the Programme being included on the agenda of each session of the General Assembly. Since this Programme is effective in promoting knowledge of international law, it is necessary to provide funding to experts from small and developing countries. Many of them are unable to participate in the scheduled courses and scholarships because of the economic realities of their countries. The economic blockade imposed for nearly six decades by the United States is the main obstacle preventing Cuba from systematically participating in these courses and programs, he said.
ANDRÉS JOSÉ RUGELES (Colombia) said that international law is a tool for international peace and security. His country’s Constitution embraces the fundamental principles of international law, thus enshrining them as domestic norms. As a result, Colombia has excellent relations with other States and abides by its agreements. Commending the Codification Division, he said that its activities, from the regional courses to the documents published in the Audiovisual Library, promote respect for international law. The regional course for Latin America and the Caribbean was recently held in Santiago, Chile. Thanks to fellowships, Colombian lawyers were able to participate in that course and strengthen their skills. He also called for an increase in the number of legal training resources in Spanish, one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.
EMILY PIERCE (United States) remarked that the Programme continues to improve the accessibility and dissemination of the Audiovisual Library around the world, which provides quality training to a limitless number of people at a relatively low cost for Member States and no cost to those who access it. She thanked the Programme for providing as many scholarships as possible within existing resources to accommodate the greatest number of students. She also thanked those countries and organizations that have made in‑kind and financial contributions. Expressing appreciation for the Codification Division’s efforts to maintain important programs with limited resources, she encouraged the Division to continue securing voluntary contributions to fund its work.
Mr. AL-SAMIKH (Qatar) said for international law to become the only instrument that regulates international relations, there must be increased awareness of it. The Programme’s activities have played a crucial role in that. Paying tribute to the efforts of the Codification Division, he highlighted its publications, including on the rulings and opinions of the International Court of Justice. In light of the conflicts and crises in the world, it is crucial to study emerging issues in depth, he said, pointing to the Programme’s role in that. Multilateral conventions have played a key role in strengthening rule of law and safeguarding an international regime based on rule of law. In an interconnected world, the number of multilateral interactions will also increase, he noted.
ELENA A. MELIKBEKYAN (Russian Federation) noted with approval that all activities conducted under the auspices of the Programme have been implemented consistently and that material has been regularly added to the Audiovisual Library, such as off-site session recordings of her country’s academic practitioners and experts. She called for the Programme’s transfer of funding to the regular budget to be maintained, as this allows predictability. She also thanked the Codification Division’s contributions to expanding the rule of law at the international level.
FERNANDO ANDRÉS MARANI (Argentina), aligning himself with the Group of 77, noted that his country is a member of the Advisory Committee. Commending the leadership of Ghana’s Ambassador Pobee in her capacity as Chair of that Committee, he also highlighted the Codification Division’s hard work and praiseworthy efforts in disseminating international law. The holding of regional courses and the updating of information in the Audiovisual Library are noteworthy achievements, he said, also welcoming the off‑site recording mission held in his country to record lectures in Spanish. The funding from the regular budget has made it possible not only to hold regional courses but also to increase gender parity, he pointed out.
Ms. DESTA (Ethiopia) said that the Audiovisual Library and the treaty database are instrumental in providing Governments with the indispensable resources on international law. Since 2011, Addis Ababa — Africa’s political capital — has hosted the regular regional course. Participants come from a wide spectrum of professions, including diplomats, prosecutors, teachers, staff of independent human rights organizations and transnational organizations such as the African Union. The Programme plays a crucial role in building the capacity needed to ensure rule of law at the national and international levels. It also has the potential to build capacity to foster multilateralism. Ethiopia values the contribution of the regional course and looks forward to hosting many more rounds of the course in its capital, she said.
DEKALEGA FINTAKPA LAMEGA (Togo), aligning himself with the African Group and the Group of 77, observed that, when Member States became party to the Charter of the United Nations and other relevant international instruments, they became obliged to disseminate the provisions of these instruments as they represent important sources of international law. While it is incumbent on States to fulfil this obligation, some international organizations have the remit to assist in this matter. To this end, he commended the Codification Division’s work in implementing the Programme, from which Togo has benefited due to its positive impact on university students, international law lecturers and diplomats. Respect for international law first requires knowledge, he pointed out, expressing gratitude that resources are in place to make the Fellowship Programme and regional courses available in 2020. He also asked for an increase in the number of such fellowships offered.
CARLA ESPERANZA RIVERA SÁNCHEZ (El Salvador), aligning herself with the Group of 77, said that international law can strengthen universal peace by improving the implementation of treaties. The international community today has to work together on many issues, including the intergenerational preservation of the environment and the fight against terrorism. That called for improving international legal certainties. Since its creation in 1965, the Programme has contributed to enhancing the technical skills of those working in Governments as well as academia. The regional course for Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Santiago in April and May 2019, was attended by 21 students of whom 15 were women, she said, adding: “I was lucky enough to participate.” The course helped the participants, from countries from all over the region, all step up their understanding of treaty law, State responsibility, Law of the Sea, international humanitarian law and other matters. Stressing that the materials published by the Audiovisual Library should be in all six official languages, she said that would further boost its work.
AUGUSTINA ŞIMAN (Republic of Moldova), associating herself with the European Union, said that the Programme broadens, deepens and unifies comprehension of the rules, norms and standards which govern international law. It helps uphold justice in the junctures of injustice. A better understanding of international law is key to a better fulfilment by Member States of their shared obligations: to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations, and to cooperate in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian nature. To that end, the state university of the Republic of Moldova has integrated the lecture series collection of the Audiovisual Library into its curricula in international law.
ANNETTE ANDRÉE ONANGA (Gabon), aligning herself with the African Group and the Group of 77, commended the Codification Division’s efforts in implementing the Programme of Assistance. She also thanked Ghana for its leadership and contribution to the promotion of international law and the smooth running of the Programme. Its training activities — such as the Fellowship Programme and regional courses — benefit numerous legal experts, diplomats, students and practitioners, especially those from developing countries. The Audiovisual Library and podcast project provide lectures in an audio format, which facilitates the teaching of international law at a low cost. She called for the General Assembly to attribute significant resources to the Programme so it can continue its activities.
Mr. HTET (Myanmar), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said multilateralism can only succeed if inter‑State relations are based on the rule of law. Proper maintenance of a rule‑based international system largely depends on knowledge of international legal norms and values among Member States. There is a direct link between strengthening rule of law at national and international levels and wider dissemination and appreciation of rule of law. Noting that Myanmar has been nurturing democratic norms and values by promoting rule of law since it embarked on a democratic transition, he said wider dissemination of international law and legal norms within societies, especially among youth, is critical to the democratization process. Continuation and expansion of the Programme of Assistance will contribute to dissemination of legal knowledge in nascent democracies.
ESTELA MERCEDES NZE MANSOGO (Equatorial Guinea), aligning herself with the African Group and the Group of 77, said the implementation of the Programme must not be disrupted due to administrative or financial reasons. Commending the successful organization of the Fellowship Programme and the regional courses, she noted that gender parity and geographical diversity have been achieved there. The continuous training of diplomats and lawyers by the Programme is the best way of developing international law and fostering respect for it, she said, thanking the Codification Division and the Member States who have voluntarily contributed to its activities. She also recommended that the Division spare no efforts in publishing the relevant documents in all six official languages.
MILENKO ESTEBAN SKOKNIC TAPIA (Chile), noting that the Programme is in good health, underscored the importance of holding the three regional courses despite previous lack of financial resources; these courses provide a unique opportunity for high‑quality legal training and networking. Referencing the Regional Course for Latin America and the Caribbean held in Santiago earlier in 2019, he pointed out that more than half of the participants were women. He called on the Programme to continue its regional courses in Addis Ababa, Bangkok and Santiago and encouraged States to make voluntary contributions to the Programme. He also expressed appreciation for the geographic and linguistic diversity of in‑person training programmes and in the expansion of the Audiovisual Library, recognizing the greater use of the Spanish language therein.
Ms. SEBBAR (Morocco), aligning herself with the African Group and the Group of 77, said that the Programme has had many achievements since its inception, including the cooperation that it has fostered between States. South‑south cooperation inspires her country’s foreign policies, she said, outlining Morocco’s motivation for hosting the off‑site session of the Hague Academy in November in Rabat. This regional programme is open to 40 participants, of which half are from Africa. It dovetails with the aims of the Programme and will enable Morocco to have new cooperation opportunities bilaterally and regionally. Stressing the need to ensure continuity by funding the Programme’s activities from the regular budget, she said that enhancing resources for the Programme is the best way to ensure that it can last in the long term.
ZAKIA IGHIL (Algeria), aligning herself with the African Group and the Group of 77, pointed out that practitioners of international law from different parts of the world – particularly developing countries – have benefited from the Programme’s activities. The Fellowship Programme and regional courses generate opportunities for the exchange of ideas and the sharing of knowledge. She welcomed the priority given to gender parity and equitable geographic representation with respect to participants. She also stressed the need to maintain regular budget funding to support the Programme and called for an increase in the number of fellowships funded by the regular budget to ensure larger participation. Turning to the Audiovisual Library, she praised it as an essential research and teaching resource that offers high‑quality, lost‑cost access to an unlimited number of users, especially from developing countries, to a wide range of materials. It is also important to promote multilateralism by increasing the publication of materials in several languages, namely in Arabic, she added.
EUNICE GAROS PHILIPS-UMEZURIKE (Nigeria) said the Programme of Assistance is one of the most important tools available in providing an understanding of the complex issues in the world. Expressing appreciation for the holding of the regional course in Addis Ababa, she said the Programme continues to have a positive impact on students and practitioners of international law worldwide. Also recognizing the Audiovisual Library for its many contributions, she urged the United Nations to continue to promote access and utilization of this important tool. She commended the resumption of desktop publishing activities and voiced the hope that it would be sustained by the Codification Division.
SARAH ZAHIRAH BINTI RUHAMA (Malaysia), aligning herself with ASEAN, stated that better understanding and appreciation of international law would lead to its proper implementation and application. The Programme has contributed to and enhanced the understanding of international law among practitioners. Its various courses continue to be well received, which indicates a strong demand for international-law training. She expressed appreciation for improved gender parity and geographical diversity of Programme beneficiaries and encouraged efforts to extend the Programme’s reach to the wider public. As well, she welcomed the initiative to produce a miniseries intended for those with minimal knowledge in international law and the efforts to make legal materials available in as many languages as possible. She also called for the continued financing of the Programme from the regular budget.
ZACHARIE SERGE RAOUL NYANID (Cameroon) said that globalization has led to new challenges, new norms and new stakeholders. The international community is not just governed by sovereign States operating in a vacuum. Little by little, non‑governmental organizations and civil society have garnered a greater role. The Codification Division has a crucial role to play in ensuring that these new norms are understood by everybody. Calling for an increase in the number of fellowships offered, he also voiced concern that the number of participants in the regional courses is restricted. The session held in Addis Ababa earlier this year “left a bit to be desired”, he said, noting that of the 252 candidates who applied, only 25 were chosen. In addition, not all of the countries requesting participation were represented. Opening this up is extremely important because the topics discussed included the law of treaties, law and African Union institutions, diplomatic and consular relations, peaceful settlement of disputes, international criminal law, trade and investment laws. “These topics are extremely important for our countries,” he said, also calling for more pedagogical materials to be issued by the Audiovisual Library.
Mr. TAUFAN (Indonesia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, stressed that the Programme is critical to the dissemination of international law, particularly at the global level. The Programme supports the promotion of the Charter’s principles and purposes, the peaceful settlement of disputes and the strengthening of the rule of law. Observing that every democratic legal system requires international law to have a positive influence on domestic law, he said that this undertaking can be facilitated by the teaching, studying and dissemination of international law. He also highlighted several events held recently in Indonesia that support the development of international law regionally and globally and that promote the understanding and implementation of international law at the national level.