Remarks at a Meeting of the Sixth Committee on Agenda Item 81: United Nations Program of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, and Wider Appreciation of

Emily Pierce
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 19, 2018


Thank you, Chair.

The United States thanks the Secretary-General for his report on the United Nations Program of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination, and Wider Appreciation of International Law. The Program of Assistance has made, and continues to make, indispensable contributions to the education of students and practitioners in international law since it was established in 1965. Knowledge of international law is a key component to furthering the rule of law at all levels. Through a firm understanding of international law, new generations of lawyers, judges and diplomats gain a deeper appreciation of the complex instruments that govern so many aspects of this interconnected world. The United States is pleased to participate on the Advisory Committee of the Program of Assistance, and it merits the continuing, strong support of all Member States.

This year, the program made notable progress in improving the accessibility and dissemination of the Audiovisual Library of International Law around the world, which helps to reach those practitioners and students of international law who are not able to participate in the courses. Not only has the program increased the quantity of lectures that were recorded for the lecture series – 55 new lectures were recorded – but the program also made substantial efforts through off-site recording sessions to increase the diversity of the lectures. The recordings, thus, reflect broader geographical and gender representation among lecturers. In addition, the United States notes with appreciation that the entire lecture library is now available via podcast, and we look forward to the program’s reporting about who is accessing the podcasts. We hope the podcasts will help to increase accessibility of the audiovisual library in developing countries.

With respect to efficiency, we thank the UN Program of Assistance for doing all it can to provide as many scholarships as possible within existing resources to accommodate the greatest number of students for these courses. We also thank those countries and organizations that have made in-kind and financial contributions to make these courses a reality. In addition, we note the savings in administrative and other costs achieved by hosting the regional courses in international law in United Nations regional commissions.

The United States recognizes the significant role of the Office of Legal Affairs, in particular the Codification Division, in implementing the Program of Assistance. We very much appreciate the ways the Codification Division has been able to keep important programs going in the face of limited resources, including with respect to making the International Law Handbook available in French, and we encourage it to continue its commendable efforts to secure voluntary contributions to fund that work. There is no question that the Program of Assistance activities are valuable and well-run and worthy of support. We believe it is important that this excellent program thrives for years to come.

Thank you.