Remarks at a Sixth Committee Meeting on Agenda Item 80: United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, and Wider Appreciation of Inter

Remarks at a Sixth Committee Meeting on Agenda Item 80: United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, and Wider Appreciation of International Law


Emily Pierce
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 16, 2017


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, which was established in 1965, continues to make an indispensable contribution to the education of students and practitioners in international law – some of whom sit with us today in the Sixth Committee – and merits our continuing, strong support.

The United States is pleased to participate on the Advisory Committee of the United Nations program of Assistance, which made important progress in enhancing its impact and broadening its accessibility around the world. We were impressed by the number of applicants for the International Law Fellowship Program – 450 for 21 fellowships – and for the United Nations Regional Courses in International Law – 463 for about 80 spots. 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.

We appreciate the Program of Assistance’s efforts to reach those practitioners and students of international law who are not able to participate in the courses, in particular through the 54 new lectures that were recorded for the Lecture Series of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law. The United States highlights the work done to translate these lectures, as well as to do off-site recordings in order to promote broader geographical and linguistic representation. We also recognize the efforts underway to make the Audiovisual Library available via podcast, which should contribute greatly to increased access in developing countries.

Particularly in the context of a heightened focus on the rule of law, it is clear that knowledge of international law is a key component to furthering the rule of law at the national and international 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 Program of Assistance is one of the many important tools that help to strengthen the rule of law.

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 desktop publishing and the International Law Handbook, 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.