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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
The EU and its Member States renew their support to the Ambassador of Ghana as the Chair of the Advisory Committee on the United Nations Programme of Assistance, and express their gratitude to Ghana for its longstanding and active leadership of the Committee.
We reiterate our strong support for the Programme of Assistance and we commend its effective contribution to the Rule of Law, in particular by addressing the need for International Law training and dissemination of legal knowledge and material in benefit of all countries.
We welcome the Report of the Secretary General, which covers both the implementation of the Programme in 2017 and the activities planned for the biennium 2018-2019. We commend the Office of Legal Affairs, and in particular the Codification Division, for its efforts to strengthen and revitalize its activities under the Programme of Assistance in order to meet the changing needs of the international legal community in the 21st century.
The establishment and continuous expansion of the Audiovisual Library of International Law is an especially significant achievement, offering easy access to a vast range of legal resources, free of charge, and in several languages. The EU and its Member States are pleased to note the use of modern technology for this purpose. The Audiovisual Library continues to be an important resource for the legal community, including students, international law practitioners and even historians and we encourage continued attention by the Codification Division to this project.
Furthermore, we note with appreciation that the Codification Division continued to disseminate legal publications and information through the Internet. We commend the Codification Division for finalising the preparation of the English edition of its publication, the “International Law Handbook” and look forward for the publication in French. We hope that the possibilities of cooperating with academic institutions for the preparation of the handbook in other languages will lead to a positive result.
The EU and its member States welcome the pilot project undertaken by the Codification Division aimed at resuming its desktop publishing activities regrettably discontinued in 2017 because of a lack of resources.
We note that the Codification Division organised a Regional Course for Africa in Ethiopia from 6 February to 3 March 2017, for Latin America and the Caribbean in Uruguay from 24 April to 19 May 2017 and that a Regional Course for Asia-Pacific will take place in Bangkok from 20 November to 15 December 2017. We thank the Economic Commission for Africa, the Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific for the in kind contributions and assistance that they provide in the framework of these Reginal Courses.
We would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea to the wider appreciation and application of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the sea and the work of DOALOS in this regard.
The EU and its Member States commend States that have provided voluntary contributions to the Programme to date, and encourage all States to consider making more frequent or increasing such contributions in the future in order to sustain the projected regional courses and the Audiovisual Library of International Law, as well as Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea.
We welcome the Office of Legal Affairs’ continued commitment to the Programme, including the provision of resources from within its budget, noting with the stabilization of financial resources for the biennium 2017-2018 compared with the previous biennum.
We thank once again the Advisory Committee for its work and we note the recommendations contained in the Report of the Secretary-General.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.