December 13, 2017

Statement by the Representative of Cyprus Ambassador Andreas Jacovides at the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the General Assembly – Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law” on the work of its Thirty-fourth Session

Mr. Chairman,

This being the first time that I take the floor during this session, permit me to extend to you the most sincere congratulations of my delegation on your unanimous election. We are convinced that, under your able guidance, the Committee’s work, which this year is especially heavy and includes such important and sensitive topics as International Terrorism, the International Criminal Court and State Responsibility, will be fruitful, and we pledge our full cooperation to this end. Our warm congratulations are also extended to the three Vice-Chairmen and the Rapporteur on their well-deserved respective election.

 

Mr. Chairman,

This year’s  UNCITRAL Report (A/56/17) is up to its usual high standards and sets out the various important substantive topics dealt with by the Commission during its thirty-fourth session.

In addition to completing the draft Convention on Assignment of Receivables in International Trade, the Commission finalized and adopted the  UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Signatures and the Guide to Enactment. Moreover, it dealt through working groups with the topics of Insolvency Law, developing a comprehensive statement of key objectives and core features on the subject; the settlement of commercial disputes, with appropriate emphasis on conciliation in addition to arbitration as a means of settling such disputes; with Electronic Commerce, Transport Law and Security interests. We have also noted and fully approve the activities of  UNCITRAL in the project of privately financed infrastructure – a matter of particular interest to developing countries – and on the uniform interpretation and application of international trade law conventions and uniform laws.

The workload of  UNCITRAL this year has been indeed heavy in terms of substance and we are grateful for the clear and comprehensive introduction provided to us this morning by its Chairman, Mr. Alejandro Ogarrio, which considerably facilitated our task. He has also provided us with some useful insight into the reasons for the enlargement of the Commission’s membership, as recommended by the Commission, following proposals made last year in the Sixth Committee, as well as of the working methods of the working groups, in light of the unprecedented increase of its work in this, the age of globalization.

My delegation, which some decades ago was in the vanguard of the initiative to create  UNCITRAL and served on it for a number of years, is fully cognizant of the important role of commercial law for the proper functioning of economic activities in a healthy economic system, and of the need to ensure the active participation of the broadest possible number of countries and legal systems in the  UNCITRAL  law-making process. We, therefore, support the proposed enlargement in principle. We have an open mind as to the size of the enlargement. While a doubling of the existing number of 36 to 72 would obviate the complications which might arise in terms of distribution by following the current pattern of such distribution, we recognize the need to maintain efficiency in carrying out the Commission’s work. What is of primary importance is that the Commission should continue to be representative of all juridical and economic regimes and systems.

My country, an early participant in  UNCITRAL  and, more recently, a recipient of valuable technical assistance, is certainly interested to contribute to the future work of   UNCITRAL  in its new composition. The suggested manner of proceeding with the enlargement we heard this morning from the representative of Canada deserves careful consideration and, indeed, support.

Similarly, we are convinced that there exist persuasive reasons to support the proposed increase of the Secretariat resources (both personnel and finances) which should be commensurate with the importance and load of the work carried out by  UNCITRAL, as detailed in this and past years’ reports.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, my delegation attaches great importance to the work of  UNCITRAL and highly appreciates its contribution in promoting the harmonization and progressive development of international trade law. We particularly appreciate its continuing work in the areas of training and technical assistance. It deserves our full support.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.