November 23, 2017

Statement by H.E. Mr. A. J. Jacovides Ambassador, Special Adviser Representative of the Republic of Cyprus to the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the General Assembly on agenda item 151: “Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law at its thirty-sixth session”

Mr. Chairman,

This being the first time I take the floor during this Session, allow me to extend to you and the other members of the Bureau the most sincere congratulations of my delegation on your well-deserved election to your respective offices. We are convinced that, with your wide experience and recognized diplomatic skill, you will conduct the Committee’s work, which this year includes important and sensitive topics such as the Legal Protection of United Nations Personnel, Jurisdictional Immunities, International Terrorism, Human Cloning and the International Criminal Court, in a constructive manner leading to fruitful results. We pledge to you our full cooperation to this end.

Mr. Chairman,

This year’s annual Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (A/58/17) is up to its usual high standards and fully justifies its reputation as a technical body of high professional quality. The very limited time allotted to the consideration of UNCITRAL’s Report is perhaps not sufficient to do full justice to its substantive content. This year’s Report, succinctly and comprehensively, sets out the various substantive topics dealt with by UNCITRAL during its 36th Session. We note in particular that in July 2003 UNCITRAL finalized and adopted its Model Legislative Provisions on Privately Financed Infrastructure Projects and gave preliminary approval to a draft legislative guide on insolvency law. Through its Working Groups, it dealt with and made progress on such topics as Arbitration, Transport Law, Electronic Commerce and Security Interests; it continued monitoring the implementation of the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards; and explored the possibility of future work in the areas of public procurement law and in the area of commercial fraud.

We note in particular, in relation to the latter topic, that the advent and spread of technologies and use of the Internet markedly affected the growth and incidence of commercial fraud in particular, because of its transnational component and that the Legal Advisers of the United Nations System, after discussing the absence of an international legal regime for the Internet, made certain relevant recommendations to Member States in order to fill this gap (para. 236 of the Report). In addition to such international legal instruments already in existence or currently being finalized, as the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the Commission could indeed bring to bear its unique ability to marshal the necessary public and private interests in order to further efforts to combat commercial fraud effectively. We have noted in this regard the suggestion of holding an international colloquium on commercial fraud for various interested parties, including national Governments, intergovernmental organizations and relevant private organizations.

We also note with interest the information provided on the case law on UNCITRAL texts (in particular the preparation of a new thesaurus on Model Arbitration Law, as well as a comprehensive Model Arbitration Law index), the digests of case law on the United Nations Sales Convention and possibly of a digest of case law on the New York Convention in cooperation with the International Council for Commercial Arbitration; and the status and promotion of UNCITRAL legal tests (Chapter XIV). Of particular note is the chapter on training and technical assistance provided by UNCITRAL for developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Cyprus has been a beneficiary of such assistance and has made its modest contribution to the Trust Fund for Travel Assistance, in recognition of the worth of UNCITRAL’s technical assistance activities.

Reverting briefly to Chapter V, on Arbitration, we commend the work of UNCITRAL Working Group II (Arbitration and Conciliation) for the progress achieved so far, on the issue of Interim Measures of Protection and the Question of Arbitrability in connection with the activities of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Working Group’s future work. Arbitration is becoming an increasingly important method for the settlement of disputes, nationally and internationally, as evidenced by the activities of, among other prominent institutions in this field, the International Centre for the Settlement of investment Disputes (ICSID), the London Court of Arbitration (LCA), the ICC International Court of Arbitration, the American Arbitration Association (AAA) as indeed the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague (PCA) and thus it deserves particular attention. Cyprus aspires to become a regional centre for arbitration and its Government has recently taken the necessary steps to set up such a facility.

Mr. Chairman,

We are grateful to the Commission’s Chairman, Mr. Tore Wiwen-Nilsson, for his clear and comprehensive introduction of the Report earlier today, which considerably facilitated our understanding of UNCITRAL’s work, priorities, method of operation and other issues and concerns.

My delegation, which was in the vanguard of the initiative to create UNCITRAL in the mid-sixties and served on it for a number of years, is fully cognizant of the important role of commercial law for the proper functioning of 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 actively supported the effort, ably lead by the Australian delegation, to substantially enlarge UNCITRAL, which was achieved by consensus last year. The primary objective is that the Commission should be representative and be fully supported by all the juridical and economic systems. As we stated in last year’s debate (30 September 2002), “my country, an early participant in UNCITRAL and, more recently, a recipient of valuable technical assistance from it, is keenly interested to contribute to the future work of UNCITRAL, in its new enlarged composition”.

Similarly, we are convinced that there exist persuasive reasons to support the increase of the Secretariat’s resources, in terms of personnel and finances, so as to enable it to discharge its duties in a way commensurate to the importance of its work and its heavy workload and in this regard, we have noted the observations and suggestions made this morning by the Legal Counsel, which we consider to have much merit and which we support. The international lawyer of today needs to have expertise in both public and private international law.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, my delegation highly appreciates the work of UNCITRAL and its contribution in promoting the harmonization and progressive development of international trade law. UNCITRAL deserves our full support.

 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.