2018 Meetings of the Legal Advisors of the United Nations

For the first time in its history, the CTBTO hosted the Meeting of the Legal Advisors of the United Nations Specialized Agencies and Other International Organizations on 9-10 July 2018 at its headquarters in Vienna. The meeting took place in parallel with the Meeting of Legal Advisors and Legal Liaison Officers of UN Offices, Funds and Programmes and Other Entities, which was hosted by the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) on 10-11 July 2018.

The meetings were chaired by Miguel de Serpa Soares, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, and brought together legal advisors of the entire United Nations System, including  United Nations Headquarters in New York, United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), and over forty UN-System organisations, funds and programmes.

These annual gatherings of the legal advisors of the United Nations System, are an opportunity to exchange information, discuss issues of common concern, strengthen cooperation, explore synergies, formulate common policies and positions with a view to achieving unified practice, and in general to ensure good governance and effective and efficient administration across the United Nations System. Given the strategic position held by Legal Advisers in international organizations, these meetings are of crucial importance in establishing and maintaining the international rule of law.

Delivering welcoming remarks, CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo highlighted the unique mission and mandate of the CTBTO, namely to make it impossible – both legally and technically – for anybody to conduct a nuclear test anywhere on the globe without being detected and held to account.  Thanks to the work of the CTBTO, he noted, the nuclear test ban is already a reality on the technical level; and, on the legal level, despite not being in force, the CTBT is already a key pillar in the international regime of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  Zerbo thanked the Under-Secretary-General and the legal advisors for choosing the CTBTO as their host and expressed the CTBTO’s strong commitment to the international rule of law in the common endeavour to build a peaceful, secure and sustainable world.
The CTBTO is an international organization with a unique mission: it is the guardian of a Treaty that has not yet entered into force. For this reason people might regard it as something of a legal paradox. Yet, the Organization, with 183 Member States, is one of the largest […] in terms of membership.

Participants toured CTBTO facilities, including the Operations Centre, rooftop radionuclide monitoring station and the test facilities.  They expressed a keen interest in the verification equipment, facilities and techniques, and appreciated the clear information and expert guidance provided in bringing the technical aspects of treaty verification to the community of lawyers.

In his closing remarks Under-Secretary-General Soares thanked the hosts for their hospitality and support, and expressed satisfaction with the successful holding of the meetings.