The traditional method for the negotiation of treaties has been through the holding of a diplomatic conference of plenipotentiaries specifically convened for that purpose. This technique predates the United Nations, with prominent examples including the Hague Conferences of 1899 and 1907. In the contemporary practice of treaty-making many multilateral treaties are negotiated and adopted by the organs of international organizations such as the United Nations, partly for reasons of practicality and cost-effectiveness. Nonetheless, diplomatic conferences continue to be held, from time to time, in order to negotiate and adopt multilateral treaties of particular significance to the international community.
United Nations diplomatic conferences are typically convoked by a resolution of the General Assembly, adopted on the recommendation of one of its subsidiary bodies. For example, the Statute of the International Law Commission empowers the Commission to, inter alia, recommend to the General Assembly the convocation of a conference to conclude a convention (Article 23 (1)(d.)) on the basis of draft articles prepared by the Commission. The constitutive resolution of the Assembly also typically defines the object of the conference and the general conditions for States to participate therein. Conferences convened by the United Nations are not, however, organs of the latter but remain a conventional interstate conference, with an independent existence and governed by their own rules of procedure and general international law. Accordingly, it is the conference itself which adopts the treaty and a Final Act.
This website provides access to the official records of a series of diplomatic conferences, convoked by the United Nations in order to negotiate and adopt several treaties based on drafts worked out by the International Law Commission and considered by the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the General Assembly.
The user is provided access by individual document, and the entire collection of proceedings is searchable in full-text format.