At the thirteenth session of the General Assembly, it was proposed that the International Law Commission include on its agenda the subject of relations between States and international organizations, as an increasing number of international organizations were being established, and the legal problems arising out of relations between them and States could only be partially solved by existing special conventions. In Resolution 1289 (XIII) the General Assembly invited the Commission to give consideration to the question. At its eleventh session in 1959 the Commission accordingly appointed Abdullah El-Erian (Egypt) as Special Rapporteur for the topic.
The scope of the topic was considered by the Commission at its fifteenth and sixteenth sessions, in 1963 and 1964 respectively. A majority of the Commission concluded that as the topic had a broad scope, the application of diplomatic law on relations between States and international organizations should be given priority. The Commission was hence to concentrate its work on the question of status, privileges, and immunities of State representatives to international organizations.
The topic was subsequently considered by the Commission, on the basis of the reports prepared by the Special Rapporteur and information provided by Governments and the Secretariat, at its twentieth session in 1968 to its twenty-third session in 1971. After having held a first reading of the draft articles at its twentieth and twenty-first sessions, the Commission was recommended by the General Assembly in resolutions 2501 (XXIV) of 12 November 1969 and 2634 (XXV) of 12 November 1970 to continue its work, taking into consideration views expressed by the General Assembly and individual Governments, with the object to present a final draft in 1971.
After having held a second reading, a final set of draft articles, with commentaries, were adopted by the Commission at its twenty-third session in 1971 and transmitted to the General Assembly with the recommendation that it should convene an international conference of plenipotentiaries to conclude a convention on the topic. The same year, the General Assembly, in Resolution 2780 (XXVVI), requested States to submit comments and observations on the draft articles, and expressed its desire that an international convention be concluded on the basis of the draft articles. In Resolution 2966 (XXVII) of 14 December 1972 it was decided that an international convention be convened for that purpose.
The United Nations Conference on the Representation of States in Their Relations with International Organizations was held in Vienna from 4 February to 14 March 1975, and was attended by eighty-one States. On 13 March 1975 the Conference adopted the Vienna Convention on the Representation of States in Their Relation with International Organizations of a Universal Character (status).In addition, the Conference adopted a resolution on the status of national liberation movements recognized by the Organization of African Unity and/or the League of Arab States, and another relating to the application of the Convention on future international organizations.
The Convention was opened for signature on 14 March 1975 at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria, and subsequently from 30 September 1975 at the United Nations Headquarters. It was closed for signature on 30 March 1976. The Convention remains open for accession.
The Vienna Convention on the Representation of States in Their Relations with International Organizations of a Universal Character regulates the status, privileges and immunities of State representatives to international organizations. It aims to ensure the efficient performance of the functions of State representatives in connection with international organizations and conferences, and to contribute to the promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between States. The Convention refers to the establishment of permanent missions and observer missions to international organizations, the appointment of mission members, and the principal functions of those missions. It further prescribes the jurisdictional immunity of the diplomatic staff of the mission, as well as of some other persons. Finally it establishes the inviolability of missions’ premises and the freedom of movement, communication and the personal inviolability of the members of the mission. The Convention is applicable to the representation of States in their relations with the United Nations, its specialized agencies, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and any other similar organization whose membership and responsibilities are on a worldwide scale. It also applies to representation to conferences convened under the auspices of such an organization.