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United Nations - Office of Legal Affairs
Recent Activities of the Legal Counsel of the United Nations

The Legal Counsel's participation at a roundtable discussion on the R2P concept at the 55th annual meeting of the Russian Association of International Law in Moscow

27 June 2012 – The rule of law is key to the implementation of the ‘responsibility to protect’ principle, often referred to as R2P, and the prevention of atrocities, a United Nations senior legal official stressed today...
Learn More at the UN News Centre

The Legal Counsel officiates at ceremony to register Treaty of Lisbon

New York, 11 May 2010. — Today, the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community was submitted for registration with the United Nations Secretariat in accordance with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations by H.E. Mr. Cesare Maria Ragaglini, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, on behalf of Italy as depositary of the Treaty. The Lisbon Treaty entered into force on 1 December 2009.

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, The Legal Counsel, Ms. Patricia O’Brien, officiated at the ceremony which was held at the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. Ambassador Ragaglini was accompanied by Mr. Peter Schwaiger, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union and H.E. Mr. Juan Antonio Yáñez-Barnuevo, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations. Spain currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

2010 Meeting of Legal Advisers of Specialized, Related and other Organizations (UN System)


2010 Spring Meeting of Legal Advisers and Legal Liaison Officers of UN Offices, Funds and Programmes and other entities

Rome, Italy, 6 and 7 May 2010

On 6 and 7 May 2010, the Legal Counsel chaired the 2010 Meeting of Legal Advisers of the Specialized, Related and other Organizations of the UN System and the 2010 Spring Meeting of Legal Advisers and Legal Liaison Officers of the UN Offices, Funds and Programmes, in Rome, Italy.

In an effort to reduce costs and increase synergies it was decided to hold these meetings back-to-back this year and to have a joint session of the members of both Networks. By testing this new format, the Legal Networks are following the Secretary-General’s guidance to try and strive for enhanced system-wide coherence and efficiency. The change reflects the strong desire of the Members of the two Legal Networks to fully embrace the Secretary-General’s call for the United Nations to act and deliver “as one”. The meetings were co-hosted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

The meetings of these two Legal Networks provide an opportunity for discussion of legal issues of common interest and concern to the Legal Advisers of the participating entities. They are held to improve coordination and communication among the Legal Advisers of the participating entities and to promote system-wide legal coherence. The meetings also provide an important opportunity for the Legal Counsel to brief the Members of the networks on current legal issues facing the organization.

Among the issues on this year’s agenda are the new system of Administration of Justice, the question of the Responsibility of International Organizations, legal questions in connection with the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia, the question of the UN’s response to unconstitutional change of government and the status of the European Union in the United Nations.

Prior to the meetings in Rome the Legal Counsel attended the opening of the 62nd session of the International Law Commission in Geneva, Switzerland, and addressed the Commission.

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