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Summary of Practice


Summary of Practice of the Secretary-General as Depositary of Multilateral Treaties

The purpose of the present summary is to highlight the main features of the practice followed by the Secretary-General in this field in the daily exercise of his functions. A number of annexes follow the main body of the text, containing models of instruments, depositary notifications by the Secretary-General, etc. This volume supersedes the previous "Summary of practice of the Secretary-General as depositary of multilateral agreements" (ST/LEG/7).

Multilateral agreements do not remain static and the depositary is frequently required to solve problems that arise. Changes in the structure of States, the emergence of new States exercising full sovereignty and the establishment of a growing number of international organizations have also had repercussions in the field of multilateral agreements.

It will therefore be seen that the Secretary-General's practice has evolved over time as a result of efforts to find more satisfactory solutions in the light of experience or of actions by an organ of the United Nations or in response to comments from Governments.

The structure of the present summary follows the usual chronology of the functions to be performed by the depositary from the time of conclusion of the treaty. Each phase is dealt with in a separate chapter, where the problems involved, the solutions adopted and the current practice are described.

This publication is undergoing review to reflect the new developments in the depositary practice since 1994.

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(28 September -
1 October 2015, United Nations Headquarters in New York)