UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK – The Philippines, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, organized an event entitled “The Role of International Tribunals in the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes: An Interactive Dialogue on the 1982 Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes” on 23 February 2023 at the United Nations Headquarters to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes (“Manila Declaration”).
The interactive dialogue was conducted at the sidelines of the 2023 Session of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization.
Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative Ariel Rodelas Peñaranda, Chargé d’affaires, a.i of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York, introduced the interactive dialogue as an opportunity to revisit the Declaration, particularly in the context of States’ recourse to international tribunals in settling their disputes.
“As an initiative of non-aligned countries – the Manila Declaration remains as relevant as ever as we confront complex inter-related challenges to the rule of law and the Charter of the United Nations, including in the context of the New Agenda for Peace,” Ambassador Peñaranda stated.
As Chair for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Republic of Azerbaijan, through Deputy Permanent Representative Tofig Musayev, opened the interactive dialogue and highlighted the Manila Declaration as “an indispensable instrument contributing to the prevention of the danger of recourse to force, promotion of the observance of principle of peaceful settlements of disputes and a policy of cooperation and peace, and enhancement of the role of the United Nations.”
Professor Dr. Frida Armas-Pfirter, an expert from Argentina, highlighted the contribution of the dispute settlement system of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to the peaceful settlement of international disputes.
Mr. Thembile Joyini, legal expert of South Africa, expressed his views on the contribution of international tribunals to the evolution and adaptability of the UNCLOS.
Finally, Professor Sarah Cleveland of Columbia Law School (USA) expounded on the contributions of the International Court of Justice to the peaceful settlement of disputes and the new challenges it faces today.
All the panelists are candidates to vacant positions in international tribunals—the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Ambassador Zahra Ershadi, Deputy Permanent Representative of Iran, closed the side event as NAM Coordinator for legal matters. She stressed that political will and good faith of states are necessary to implement the Manila Declaration.
The interactive dialogue was co-moderated by Legal Expert Azela Arumpac-Marte of the Philippine Mission and Legal Expert Ahmed Abdelaziz Ahmed of the Egyptian Mission.
The Manila Declaration is the first important instrument of the work of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization, and one of its significant achievements. The Manila Declaration was elaborated on the initiative of non-aligned countries (Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Romania, Sierra Leone, and Tunisia). It reaffirms the member states’ commitment to Articles 2(3) and 33 of the UN Charter, which provides that parties to any dispute shall first settle disputes by peaceful means.