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date: 29 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

While the responsibilities of the depositary of a multilateral treaty are indispensable to the treaty functioning, the role of the depositary is commonly unknown. The chapter discusses the role and key features of the practice of the UN Secretary-General, as depositary of multilateral treaties, in the aspects that correspond to the general depositary functions as codified in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Beginning at the turn of the century, the UN Secretary-General—by far the largest depositary in the world—began to engage in initiatives that have modernized and expanded the traditional depositary role. The UN Secretary-General has increasingly been involved in treaty-making during treaty negotiations, and in promoting participation in and dissemination of UN treaties, including through treaty events. The chapter also discusses key features of the depositary role in those aspects that are more innovative and peculiar to the UN Secretary-General.

Keywords: depositary, depositary practice, multilateral treaty-making, UN Secretary General, law of treaties, treaty-making, treaty negotiation, treaty participation, treaty dissemination, treaty event

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