He was unanimously elected by 115 fellow member states to lead The Budget Committee as Chairman for the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), as Chairperson for the year 2014 for the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) at the 25th Annual Meeting of Governing Council and as Vice Chairman of the 18th Session of the Conference of States Parties to Chemical Weapons Convention at the inauguration of the sessions at the World Forum in the Hague.
At the Session of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Athauda pointed out that President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly urged all the countries in the world to ensure protection of the human race against the flagrant abuse of modern science in such form as nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
He further said "I am honoured that my colleague Ambassadors unanimously elected me for the post of Vice Chair, and I am also very proud of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the efforts made by the Technical Secretariat and the member countries towards elimination of Chemical Weapons from this entire world. In fact, The OPCW was recognized with the Nobel Peace Award 2013 for the efforts made towards reaching universality of Chemical Weapons Convention".
The Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), with its headquarters in Amsterdam, is an intergovernmental financial institution founded in 1989 by a multilateral treaty, which aims to realize socio-economic expansion of commodity producers at large. It currently hosts 106 UN Member States, and ten intergovernmental organizations, with the common goal to finance commodity development projects in states with emerging economies. The CFC’s primary objective is to design and implement different means by which commodity development in growing economies can flourish, by way of increased commodity production, productivity, and quality improvements, processing and value additions, product differentiation, diversification, marketing, technology transfer and measures to minimizing physical marketing and trading risks, facilitation of trade finance, and risk management.
The Governing Council on which Ambassador Athauda now holds the prestigious seat is amongst the two governing bodies for the CFC. These two bodies are advised by a Consultative Committee, which consists of nine independent experts on economic and technical aspects of projects submitted to the Fund. The Governing Council itself is led by one chairperson - Ambassador Athauda, and six vice chairpersons from Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Sweden, China, the Russian Federation, and Latin American and the Caribbean Region Group respectively.
The organization, revolutionary in its conception, was founded by renowned Sri Lankan Economist and former Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Dr Gamani Corea, who was famous for envisioning a fair and balanced international economic order, which granted equal access to developing countries.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) was conceptualized in 1899 and established in 1907 during first and second Peace Conferences in The Hague in The Kingdom of The Netherlands, to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between states, the PCA has developed into a modern, arbitral institution that is situated at the juncture between public and private international law to meet the rapidly evolving dispute resolution needs of the international community. Today the PCA provides services for the resolution of disputes involving various combinations of states, state entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties.
The Budget Committee, to which the Ambassador has been elected, as Chair is responsible for all matters pertaining to the PCA’s expenditure, risk management, future planning of budgets and related activities.
Commenting on his newly bestowed chairmanship, Athauda said he is pleased with the endorsement by his fellow ambassadors unanimously electing him to lead the budget committee. He thanked the ambassadors of India, Pakistan, Cuba, Iran, Russia, Portugal, Australia, Croatia and Italy for their extra ordinary support during the election.