July 2015

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UN Reform and Appointments

Security Council discusses Secretary-General selection and UN reform during wrap-up session and "any other business"

Wrap-up session under Malaysia presidency
30 June 2015

On 30 June, the Security Council held a public "wrap-up session" to reflect on its activities over the past month and to suggest how its work could be improved in the future. As President of the Council for the month of June, Malaysia circulated a concept note prior to the session, suggesting that Member States comment on upcoming reform issues, including peace operations, the review process of resolution 1325 on women, peace and security; and the appointment of the next Secretary-General.

In their remarks, Council members voiced particular concern over the situations in Syria, Yemen, Mali, Libya, Burundi, and Ukraine, and expressed their support for the month's debate on children and armed conflict. While the importance of the 1325 review process and the question of the appointment process for the Secretary-General were highlighted, the need for better communication between the Council and the International Criminal Court, funding for the Peacebuilding Commission, and reform of the penholder system were also addressed. Spain announced that it would convene an open debate on working methods during its Presidency in October.

The Center for UN Reform summarized the comments of the Security Council members as they pertained to the Council's working methods.

"Any Other Business"
22 July 2015

On Wednesday 22 July, the Security Council discussed the selection process for the next Secretary-General. The informal discussion took place in a closed meeting, under the agenda item "Any Other Business." Ambassador Gerard von Bohemen of New Zealand (which currently holds the Council Presidency for July) and Ambassador Matthew Rycroft of the United Kingdom spoke to the press after the meeting to give some impressions of the meeting. The discussion centered on proposals made by the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency (ACT) Group, including the possibility of a joint letter from the Presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council to formally begin the selection process. Issues of transparency, regional rotation, and hearings with candidates were also discussed.

Read more at Global Memo.

Article on reforming the selection and role of special envoys (via PassBlue)
21 July 2015

Focusing specifically on Special Representatives of the Secretary-General (SRSGs), Peter Nadin from PassBlue discusses some of the weaknesses of the way the positions are handled currently, in selection process, training and preparation for their assignments, and suggests some options for reform. Read the full article here.

Panel Discussion on the Appointment Process for the Secretary-General
22 July 2015

In late July, the ACT group held a panel discussion on the appointment of the Secretary-General in order to commemorate its second anniversary. The panel featured former Irish President and High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, on behalf of the Elders ; Ambassador Matthew Rycroft of the United Kingdom; Ambassador Markus Kolga of Estonia, representing the ACT position; and William Pace, Executive Director of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy, for the 1 For 7 Billion Campaign .

Read more about the event from 1 For 7 Billion or watch the full event on UN Webcast.

ACT Group updates non-paper on Security Council action aimed at preventing or ending the commission of mass atrocities
29 July 2015

The Accountability, Coherence and Transparency (ACT) Group has distributed a revised version of a non-paper which calls on all member states to take "timely and decisive action" in cases of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The non-paper is endorsed by the 27 states who are members of the ACT group, as well as the Netherlands and Spain. In a meeting on 29 July, the group presented the draft and invited all member states to provide feedback and join the list of endorsing states. The group hopes to finalize the text, with input from member states and civil society, this coming October in connection with the 70th anniversary of the UN.


Follow Up: Panel event held with candidates for Human Rights Council 2016-2018 term
15 July 2015

At an event sponsored by Amnesty International, the International Service for Human Rights along with the permanent missions of Botswana, Brazil and the Netherlands, candidates for the Human Rights Council responded to questions from member states, civil society, and the general public in an open session held at UN headquarters in New York.

The topics ranged from the national human rights records and mechanisms adopted in each country as well as the candidates' priorities and vision for membership on the Human Rights Council. Gender equality and the plight of migrants and refugees were top concerns during the session. The use of torture; LGBTI rights; protection of human rights defenders; and the rights of indigenous populations were also addressed.

Eight candidates participated in these hearings: Belgium; Georgia; Germany; Kyrgyzstan; Panama; South Korea; Slovenia; and Switzerland. Currently, there are twenty two known candidates.

Read the full article from UNelections.org. The full event can also be viewed on UN webcast.


30 July 2015: National Whistleblower Appreciation Day (unofficial, USA). Learn more here!
25 September 2015: Opening of the 70th Session of the General Assembly
23 October 2015: High-level event on the use of the veto
November 2015: Human Rights Council elections
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