January 2016

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January 2016 Unsubscribe
Latest Developments, UN Reform and Appointments:

New Sexual Abuse Allegations Arise in CAR
January 2016

This month, new allegations of sexual abuse emerged against UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. At least four peacekeepers were accused of paying underage girls for sex at the M'poko camp for internally displaced persons. As of writing, the UN has not publicly stated the nationalities of the implicated troops, although UN officials have stated that the troops in question were from Burundi, France, Morocco, and Gabon. In August, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed his intention to start naming the countries whose troops are accused in such incidents.

The Washington Post summarizes the latest developments.

Two Defendants Plead Guilty in UN Corruption Case
January 2016

This month, two defendants in the UN corruption case brought forward by US attorney Preet Bharara in October plead guilty to charges of bribery. Ms. Shiwei Yan and Ms. Heidi Hong Piao were accused of arranging the payment of bribes from Chinese businessmen to former President of the General Assembly John Ashe. The other defendants in the case have pleaded "not guilty".

Although Mr. Ashe was identified in the complaint, he was not charged in the bribery case. However, he was arrested in relation to two counts of filing false federal tax returns.

General Debate of the Ad Hoc Working Group
19 January 2016

On 19 January, a new session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly (AHWG) officially began with a general debate on the working group's four thematic topics: the role and authority of the General Assembly; working methods; the appointment of the Secretary-General, and other executive heads; and the institutional memory of the Office of the President of the GA.

In light of the corruption allegations against former GA President John Ashe, proposals to make the Office of the President of the GA more transparent and accountable were a primary subject of discussion, with many states expressing support for an ethical 'Code of Conduct' for the Office. The selection of the next Secretary-General was also addressed by many speakers. Following the adoption of resolution 69/321 last September, the need to effectively implement the resolution's new procedures, as well as the possibility of further improvements, were the issues raised most frequently by Member States.

Visit the Center for UN Reform Education for a summary of the debate.

Selection and Appointment of the Next Secretary-General
January 2016

In accordance with General Assembly resolution 69/321, the Presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council have begun to circulate the names and accompanying documents of candidates for Secretary-General on an ongoing basis. The President of the General Assembly has also made this information available online in an effort to promote greater transparency. As of 15 January, three candidates had been put forward: Srgjan Kerim, of Macedonia; Vesna Pusic, of Croatia; and Igor Luksic, of Montenegro.

Notably absent from the site are Irina Bokova and Kristalina Georgieva, both of Bulgaria, who were rumored candidates as early as 2014. According to the Sofia Globe, Bulgaria's Foreign Minister stated that the nation would announce its candidate, "at the moment at which conditions are most favourable for success." Although there is no rule preventing a state from nominating more than one candidate, it is widely assumed that Bulgaria will only put one name forward. Politico analyzes the issues Bulgaria will consider when selecting its candidate for the post.

In a press briefing on 15 January, the President of the GA reaffirmed his commitment to arranging meetings in the General Assembly with the candidates, as required by resolution 69/321. He expects to convene a meeting for this purpose in early April, but also intends to schedule further meetings after this date if more candidates come forward.

Liechtenstein and Elders Convene a Panel Discussion on UN Reform
11 January 2016

On 11 January, the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein and The Elders civil society group held a panel discussion featuring the President of the General Assembly; Ambassador Patriota of Brazil; and Lakhdar Brahimi, the former Special Representative to the Secretary-General. Titled "Moving Forward with Reform of the United Nations," the discussion concentrated on three UN reform topics: the selection and appointment of the Secretary-General; promoting effective Security Council action in cases of mass atrocities; and the possible expansion of the Security Council.

Notably, during the session, Kazakhstan announced that it had signed on to the Code of Conduct, an initiative spearheaded by Liechtenstein to promote positive action in the Security Council in the face of mass atrocity crimes. With the addition of Kazakhstan, 109 states have signed on to the Code.

To view the complete webcast, visit UN web TV. For a summary of the event, see the Center for UN Reform Education.

Progress Reverses on Gender Parity in Top UN Appointments
January 2016

Though the UN has long promoted women's leadership around the world, observers note that much remains to be done to ensure that the UN lives up to its own ideals. The Global Peace Operations Review analyzes the state of gender parity, or lack thereof, in the appointment of senior UN officials during 2015.

 

UPCOMING DATES
3-12 February 2016 Commission for Social Development
3 February 2016: Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform resume
16 February 2016: Ad Hoc Working Group Debate on the Role and Authority of the General Assembly
14-24 March 2016: Commission on the Status of Women
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