February 2016

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February 2016 Unsubscribe
Latest Developments in UN Reform and Appointments:

New Allegations Emerge of Abuse by UN Peacekeepers

In early February, Human Rights Watch announced that it had identified at least eight cases of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers serving in MINUSCA, the UN's peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. The Guardian summarizes the latest developments.

In response to the allegations, the New York Times editorial board wrote that abuse by peacekeepers "discredit[s] the United Nations and everything it stands for."

New Candidates Emerge to be the Next Secretary-General

In the race to be the next Secretary-General, four new candidates were officially declared in February: Danilo Türk (Slovenia), Irina Bokova (Bulgaria), Natalia Gherman (Moldova), and non-Eastern European candidate, António Guterres(Portugal) . After much speculation, the Bulgarian government confirmed on 8 February that it would not put forward Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, as a candidate.

As more candidates come forward, there has been growing interest in what challenges the next Secretary-General should be prepared to face. In World Politics Review, Richard Gowan identifies some of the most pressing conflicts for the UN to address, and PassBlue's Barbara Crossette proposes a review of the appointment of Special Envoys and Representatives.

Meanwhile, the 1 for 7 Billion civil society campaign has sent a letter to all official candidates, urging them to take steps to which they argue will promote transparency and make the office of the Secretary-General more independent.

PGA Announces Hearings with Secretary-General Candidates and Opportunities for Civil Society Participation

On 26 February, the President of the General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, announced the dates of informal dialogues and meetings with potential candidates for Secretary-General. The first in what is anticipated to be a series of dialogues and meetings with the General Assembly, will take place from 12 to 14 April.

Details about the format of informal dialogues are available here.

"The informal dialogues or meetings will be as open and transparent as possible, with the considerable interest from the global public and civil society being duly kept in mind," Lykketoft stated in a letter to Member States. With this in mind, the office of the PGA has partnered with the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) to facilitate a process by which civil society will be able to pose questions to candidates during the informal dialogues. CSOs can submit questions in writing, video or audio until 20 March. More information is available at www.unngls.world.

Executive Secretary of UNFCCC to Conclude Her Term

Christiana Figueres has announced that she will not accept another term as Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Her current term will conclude on 6 July 2016.

In a statement this month, Ms. Figueres remarked on the 'historical achievement' of the Paris Agreement and noted that implementation of the agreement would be the 'urgent' next phase. She also briefly described the search process for her successor, stating that the Secretary-General would soon invite all Parties to the UNFCCC to submit candidates.

Update on Revitalization of the General Assembly

In February, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly (AHWG) held its first thematic debate of the 70th session, on the role and authority of the General Assembly.

The session began with a briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Cristina Gallach on the practical steps taken by UN DPI to raise the public profile of the UN and the General Assembly, such as events and a dedicated website to the organization's 70th anniversary. In their remarks, some Member States raised concerns about what was seen as 'encroachment' on the mandate of the GA by the Security Council, as well as the need to effectively implement resolutions of the GA. Many called for measures to enhance cooperation between the GA, the SC, and ECOSOC, such as a more comprehensive annual report from the Security Council and regular interaction between the Presidents of the GA and SC. Other States highlighted the need to make the work of the GA more effective and efficient , and to make the best possible use of existing financial resources.

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

Ambassador Drobnjak and Ambassador Emvula, the co-chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group, also convened an” informal brainstorming session” on the selection of the Secretary-General on 29 February. While the meeting is not an official session of the AHWG, it is intended to allow Member States to consider and exchange views on specific issues ahead of the thematic debate on the selection and appointment of the Secretary-General scheduled for 22 March. As described in a letter from the co-chairs, Member States are particularly encouraged to focus on two proposals: the possibility of appointing the Secretary-General to a single, non-renewable term; and the recommendation of more than one candidate by the Security Council to the General Assembly.


20 March 2016 CSO deadline to submit questions for Secretary-General candidates [NGLS]
12 to 14 April 2016 Informal General Assembly dialogues/ meetings with Secretary-General candidates
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