Guterres Meets Civil Society Members

United Nations Secretary-General-Designate António Guterres, Deputy Secretary-General-Designate Amina Mohammed, and members of the Secretary-General’s Transition Team met with civil society leaders in an event co-hosted by the International Peace Institute (IPI) and the United Nations Foundation at IPI on December 19, 2016.

The 90-minute meeting was the first gathering in what is meant to be the beginning of a constructive, ongoing working relationship between members of civil society and the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General.

Represented at the discussion, billed as “A Conversation with United Nations Secretary-General–designate António Guterres,” were organizations from the peace and security, human rights, humanitarian affairs, development, climate change, and gender equality sectors.

The meeting was held under the Chatham House Rule of non-attribution. Among the subjects discussed were:

  • promoting gender parity and respect for women’s rights across all sectors and particularly in conflict settings;
  • promoting women’s health including in relation to sexual and reproductive rights;
  • focusing UN humanitarian efforts on prevention;
  • raising the visibility of the problem of violence against children;
  • bringing evaluation and accountability to UN activities;
  • confronting the threat that rising nationalism and populism pose to the UN and the human rights agenda;
  • addressing the closing of civic space, particularly in conflict;
  • pressing for measures to assure the end of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers, including those in civilian roles;
  • using the Secretary-General’s good offices to bring influence on the Security Council;
  • stopping the erosion of respect for International Humanitarian Law in conflict settings;
  • spearheading an effective and human rights-centered approach in sharing the responsibility of hosting forcibly displaced people.

Welcoming remarks were delivered by Adam Lupel, Vice-President of IPI, and Elizabeth Cousens, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the UN Foundation. Minh-Thu Pham, the Foundation’s Executive Director for Policy, moderated the discussion.

Mr. Guterres and Ms. Mohammed started off the conversation, and then after listening intently to the civil society proposals, they each gave closing remarks. Mr. Guterres, a former Prime Minister of Portugal and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, becomes Secretary-General, succeeding Ban Ki-Moon, on January 1, 2017.