This project was established to preserve and pass on the valuable lessons and experience of Special and Personal Representatives and Envoys of the Secretary-General (SRSGs) and to ensure these are used to refine and enhance UN peace practice. The five components have included: 1) the debriefing of current and past representatives through in-depth interviews; 2) the publication of a book for new SRSGs based on a distillation of the major issues raised in those interviews; 3) the production of a set of DVDs/videos of the interviews; 4) a regular seminar for SRSGs and senior UN staff to provide a forum to share experience and lessons and to promote dialogue; and 5) input into the Headquarters briefing programmes for SRSGs based on the recommendations of SRSGs.
Based on a number of in-depth interviews, a first draft of the book, On Being a Special Representative of the Secretary-General, was prepared for use exclusively within the UN system and provided to all SRSGs and senior Headquarters staff. A second edition of the book was subsequently produced and distributed.
As well, a collection of DVDs of interviews with SRSGs was edited and distributed to all SRSGs and to UN Headquarters. Both the DVD collection and the book are given to new SRSGs as part of their briefing process.
Seminars have been held with SRSGs and senior Headquarters and Agency staff since 2001. These meetings ensure that SRSGs are able to share their experiences and lessons with each other and provide a forum for grappling with the complex problems they are facing. In addition, the meetings provide a networking opportunity, where relationships are fostered and developed. The engagement between SRSGs and senior Headquarters and Agency staff also allows SRSGs to highlight problems which recur across missions and to consider how these can be resolved.
Working with UNITAR, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations with the Department of Field Support, and the Department of Political Affairs have held their own respective Heads of Mission Conferences in conjunction with the Seminar to further discuss issues raised in the meeting as well as other internal priority areas.
The project is funded by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden.
Photo: The Special Representatives of the Secretary-General, senior UN staff, funding government representatives and UNITAR staff.