Protocol and Liaison Service
Protocol in the international sphere may be defined as the customs and regulations dealing with diplomatic formality, precedents and etiquette. Within the United Nations that simple definition means that in any given year the staff of the Protocol and Liaison Service will deal with representatives of all 193 States Members of the United Nations, including Heads of State and Government, as well as others who come to the Secretariat in New York in an official capacity. Without a common ground in accepted codes of conduct and ceremony, misunderstandings may arise and unintentional mistakes may be made in dealings with high-level officials.
The Protocol and Liaison Service serves the protocol needs of the Secretariat, especially the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General, and it interfaces with the Permanent and Observer Missions to the United Nations and with the liaison offices of the specialized agencies and related organizations stationed in New York. The Service applies an orderly, uniform set of rules and governing codes of behaviour in diplomatic forums, meetings and ceremonies involving Governments and their representatives.
Among the responsibilities of the Service are the following:
- Protocol coverage of meetings of the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General both at and away from Headquarters and to visits to the United Nations of high-level dignitaries;
- Liaison between the Permanent Missions of Member States and Observer Missions and the host country;
- Accreditation of the diplomatic and general staff of missions, including delegations to temporary meetings held at Headquarters;
- Processing requests for diplomatic privileges and immunities for diplomatic personnel;
- Assistance in the presentation of credentials to the Secretary-General by newly appointed Permanent Representatives;
- Organization of state luncheons and dinners and other social events hosted by the Secretary-General and/or his spouse;
- Arrangements for flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies and for the observance of official periods of mourning;
- Maintaining and disseminating an up-to-date list of Heads of State and Government and Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the States Members of the United Nations and of the composition of the principal organs of the United Nations, popularly called the “Blue Book”, as well as lists of delegations to various meetings;
- Training on protocol usage and practices.