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United Nations General Assembly 65th Session
Informal Interactive Dialogue on the Role of Regional and Sub-regional Arrangements in Implementing the Responsibility to Protect

Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Conference Room 4, North Lawn Building, United Nations Headquarters

Background

As decided at the 2005 World Summit (paragraph 139 of the Outcome Document), and confirmed by the General Assembly (resolution 63/308), the General Assembly is continuing its consideration of the responsibility to protect (RtoP).  To this end, the General Assembly will hold its third informal interactive dialogue on the responsibility to protect on 12 July 2011.

In 2009, the Secretary-General presented a wide-ranging strategy in his report, “Implementing the Responsibility to Protect” (A/63/677 of 12 January 2009).  This was discussed by the General Assembly in an informal interactive dialogue (23 July 2009) and in a formal debate (23, 24, and 28 July 2009).   In 2010, he produced a second report, on “Early Warning, Assessment and the Responsibility to Protect” (A/64/864 of 14 July 2010), to inform an informal interactive dialogue in the General Assembly on 9 August 2010.  This year, he prepared a third report, on “The Role of Regional and Sub-regional Arrangements in Implementing the Responsibility to Protect,” for a 12 July 2011 informal interactive dialogue in the Assembly. 

The 12 July dialogue will have several purposes.  One, it will reconfirm that the responsibility to protect is an evolving principle, on which the continuing input of the Member States is both needed and valued.  Two, it will be an opportunity for cross-regional exchanges on lessons learned and best practices.  Three, it will offer a forum for considering new ideas and approaches to enhancing global-regional-sub-regional cooperation on the responsibility to protect, as well as for reflecting on implementation efforts to date. Four, the interactive nature of the dialogue will serve to sharpen, clarify, and deepen our collective understanding of the regional and sub-regional dimensions of the United Nations’ overall strategy.

As with the earlier sessions in the General Assembly, it is expected that both the dialogue and the Secretary-General’s report will serve to focus Member State consideration on ways to strengthen the responsibility to protect as an operational, not just conceptual, doctrine.  From the outset, it was widely recognized that the implementation of responsibility to protect principles would have to be undertaken in partnership among a range of entities at the global, regional, sub-regional, national, and local levels.  Both civil society and governmental and inter-governmental organs would need to be fully engaged in turning the principles of the responsibility to protect into practice. 

The Secretary-General’s 2009 report underscored the critical prevention and protection roles that could be played by neighbors and regional and  sub-regional organizations, and it called for the development of cross-regional learning networks to encourage a trans-regional lessons-learned process.  Almost a decade earlier, the African Union’s adoption of a philosophy of non-indifference captured the spirit of neighbors helping neighbors to avoid mass atrocity crimes, which can retard economic and social development and breed insecurity for many years afterwards.  Recent attempts to prevent such crimes in various parts of the world confirm the importance of regional and sub-regional, as well as global, efforts at prevention and protection.  The dialogue will consider ways of reinforcing these linkages.

Tentative Programme

10:00 - 10:15AM

Opening remarks by

  • H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly

10:15 - 11:00AM

Panel Discussion I
“Regional and Sub-regional Perspectives and Experience”

Moderator: H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly

Panelists:

  • H.E. Mr. Knut Vollebaek, High Commissioner on National Minorities, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
  • H.E. Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, Executive Secretary, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region
  • H.E. Victor Rico Frontaura, Secretary for Political Affairs of the Organization of the American States
11:00AM - 1:00PM Interactive Dialogue with the Member States

1:00 - 3:00PM

Lunch

3:00 - 3:15PM

Remarks by H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

3:15 - 3:45PM

Panel Discussion II
“United Nations Perspectives and Experience”

Moderator: H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly

Panelists:

  • Dr. Edward C. Luck, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Responsiblity to Protect
  • Dr. Francis M. Deng, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secreatary-General on the Prevention of Genocide
3:45 - 5:50PM Interactive Dialogue with the Member States

5:50 - 6:00PM

Closing remarks by:

  • H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly

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