MEDIA ADVISORY: General Assembly Informal Interactive Dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect

Media Advisory


General Assembly Informal Interactive Dialogue on the Report of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect

Mobilizing Collective Action: The Next Decade of the Responsibility to Protect

6 September 2016, UN Headquarters in New York

On Tuesday 6 September 2016, the General Assembly will hold an informal interactive dialogue on the Report of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect “Mobilizing Collective Action: The Next Decade of the Responsibility to Protect” (A/70/999 –S/2016/620). This will be the eighth – and final – report of the current Secretary-General on the responsibility to protect. The report builds on the 2015 report of the Secretary-General, which took stock of the achievements of the first 10 years of the responsibility to protect. It will serve as the basis for discussion among Member States, representatives of regional organizations and civil society participants at the informal interactive dialogue.



At the 2005 World Summit, Heads of State and Government affirmed their primary responsibility to protect their own populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and accepted a collective responsibility to assist each other in fulfilling this responsibility. They also declared their preparedness to take timely and decisive action, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and in cooperation with relevant regional organizations as appropriate, when national authorities manifestly fail to protect their populations. The General Assembly has been discussing the responsibility to protect since 2009, when the Secretary-General presented his first report on the issue: “Implementing the responsibility to protect” (A/63/677).

Since 2009, the Secretary-General has prepared annual reports on different aspects of the concept. The 2016 report emphasizes the critical importance of mobilizing collective action to protect populations from atrocity crimes, which is defined as coordinated and sustained action towards a common objective based on shared norms.

The report calls for greater consensus among Member States on a common vision for collective action. This vision should encompass strategies for effective, coordinated preventive action, timely and decisive response, prevention of recurrence, and renewed capacities of regional and international institutions. In parallel, the report recognizes that there are aspects of the responsibility to protect that are the subject of continued discussion, including the relationship among the three pillars of the framework for implementation, and the basis for undertaking collective action in response to situations where States are manifestly failing to protect populations, especially the basis for considering the use of force. The report also observes that there are a number of barriers to mobilizing collective action and proposes ways to overcome them. These barriers include failure to invest in structural prevention; lack of compliance with international law; the role played by external actors in enabling the perpetration of atrocity crimes; and lack of unity in the Security Council on action to prevent and halt the commission of atrocity crimes.

The informal interactive dialogue provides a forum for Member States to assess these barriers, exchange views on how they might be overcome and help signal to the next Secretary General the importance that Member States place on upholding the responsibility to protect. The dialogue will also suggest next steps to accelerate implementation of the principle and will help underscore the need for a renewed faith in collective action and an improved capacity to coordinate early responses. The interactive nature of the dialogue will also assist in clarifying and deepening the shared understanding of the responsibility to protect among Member States.


The President of the General Assembly
the Deputy Secretary-General
the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, the two former Special Advisers on the Responsibility to Protect
representatives of Member States
civil society participants

What:                    Informal interactive dialogue of the General Assembly
When:                   6 September 2016 (10am – 6pm)
Where:                Trusteeship Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York and live webcast through



Media inquiries: Martina Donlon, UN Department of Public Information, Tel: 212 963 6816; Email:

Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect: Email:


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