This regular seminar brings together the heads of the United Nations Peace Operations from around the world with the senior-most Secretariat staff, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the High Commissioner for Refugees and other senior agency staff to examine together how to refine and enhance UN practice.

Programme for Briefing and Debriefing Special and Personal Representatives and Envoys of the Secretary-General

This project is being carried out 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 operations. The project has five components: 1) the debriefing of current and past representatives through in-depth interviews; 2) the preparation 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 current 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 current SRSGs and senior Headquarters staff. A second edition of the book has just been produced and distributed.

As well, a collection of DVDs of interviews with SRSGs have been 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.

To date, four seminars have been held in Switzerland with SRSGs and senior Headquarters and Agency staff. The first seminar took place in March 2001; the second in October 2002, the third in October 2004 and the fourth in October 2007. 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 presence of SRSGs and senior Headquarters and Agency staff also allow SRSGs to highlight problems which recur across missions and to consider how these can be resolved. The next seminar is planned for late 2008.

The programme is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom.

Special Representatives, senior UN staff and heads of UN agencies; donors; and UNITAR staff at the 2007 SRSG Seminar.