SRSG Project

Project for Special and Personal Representatives and Envoys of the Secretary-General

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 operations and 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.

To date, ten seminars have been held 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, the fourth in October 2007, the fifth in November 2008, the sixth in November 2009, the seventh in February 2011, the eighth in May 2012, the ninth in March 2013 and the most recent seminar in March 2014. 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 2015.

Since the 2007 SRSG Seminar, 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 immediately after 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, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.


Photo: The Special Representatives of the Secretary-General, senior UN staff, funding government representatives and UNITAR staff at the 2014 SRSG Seminar.


Related links:

Special and Personal Representatives and Envoys of the Secretary-General (SRSGs)

Department of Political Affairs

United Nations Peacekeeping