12 April 2017, New York, USA – The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) New York Office organized a “Skills-Building Workshop: Elections to UN Organs”. Over 50 delegates from Least Development Countries (LDCs), Middle Income Countries (MICs) as well as Developed Countries with the aim to enhace the understanding of election procedures and processes at various UN Organs. The training was particularly relevant for election officers who were able to acquire new skills and tools to identify opportunities for candidatures, learn from the composition of the principal UN organs and selected subsidiary organs as well as gain knowledge and insights from successful campaigning experiences.
Mr. Kenji Nakano, Chief, General Assembly Affairs Branch, described the composition of the principal UN organs and selected subsidiary organs. He contrasted principles for the distribution of seats, including equitable regional representation. Mr. Nakano also provided an overview of elections conducted by the General Assembly. At the end of his session he made a contrast elections for Members States vs. elections in individual capacity.
Mr. Mateus Kowalski, Legal Officer, from the Office of Legal Affaits (OLA) with Ms. Sangeeta Sharma, from the ECOSOC Affairs Branch, described the key elements of the rules and procedures for elections and voting. They contrasted principles for the distribution of seats, including equitable regional representation and compared the different electoral principles, including the difference between elections to principal organs, subsidiary organs, majorities and others. Both officers described the role of elections within the International Court of Justice, International Trade of Law, and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Ms. Mary Muturi, from the General Assembly Affairs Branch identified the key sources of information on elections, including focal points in the secretariats of the main bodies, legal officers, legal, and Unite Connection. Ms. Muturi presented Unite Connection, which will be the replacement of CandiWeb. Participants were taught to identify the different types of ballots and to understand the process followed by the tellers after the voting process.
In the last session of the seminar, Ms. Christine Bailey representative from the Permanent Mission of Jamaica and Ms. Maria Jose del Aguila from Castillo, from the Permanent Mission of Guatemala shared their experiences on campaigning at the UN. Ms. Del Aguila spoke about the steps she successfully undertook when organizing a campaign, she described the essential points any election officer needs to consider in order to campaign and be successful for any particular elections from a small states perspective. Both delegates also displayed other materials other missions had used in the past while campaigning and encouraged all election officers to think outside the box.
Photo Credits: UNITAR NYO