UNITAR Organizes Skills-Building Workshop: Elections to UN Organs

4 April 2018, New York, USA - The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) delivered its annual “Skills-Building Workshop: Elections to UN Organs”. With sponsorship of the Swedish contribution under the programme “Leveling the Playing Field”, the day-long workshop consisted of five seminars. It included delegates from Least Development Countries (LDCs), Middle Income Countries (MICs) as well as Developed Countries with the aim to help them understand the processes and procedures of various United Nations organs.

The workshop kicked off with opening remarks by Mr. Marco A. Suazo, Head of UNITAR New York Office reminding the delegates how important this type of workshop is for the UN community. The first seminar was conducted by Mr. Kenji Nakano, Chief General Assembly Affairs Branch who gave the attendees an overview of the UN organs as well as elections conducted by the General Assembly. This was followed by an in-depth session led by Ms. Tomoko Iwata, Legal Officer, Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) and Ms. Lana Emelina, ECOSOC Affairs Branch. As a team, they presented the key elements of the rules and procedures for elections and voting as well as comparing the different electoral principles.

The delegates were also given an overview of the eDelegate Portal by Ms. Mary Muturi, General Assembly Affairs Branch to help trace the formal submission process for candidacies. Ms. Muturi also presented the different types of ballots to help the delegates understand the election process, followed by the tellers after the voting process. Mr. Nenad Vasic, Human Rights Officer, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, New York Office ran the third session to discuss the role of treaty body members and their relationship with States parties. The delegates were also given information on the status of human rights treaty bodies and how treaty body members are chosen.

The fourth session was led by Mr. David Biggs, Senior Political Affairs Officer (SCAD) of DPA to explain the machinery of the Security Council and their committees. The delegates were given material on the Security Council that outlined their missions, programme of work and their annual report.

The fifth and last session was an interactive portion of the workshop. It was presented by four members who ran successful campaigns for their own elections. The presenters were Mr. Anjani Kumar, Permanent Mission of India, Mr. Lyle Davidson, Permanent Mission of South Africa, Ms. Sarah Husseini, Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia and Ms. Isabelle Bardijn, Permanent Mission of Belgium. Both Mr. Kumar and Mr. Davidson gave helpful advice on planning and preparing campaigns prior to and during elections. Ms. Husseini and Ms. Bardijin assessed the trade-offs and risks of engaging into a campaign as well as give their perspectives on campaigning for elections being from Small States. The team also fielded many important questions from the participants.

All of the presenters stressed the importance of networking with each other in order to have successful campaigns.

Photos: Participants and facilitators of the workshop.