27 Oct 2016
Notes for the Next UN Secretary-General

When António Guterres assumes his role as UN Secretary-General on 1 January 2017, he will become leader of an institution trying to maintain its relevance and improve its efficacy in a time of intense global crisis. With 65 million people currently displaced by war, persecution and atrocities, and with governments and armed extremist groups blatantly defying international humanitarian and human rights law, under Mr. Guterres' leadership the UN will face immense challenges.

Historically, no single issue has done more to undermine the credibility of the UN than the failure to prevent and halt atrocities. But under a committed Secretary-General, the UN has unique political and institutional capacity to prevent mass atrocity crimes, mediate conflict and promote universal rights.

This article by Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, argues that the solution to the current global exigency and a central challenge facing Secretary-General-elect Guterres is to achieve an equilibrium shift away from crisis response and towards conflict prevention.

This article will be published in the December 2016 issue of Global Responsibility to Protect journal.