Coinciding with the opening of the 70th United Nations General Assembly, the governments of the Netherlands, Botswana and Liberia, in association with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, co-hosted the 8th annual Ministerial Roundtable on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) at the UN Secretariat on 30 September 2015.
The aim of this year’s R2P Ministerial Roundtable was to focus on the core issues of civilian protection and mass atrocity prevention that lie at the heart of R2P. A range of other related policy agendas were also discussed, including Early Warning, Mediation, Peacekeeping, Protection of Civilians, Children and Armed Conflict, Women, Peace and Security, Countering Violent Extremism, Transitional Justice and Accountability for mass atrocities.
The meeting opened with statements from the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, on behalf of the Secretary-General, and the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft. A cross-regional group of ministers representing nine governments joined the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Bert Koenders, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Botswana, H.E. Ms. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia, H.E. Mr. Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan in contributing to the discussion, which was moderated by Ms. Lyse Doucet, Chief International Correspondent of the BBC. More than twenty-five other governments also attended as observers.
The eighth annual Ministerial Roundtable marked the tenth anniversary of the adoption of R2P at the 2005 World Summit. The anniversary provided an important opportunity to take stock of national, regional and global efforts to prevent mass atrocity crimes and set out a vision for the decade ahead. Many participants noted that while observing the tenth anniversary, member states should pass another General Assembly Resolution on R2P in order to reinforce the existing political commitment. The ministers concluded the meeting by acknowledging that initiatives such as the UN’s Human Rights Up Front action plan will strengthen our collective resilience to mass atrocities, but ultimately, through partnerships and supporting crosscutting agendas, we can strengthen the capacity to prevent atrocities and protect civilians from the most grave violations of human rights.