The Governments of Spain and Chile co-hosted the fifth annual meeting of the Global Network of R2P Focal Points in Madrid, Spain, on 23 and 24 June in association with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and the Stanley Foundation. The meeting brought together senior government officials from more than 50 countries as well as representatives from the European Union and United Nations, including the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Dr. Jennifer Welsh.
The meeting was launched by H.E. Mr. Francisco Javier Marambio Vial, Ambassador of Chile to Spain, and H.E. Mr. Ignacio Ybañez, Secretary of State of Spain, who noted:
“Ten years after the inception of the Responsibility to Protect, it is the right time to assess what has been achieved and how to advance its implementation. The UN Security Council agenda offers wide opportunities for concrete progress.”
During the two-day meeting, delegates participated in a range of plenary sessions on the theme of “10 Years of the Responsibility to Protect: Responding to New Challenges and Threats to Vulnerable Communities,” contributing to an exchange of views that strengthened collective understanding of the roles of R2P Focal Points in preventing mass atrocity crimes. As Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, stated at one session:
“The Responsibility to Protect is only as consistent, powerful and effective as practitioners make it. When a government appoints a national R2P Focal Point it is showing that it wants to be part of the struggle to end indifference, impunity and inaction when it comes to mass atrocity crimes. The Global Network is a community of commitment for preventing and protecting people from these crimes.”
The Global Network of R2P Focal Points was launched in 2010 by the governments of Denmark and Ghana with Australia and Costa Rica later joining the facilitating group. The initiative calls upon all governments to appoint a national R2P Focal Point. This senior official is tasked with formulating protective strategies to prevent and halt mass atrocities crimes both nationally and internationally. The Global Network includes senior officials representing 47 countries from all regions of the world.