The first meeting of R2P focal points jointly convened by the foreign ministries of Costa Rica, Denmark and Ghana, in association with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, took place on 17 and 18 May 2011. The meeting had the purpose of being the springboard for setting up a functional R2P focal points network for the prevention and halting of mass atrocities. Thirty-one countries participated, nineteen of which sent a designated senior-level official along with twelve representatives from missions at the United Nations. Countries represented by officials from their capitals included: Australia, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, and the United States. The second group included Argentina, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Côte D’Ivoire, Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Twelve panelists from the world of academia and diplomacy participated in the conversation. From civil society, four nongovernmental organizations attended as observers.
Panelists and participants welcomed the session as the first meeting of the national focal points. While highlighting the value of this meeting as the first step in an iterative process, the participants viewed the dialogue through the lens of a network creation stage. As a result, they framed the discussion as an opportunity to set the agenda for the national focal points for R2P through prioritizing their roles and responsibilities, and building sustainability for continued interactions. Participants had the opportunity to discuss what needs to be done on the national, sub-regional, regional, and global levels. The two days of discussion also led to an exchange of ideas regarding what mechanisms could be created to make the R2P norm and the network of national focal points sustainable, and whether and how those mechanisms should be institutionalized.
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