Among them: a transparent and merit-based selection process for the next Secretary-General; significant amendments to the use of the veto and a recommendation for a new category of non-permanent members of the Security Council.
Far too many people are beginning another year in grief and suffering, caused by conflict and deliberate violence. The misuse of the veto by some P5 members has allowed both states and militant groups such as Da’esh (Islamic State) to break international law with impunity. In September 2015, The Elders joined a high-level panel at the UN in New York to debate the Security Council veto and the responsibility of states to protect their citizens from mass atrocities.
Hina Jilani reminded governments that the veto power “should be seen as a privilege, which has to be used responsibly.”
We also reminded governments: “The UNSC can only remain influential to promote peace and security if most influential countries are working together.”
Over the past year we have helped generate public and private debates on the process in an effort to ensure she or he is selected in a more transparent and merit-based process and is empowered by a single seven-year term.
Following their discussions at the UN, Gro Brundtland and Hina Jilani visited London in October to mark the UN’s actual 70th Anniversary with Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein - the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
During a lively Q&A, Gro Brundtland explained another of our proposals – an expanded Security Council. She said: “if people feel it [the UN] is not representing the world, they will not listen to the conclusions it reaches.”
Following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Munich Security Conference, we travelled to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin in April. The Elders hope to visit China later in the year as part of our ongoing discussions with P5 members on strengthening peace and security worldwide.
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In September 2015, together with the Government of Liechtenstein, we convened a group of distinguished experts including current and former UN ambassadors in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, to discuss strengthening the organisation.
We will continue to push our goals forward in private and in public. Governments, civil society and individual activists, working together, are key to making these proposals a reality.
One year on from the launch of our ‘UN Fit for Purpose’ initiative at the Munich Security Conference, The Elders and our partners continue to press for change. This photo-story highlights progress to date and looks ahead to the work remaining in this crucial year.
Photos: 1-Widmann | MSC; 2-The Elders | Neville Elder; 3 & 4-Ed Thompson | UNA-UK; 5-Grigory Sysoev | The Elders