January 2019

QUNO co-hosts civil society briefing with Under-Secretary-General Menéndez

To support an inclusive approach to the prevention agenda between the UN and civil society, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform held an informal, off the record meeting with Under-Secretary-General (USG) and Senior Policy Advisor, Ms. Ana Maria Menéndez, who has played a central role in Secretary-General António Guterres’s focus on prevention since she was appointed in June 2017. The meeting provided an opportunity for open and constructive dialogue on how civil society can contribute to the Secretary-General’s prevention agenda in an evolving UN system.

USG Ms. Ana Maria Menéndez briefed civil society participants on the Executive Office of the Secretary-General’s current approach towards prevention as an opportunity to strengthen the ability of all states to confront risks, including violent conflict as well as underlying causes such as climate change and human rights violations. Ms. Menéndez outlined key shortcomings of the UN system that must be addressed to fulfil the prevention agenda, emphasizing the importance of strengthening coordination at the regional level and adopting a bottom-up approach to prevention starting at the field level. The USG situated the Secretary-General’s normative and operational vision for prevention in the context of UN-wide reforms in peace and security, development and management, which commenced on 1 January, 2019. Additionally, she stressed the centrality of gender to all three reforms and that prevention would be impossible without the inclusion of women.

The discussion saw representatives from civil society organizations engaging with the USG on issues including how civil society can most effectively work with with Member States on prevention, the challenges of operationalizing prevention, and opportunities for civil society engagement arising from UN reform.

The Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform sees great potential in growing and developing this relationship and there is interest and demand within civil society for enhanced cooperation with the UN. We are delighted with the positive response from Ms. Menéndez’s office to engage more meaningfully with civil society. The Platform stands ready to assist in whatever way possible to nurture and grow with partnership.

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