US’s Power Sole Female Representative on 2016 Security Council

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Dec. 28, 2015 – When Jordan appointed Dina Kawar as its representative to the United Nations in the middle of 2014, it meant that six of the 15 countries serving on the Security Council were represented by women.

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When the body convenes on Jan. 1, the United States’ Samantha Power will be the only female ambassador on the 2016 Security Council.

The departure of Argentina, represented by Maria Cristina Perceval and Luxembourg, represented by Sylvie Lucas, from the Council at the at the end of 2014, saw the number decrease to four as their replacements for a two-year term, Spain and Venezuela, were both represented by men.

This year sees three more countries represented by women on the Council ending their terms and being replaced by countries with male ambassadors.

Jordan, along with Lithuania, represented by Raimonda Murmokaitė, and Nigeria, represented by Joy Ogwu, all end their two year terms on Dec. 31 and will be replaced by Japan, Ukraine and Senegal.

The other new countries on the Council in 2016, Egypt and Uruguay are also represented by men.

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Even though the United States is a permanent member of the Council, Power’s tenure will likely not last for too long beyond the end of 2016 as a new president will be elected in the US in November and will in all likelihood appoint a new envoy sometime in early 2017.

Power is the fourth female envoy appointed to represent the US at the United Nations, following Jeanne Kirkpatrick (1981-85), Madeline Albright (1993-97) and Susan Rice (2009-2013).

Chile’s Ana Figueoa was the 
first woman to serve on the Security Council in 1952.

About 40 of the UN’s 193 member states are represented by women, with Australia, Colombia, Greece, Hungary and Pakistan all appointing female diplomats this year to represent their respective countries at the United Nations.

Among the tasks of the Security Council in 2016 will be agreeing on a candidate to replace Ban Ki-moon as secretary-general. In a letter circulated to member states earlier this month, countries were specifically asked to consider presenting women as candidates.

– Denis Fitzgerald
@denisfitz

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Women Still a Minority in Ban Ki-Moon’s Cabinet

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December 3, 2015 –  The announcement this week that Ban Ki-moon was replacing his chief of staff, Susana Malcora, with longtime UN diplomat Edmund Mulet put the spotlight on gender balance in Ban’s senior management group, which essentially acts as his cabinet.

Susana Malcora and her successor Edmund Mulet

Susana Malcora and her successor Edmund Mulet

With Malcora’s resignation – she was named foreign minister in the new Argentine government – the number of women in Ban’s 39-person senior management group is now down to twelve, less than 30 percent and far below the desired 50 percent which the UN chief himself has said is the goal.

Ban appointed Stephen O'Brien (r) to replace Valerie Amos as UN aid coordinator.

Ban appointed Stephen O’Brien (r) to replace Valerie Amos as UN aid coordinator.

Malcora is the most recent high-ranking female UN official to be replaced by a male counterpart. Earlier this year, Valerie Amos, the top UN humanitarian official and the first woman to hold the post, was replaced by Stephen O’Brien, also a UK native. Late last year, Navi Pillay, the South African judge who served as high commissioner for human rights, was replaced by Jordan’s Prince Zeid Hussein.

Navi Pillay (l) who was replaced as high commissioner for human rights by Zeid Husien

Navi Pillay (l) who was replaced as high commissioner for human rights by Zeid Husien

There are others. Angela Kane, a German who held the post of high representative for disarmament, was replaced by Ban’s fellow South Korean, Kim Won Soo. And after Ban’s reelection as secretary-general in 2012, he replaced his deputy secretary-general, Tanzania’s Asha Rose Migiro, with Sweden’s Jan Eliasson.

Angela Kane and her successor as high representative for disarmament, Ban's fellow South Korean, Kim Won Soo

Angela Kane and her successor as high representative for disarmament, Ban’s fellow South Korean, Kim Won Soo

When making these appointments, Ban has to juggle finding the best person for the post as well as keeping member states and regional groups content, as well as – and more importantly – getting the tacit approval of the P5 countries, who essentially get to veto Ban’s appointments. While it’s no easy task, it’s disappointing that a trend has emerged where the UN chief is appointing men to fill senior posts previously held by women.

Asha Rose Migiro and the man Ban Ki-moon appinted as her successor, Jan Eliasson

Asha Rose Migiro and the man Ban Ki-moon appointed as her successor, Jan Eliasson

Ban recently appointed Italian Filippo Grandi to the post of high commissioner for refugees, selecting him from a shortlist dominated by women. It’s widely accepted that Grandi had the most refugee experience but Ban could have another chance to appoint a woman to a key post if and when the current head of peacekeeping, France’s Herve Ladsous, resigns. Appointing a woman to this post would go a long way toward backing up Ban’s public statements on gender equality with real action.

– Denis Fitzgerald
@denisfitz

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UN Report: ISIS Established and Seeking to Expand in Libya

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December 1, 2015 –  The Islamic State has established four hubs in Libya and its current strength consists of about 3,000 fighters but local groups are resisting its expansion, a Security Council sanctions monitoring team said in a report released on Tuesday.

The report, which refers to the group as ISIL, states that it has established hubs in Tripoli, Ajdabiya, Derna and Sirte, where it appears to be strongest and is in control of the city but facing strong resistance from armed residents.

The report says ISIL’s expansion in Lybia is contingent on forming alliances with local groups and its branch in Sirte consists of fighters who previously were members of Ansar al Sharia.

The core strength of ISIL in Libya consists of Libyans returning to the country after fighting with the group in Iraq and Syria, as well as foreign fighters joining them, mostly from Maghreb countries.

The full report is here.

– Denis Fitzgerald
@denisfitz