WHAT IS AN INTERNATIONAL CIVIL SERVANT? What independence, what neutrality?

UN FONCTIONNAIRE INTERNATIONAL, QU’EST-CE QUE C’EST ?  Quelle indépendance, quelle neutralité ?

 One century ago, at the end of the First World War, the League of Nations and the ILO were the first international organisations established to achieve peace and multilateral cooperation. Their secretariats implemented, for the first time, the notion of neutral civil servants, independent from member States, committed to the multilateral values instead of individual nations’ interests. In 1945, the UN Charter confirmed and consolidated this notion. Today, how are independence and neutrality managed in the daily life of the UN staff? How the diversity of the UN work shapes different situations where being objective and taking balanced decisions is a permanent challenge? What individual and practical experiences illustrate the complexities of this peculiar job?

A panel of 6 retired or active UN staff from different UN agencies will have maximum 10 minutes to highlight his / her real-life examples and opinions.

The Moderator, Ms Cécile Molinier, former UNDP officer and UN Resident Coordinator, will facilitate the debate (in English and French) with the audience and among the panelists.

  • 1918 – 2018: When, why and how international secretariats were invented, and how did this function evolve? John Burley former UNDP and UNCTAD staff member, currently researcher and writer on international civil service.
  • Managing refugees: UN humanitarian aid across national borders./ La gestion des réfugiés: l’aide humanitaire des NNUU par-dessus les frontières nationales. Ms Gesche Karrenbrok, former UNHCR staff member.
  • Mission impossible? Negotiating peace in Syria. Moritz Meier-Ewert , current UN official, former with the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria.
  • From the Tribunal of Nuremberg to WHO: my journey in multilateral functions Yves Beigbeder , former Deputy Chief of Personnel, WHO.
  • Human Rights: defending UN most complicated values. Pierre Sob   , former UNHCHR officer.
  • UN approach to development policy? “No-one-size-fits-all”. Taffere Tesfachew   , former Director of the Division of Least Developed Countries, UNCTAD.


When?  19 April 2018, 6.00 – 8.30 pm

Where? La Pastorale, route de Ferney 106

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