ICM Briefs African Regional Group

On February 26th, Chair Kevin Rudd and Secretary-General Hardeep Puri briefed delegates from the UN’s African Group about the ICM and its work. This was the last of a series of briefings which the Commission held during the month of February to inform UN regional groups about its vision for an effective multilateral system.

“The system is increasingly under fatigue on several fronts,” Mr. Rudd said. “These are very objective symptoms of crisis, and we have a collective and moral responsibility to make a contribution.”

Mr. Rudd explained how the ICM will seek to strengthen the existing multilateral system by providing practical recommendations in 15 issue areas, which will then be published in a final comprehensive report by the end of 2016.

One of the issue areas addresses the UN’s relationship with regional organizations around the world, Mr. Rudd pointed out. In that regard, he mentioned the importance of Africa’s regional organizations, and noted how better cooperation between them and the UN can benefit the multilateral system as a whole.

“The African Union plays a critical role on the continent,” Mr. Rudd said. “But the challenge—and the opportunity—is to identify the appropriate role between the UN and regional organizations which currently undertake much work in peace, security, and development across the world.”

The chair also discussed the relationship between the ICM and the various review processes currently taking place at the UN. Referring to the post-2015 development agenda, Mr. Rudd said the key is to understand how to operationalize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the future, thus turning them into reality.

The undertaking of the ICM would not be possible without the active involvement of the UN’s member states, Mr. Rudd continued.

“Member states are the key stakeholders in the process, and to be useful, we need to be in very close cooperation with them,” Mr. Rudd said. “Our job is to distill to the core the set of options that can lead to long-term sustainable reform.”

The Commission, whose secretariat is housed at the International Peace Institute, will delve into each of the 15 issue areas by hosting a series of retreats where experts, practitioners, and government representatives will offer their perspectives on the process.