- By David BoscoDavid Bosco, a Foreign Policy contributing editor and assistant professor at American University's School of International Service. He is at work on a book about the International Criminal Court's first decade.
For countries elected to the United Nations Security Council–particularly smaller states with no recent Council experience–the challenge can be daunting. The Council has an enormous agenda and a sometimes opaque set of rules and customs that structure its activities. Particularly in the last two decades, the Council has developed a sometimes bewildering array of subsidiary bodies and expert advisers whose work Council members are supposed to supervise.
In this environment, the New York diplomatic missions of new Council members have often struggled to get up to speed. Most boost the number of diplomats serving in New York during their stints on the Council. But new personnel only goes so far; what’s really needed is expertise on the workings of the Council. In the past, new members were pretty much on their own in developing that know-how, and many felt that they’d just begun to master Council diplomacy when their two-year term expired.
That dynamic has been changing. Security Council Report describes here one ongoing workshop—led by Finland—to bring newly elected Security Council members up to speed:
[T]he 15 current members of the Security Council and the five members elected for the 2013-2014 term will participate in a two-day workshop organised by the Government of Finland and the Security Council Affairs Division of the Secretariat. (The incoming Council members are Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, the Republic of Korea, and Rwanda.) This will be the tenth such annual workshop and is intended to afford the incoming members an opportunity to interact informally with their Council counterparts.
The United Nations Institute for Training and Research has also convened training sessions on multilateral crisis management in recent years for, among others, South Africa and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis appear particularly keen on familiarizing their diplomats with Security Council diplomacy. According to William Eimicke, Columbia University’s School of Public and International Affairs has developed a year-long executive education program for 24 Saudi diplomats, with modules on UN sanctions, the politics of the Security Council, and managing the media. Eimicke describes the Saudi contingent as "hardworking and smart" but acknowledges that they have "a lot more to learn."
The learning curve will have to be steep; Saudi Arabia expects to become a Council member for the first time ever next fall.
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.| The Cable |
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |