UN Governance and Reform
Principal Investigator: Mr Sam Daws
The Project on UN Governance and Reform seeks to enhance understanding of the politics and processes of the UN in a changing world. It produces books on the work of the Organisation, organizes pubic and expert events and international symposia in Oxford, and supports postgraduate students researching UN topics through networking opportunities and advice on research sources and post-Oxford career paths. It also provides advice to a range of governments, foundations and think tanks on ways to improve the oversight and capabilities of the United Nations system, including those of the international civil service and the diplomats who negotiate UN mandates and resolutions.
The focus of the project in the period 2018-2010 is three-fold:
1. To generate academic outputs (including books and events) which further the understanding of the politics and processes of international organisations.
A new 2nd edition of The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations, edited by Sam Daws and Thomas G. Weiss. The Handbook’s 45 chapters include contributions from a number of DPIR faculty and associates. It will be published in July 2018 by Oxford University Press with subsequent launches in Rome, New York, Geneva, London and Oxford.
A monograph by Sam Daws on the politics, history and law of UN security council reform will be published by Oxford University Press (target publication date October 2020). Research trips for this book to New Delhi, New York and Brasilia will take place in 2018.
Events (both expert and public) will be organized which help increase understanding of the work of the UN, or which aim to improve better policy decisions. These include:
An expert international symposium entitled From “learning lessons” to strategic planning: new ways to use knowledge in the UN system is being organized by Edward Mortimer, a distinguished fellow of All Souls College and Sam Daws of the Project on UN Governance and Reform. It will take place at All Souls College 29 June to 1 July 2018 and will be chaired by the Rector of the UN University David Malone, with 20 selected high-level international participants.
Public lectures such as that by former Assistant Secretary-General Michael von der Schulenburg on UN peacebuilding, on 31 January 2018 in Oxford. The Project has assisted in the past in organizing the Cyril Foster lecture when this has been delivered by the UN Secretary-General.
During the course of 2017 the Project co-hosted visits to Oxford by Chinese officials and scholars from the UN Association of China, and contributed to a visit by Indian MoD officials, It undertook international research collaborations and events in The Hague, New York, Osaka, Oslo, and Tokyo, and delivered lectures and tutorials on the UN to various Oxford departments and colleges, including QEH, the Diplomatic Studies Programme, the Blavatnik School, CCW, Saïd Business School and St Antony’s and St Catherine’s Colleges. Collaboration will also continue with the Academic Council on the UN System, including through the ACUNS Annual meeting in Rome in July 2018.
2. To support students undertaking postgraduate research on UN topics across Oxford departments, through networking opportunities and individual advice on primary and secondary research sources, interviews methods and future UN career opportunities.
The Project will continue to work with the University Careers Service, the Blavatnik School and the Saïd Business School (SBS) to provide talks and individual advice on UN and multilateral career paths. Sam Daws serves as a Social Impact Industry Advisor to SBS.
3. To provide expert input to improve government and parliamentary oversight of the UN, enhancing multilateral engagement, and building the capacity of diplomats and others involved in multilateral processes, from the UN to the G20.
This includes the design and delivery of practitioner workshops for the FCO’s Diplomatic Academy on UN negotiation, with six two-day workshops to be delivered in 2018-19 in collaboration with the Centre for Political and Diplomatic Studies in London.
On-going advice to a range of governments – from China to Norway - on navigating the politics and processes of the UN, In the UK briefing UK ambassadors and other senior diplomats before their UN postings, providing strategy advice to Cabinet Office, FCO and DFID staff, and advising diplomatic missions in London on UN developments.
Production of articles for UNA-UK on UN policy themes and providing advice for their input into parliamentary enquiries on the UN.
Meeting with and providing policy advice to senior UN officials, as well strategy advice to The Elders’ Secretariat and other international foundations.
The Project will also explore opportunities to establish a broader Oxford-based policy research centre focused on the role of the UN in a changing world. Such a centre would help foster existing multi-disciplinary work on the UN currently undertaken across departments and colleges, and build new capacity, with an emphasis on policy research and training that can positively impact and improve government and UN decision making.