Symposium on “United Nations Special Envoys… Appointment, Tasks and Effectiveness of their Roles”
On May 9, 2023, ECFA organized a symposium on the theme “United Nations Special Envoys… Appointment, Tasks and Effectiveness of their Roles,” in which Ambassador Ramzy Ezzedine Ramzy, former First Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and former Deputy Special Envoy for Syria, delivered a speech. The meeting was opened by Ambassador Mohamed El-Oraby, ECFA Chairman, and moderated by Ambassador Dr. Mohamed Anis Salem, Rapporteur of the Permanent ECFA’s Committee on the United Nations, and attended by Ambassador Dr. Ezzat Saad, ECFA Director, Youssef Zadeh, Dr. Sadeq Abdel-Aal, and Dr. Yousry Abou Shady.
Ambassador Ramzy indicated that there are many designations given to whoever is chosen to perform a specific role on behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, most notably the special envoy, the special representative, the personal envoy, the special coordinator, and the special advisor. These designations are often linked to decisions issued by the Security Council, the General Assembly, or by the Secretary-General based on Articles 98 and 99 of the United Nations Charter, which give the Secretary-General the authority to play a role in resolving armed conflicts by peaceful means, through what he deems appropriate. While the fields of work of these individuals vary, according to the needs; whether political, military, environmental, economic, or humanitarian…etc.
Regarding the appointment process, it is noteworthy that the Secretary-General is the one who makes the decision to appoint someone as his special envoy, provided that this is preceded by a consultation process with the Security Council, including the five permanent member states, as well as with the concerned states parties such as Syria, for example, in the case of the Special Envoy for Syria. There may be a special envoy from heads of state, heads of government, ambassadors, or United Nations employees known for their competence and experience. Regarding the method and mechanism of work, the personal envoy deals with all parties concerned with the conflict, whatever they might be, directly, and also communicates with the permanent members of the Security Council, as well as some relevant units and agencies within the Organization, such as the Department of Peace Operations, the political, financial and administrative units, as well as the International Organization for Migration, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, etc., as required by the tasks of each individual case.
The Special Envoy presents reports to the Security Council orally, during public or closed sessions. It is assumed that there will be interaction and discussions regarding these reports and their results. The UN Secretary-General, in turn, drafts corresponding reports and submits them to the General Assembly and the Security Council. Finally, ECFA recommended that there be a special representative of the Secretary-General for epidemics, especially at this time in which pandemics and diseases are spreading.