This week, staff from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations brought files and office supplies to an office next to the UN Security Council in New York. They hung a photo of President Obama and placed a flagpole bearing the Stars and Stripes into the floor stand behind the desk. With these symbolic steps, the United States was prepared to assume the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of July.
Each month, a different nation within the Security Council holds its rotating presidency. Security Council presidents are responsible for setting the agenda for that month, called a “Program of Work,” and presiding over meetings. This responsibility typically falls to whomever is serving or acting as Permanent Representative of the state that holds the presidency, but for special events where an official from the state who is higher in authority than the Permanent Representative is present for a meeting, that person serves as Council President. For example, this month, Secretary of State Kerry will preside over a Security Council meeting that will focus on restoring peace in Africa's Great Lakes region.
Holding the presidency also enables countries to raise important issues that may not otherwise come up on the Council’s calendar. This July, the United States will convene a thematic debate on the protection of journalists in armed conflict. In this session member-states will hear directly from journalists who have reported on conflicts across the globe about the unique threats and challenges journalists face when working in situations of conflict.
Outside the Council, the U.S. Mission will also host TechCamp NYC, a two-day event for technologists, media professionals, the NGO community and international organizations focused on the protection of journalists in conflict situations. The roughly 80 participants will utilize small group discussions and workshops to explore existing technology solutions to problems confronting journalists operating in conflict zones around the world.
During the U.S. Presidency, Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo will also preside over the regular business of the Council, including consultations on the situations in Sudan and South Sudan, Lebanon, Cyprus and elsewhere, as well as the quarterly open debate on the Middle East. Stay up-to-date throughout July on breaking news and commentary on Council negotiations, Presidential Statements, and open briefings by following the U.S. Mission on Twitter at @USUN, and by liking us on Facebook.
About the Author: Molly L. Meyer serves in the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York.