‘Friday Exchange’ with Permanent Mission of Denmark in NYC: ‘How can the Third Committee have a positive impact on protecting civil society space and human rights defenders?’
In February 2016, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and the Universal Rights Group launched a new diplomatic initiative in Geneva: the ‘Friday Exchange.’
The Friday Exchange is a series of quarterly informal policy dialogues (small roundtable discussions) designed to allow States (ambassador level) from all regions to exchange opinions, bridge differences and identify common ground on some of the most difficult and intractable issues facing the Human Rights Council and the wider UN human rights pillar today.
The Friday Exchange aims to provide an informal ‘safe space’ (Chatham House rule) for States to understand each other’s positions, reflect upon obstacles to consensus, and identify practical solutions. In-so-doing, the Exchange seeks to support the work and effectiveness of the Human Rights Council and the wider UN human rights system, drive progress on key human rights questions facing the international community, and promote inter-State and inter-regional understanding and cooperation.
Friday Exchange meetings seek to secure the participation of delegations from each UN region, as well as from different political groups. Within those parameters, efforts are made, for each meeting, to invite those States most implicated by the issue(s) or initiative(s) under discussion.
The ninth meeting of the Friday Exchange, and the third Friday Exchange in New York, was chaired by Danish Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, H.E. Ambassador Ib Petersen, was held on 8th November, and focussed on on: How can the Third Committee have a positive impact on protecting civil society space and human rights defenders?