May 30 2018
Past event

The Glion Human Rights Dialogue 2018 (‘Glion V’): The place of human rights in a reformed United Nations’

The Glion Human Rights Dialogue is a retreat bringing together around sixty senior policy-makers and other stakeholders in an informal, non-attributable setting designed to promote open, forward-looking and solutions-oriented debate. This year’s Dialogue took place from Wednesday 30th to Thursday 31st May 2018 at Le Mirador Hotel in Chardonne, Switzerland

Immediately after taking Office in January 2017, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced his intention to introduce wide-ranging reforms to the way the UN works and how it delivers on its mandate. His reforms focus on three key areas: UN management (secretariat); the development system; and the UN’s peace and security architecture. A core goal is to create a more flexible and efficient UN, where fragmentation between the Organisation’s three pillars (peace and security, sustainable development, and human rights) is reduced and eventually eliminated.  

The central importance of human rights, as one of those three pillars, has been repeatedly underscored by UN member States – as has the fact that all three pillars are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Notwithstanding, there are, today, question marks over the degree to which this importance is reflected in the Secretary-General’s current reform agenda.  

In parallel to the Secretary-General’s broad reform plans, member and observer States at the UN Human Rights Council are currently engaged in discussions about how to strengthen the international human rights system’s efficiency, effectiveness and impact. Moreover, the next intergovernmental review of the Human Rights Council’s status, which will decide whether it should become a main or remain a subsidiary body of the UN, is due to take place between 2021 and 2026.  

Against this backdrop, the fifth Glion Human Rights Dialogue (Glion V) considered the position of the human rights pillar in the current process of UN reforms. It also discussed possible steps, in Geneva, New York and in the field, to strengthen the interconnectedness of human rights, development and peace and security. In-so-doing Glion V sought to contribute to and support the Secretary-General’s reform agenda, complement on-going discussions on Council strengthening, and provide a space for early reflection on the opportunities and challenges presented by the 2021-2026 review.   

The Glion Human Rights Dialogue, hosted by the Governments of  Switzerland, aims to provide a platform for representatives of States, OHCHR, the wider UN, and other key parts of the human rights system such as Special Procedure mandate-holders, members of Treaty Bodies, NHRIs, NGOs, and human rights defenders, to offer their assessment of the key challenges they face and their vision of how to best overcome them to strengthen the Council and the wider UN human rights system. As always, the outcome of the retreat, and the three policy dialogues held in preparation for the meeting, will be summarised in an informal document presenting some of the key messages, ideas and recommendations, which will seek to encourage and contribute to wider consideration of the issues.

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