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Dr. Jennifer Welsh, Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect
On 12 July 2013, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Welsh as the new Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect. 

Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect

Background on the Position:

At the end of August 2007, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon sent a letter to the UN Security Council President, Mr. Pascal Guyama, proposing the creation of the position of “Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect”. This position, acknowledged on 11 December 2007 by the Security Council, is part-time and at the level of Assistant Secretary-General. In late December 2007, discussions in the budgetary committees of the General Assembly (GA) regarding the funding for the new RtoP post met with some opposition:

-Some Member States argued that the norm lacked clarity and that a specifically RtoP-related mandate has not been fully endorsed by all Member States.

-Some Member States even denied that they had endorsed the Responsibility to Protect as a norm in the World Summit Outcome Document (WSOD). This led to questioning the need for a Special Adviser on the norm.

-Some Member States proposed that the GA formally discuss how to implement the commitment in the WSOD (paragraph 139) before deciding on the Secretary-General’s proposals.

Appointment of Dr. Luck: 
On February 21, 2008 the Spokesperson for Secretary-General announced that Edward Luck was appointed as Special Adviser, with a focus on the Responsibility to Protect. Dr. Luck served until July 2012. Dr. Luck’s responsibilities as Special Adviser were described as normative, rather than operational. They included developing clarity and building consensus for the concept of the Responsibility to Protect, “to assist the General Assembly to continue consideration of this crucial issue.” Dr. Luck under a “broad consultative process” to develop proposals for consideration by the UN membership.

In August 2008 the Stanley Foundation published a policy brief by Edward C. Luck, entitled “The United Nations and the Responsibility to Protect”. The report contains recommendations to advance RtoP. It encourages interagency cooperation on key cross-sectoral issues, and it calls for strengthening good governance and effective public administration where it is most needed. Luck argues that UN Member States currently agree upon the goals of the RtoP but not on the means to achieve them. The brief was one of the first indications of how Luck was pursuing the operationalization of RtoP within the UN system.

Throughout the end of 2008, Dr. Luck spent much of his efforts on trying to consolidate the support of Member States, key agencies within the UN, and civil society for how to best understand and interpret RtoP as well as on how the UN should move forward on implementing RtoP. Dr. Luck worked closely with the Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, Dr. Francis Deng, to elaborate a revised mechanism within the UN system that would be able to collect and analyze early warning information as well as provide early warning information and recommendations for action to the Secretary General and Security Council. 

A full bio on Edward Luck may be found here

Appointment of Dr. Jennifer Welsh: 

On 12 July 2013, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Welsh as the new Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect.  Dr. Welsh has emphasized that the focus of her tenure as Special Adviser will center on mainstreaming the RtoP norm while simultaneously turning an emphasis towards Pillar II – that is, the international community’s responsibility to assist states in growing capacity to better protect its citizens from the four crimes enumerated under RtoP.

Dr. Welsh was previously a Professor of International Relations and Co-Director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict at the University of Oxford, Associate Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Programme at the University of Toronto, Cadieux Research Fellow on Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs policy planning staff, in addition to teaching international relations at McGill University and at the Central European University, among other accomplishments. She has published widely on the concept of responsibility to protect and atrocity prevention. A holder of a master’s and doctorate from University of Oxford, where she attended as a Rhodes Scholar, she has a Bachelor’s of Arts (Honours) degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. 

Originally born in Regina, Saskatchewan, she is married and has two children.  


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