The Security Council Goes Silent as the Secretary-General Opens Up

The UNSC has gone to virtual meetings, but citing various technology issues, has limited live-streaming and other transparencies.

by Stéphanie Fillion and Kacie Candela. Read more on PassBlue.

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The UN Security Council’s 15 members held a meeting on March 26, 2020, by videoconference, to discuss the UN political mission in Libya, as the UN headquarters in New York City remains physically off-limits amid the Covid-19 outbreak. But the meetings have not been live-streamed, so other UN member states are raising questions about the growing lack of transparency of the Council.

For the coronavirus outbreak, UN-Scripted, our podcast series, is ramping up its coverage by offering a bonus episode this week. This time, we look at how the United Nations Security Council is slowly restarting its program of work but offering few details on its operations to the media and all the countries that don’t sit on the Council.

We also look at Secretary-General António Guterres’s ambitious demand for a cease-fire in all conflict zones. Which countries and militias are complying with the request so far, and which ones are not?

You’ll also hear from Mari Skare, the chef de cabinet of the president of the General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad Bande. Skare has been at the heart of reorganizing the Assembly’s work over the last few weeks, as the UN goes into “extraordinary” mode. Skare, who is Norwegian, tells us what options are on the table for the high-level annual session of the General Assembly in September, as the United States is currently the epicenter of the pandemic, and New York City now has the most cases, so it’s unclear if it will be safe for delegates and global leaders to come to the city or to the country then.

We also talked with PassBlue’s reporter Laura Kirkpatrick about one of our most-popular stories this week: the line of succession of top UN leadership. In the US, if anything happens to President Trump, we know that Vice President Pence will take over. But what about Secretary-General Guterres?

To hear the episode, download PassBlue’s podcast, UN-Scripted, at Apple Podcasts, Patreon, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher, TuneIn or Google Play.

Originally published at on March 27, 2020.

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