Ten years after the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly in 2005, the international community is still faced with challenges of ensuring that genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing are never again committed. In light of RtoP’s 10th anniversary and ongoing situations of mass atrocities around the world, the Columbia University Global Policy Initiative (CGPI) and the International Relations Research Center at the University of São Paulo (NUPRI) organized a two-day conference in April 2015 on Responsibility while Protecting: Implementation Mechanisms and the Future of the Responsibility to Protect.
The conference brought together key academic, UN, and governmental voices. Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN, and Dr. Jennifer Welsh, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, presented keynote speeches. Topics under consideration included the Brazilian concept of Responsibility while Protecting (RwP), what happened to RtoP after the 2011 Libya intervention, how RwP has changed RtoP, how we can improve effective implementation of RtoP, and finally what the future of RtoP and atrocity prevention holds. The conference’s three panels and two keynote speeches are detailed in the report as well as recommendations to improve understanding and implementation of atrocity prevention and response.
Recommendations presented in the report include:
• UN Group of Friends of RtoP should formally discuss RwP and the need for monitoring and accountability mechanisms for Pillar Three RtoP frameworks
• General Assembly should discuss the link between structural prevention and long-term peacebuilding within the RtoP framework
• Academic and NGO community should host lessons learned retrospectives on the crises in Libya and Syria with key members of the UN Secretariat and member states