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


United Nations Security Council Virtual Meeting
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. (Bande originated the March 27 joint briefing of UN leaders by videoconference from New York to inform UN member states about the UN’s current work.)

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.

Stéphanie Fillion is a New York-based reporter specializing in foreign affairs and human rights who has been writing for PassBlue regularly for a year, including co-producing UN-Scripted, a new podcast series on global affairs through a UN lens. She has a master’s degree in journalism, politics and global affairs from Columbia University and a B.A. in political science from McGill University. Fillion was awarded a European Union in Canada Young Journalists fellowship in 2015 and was an editorial fellow for La Stampa in 2017. She speaks French, English and Italian.

Kacie Candela is an assistant editor for PassBlue and a news anchor and reporter with WFUV, a public radio station in the Bronx, N.Y., where she covers the UN and other beats. Her work has won various awards from the New York State Associated Press Association, New York State Broadcasters Association, PRNDI, and the Alliance for Women in Media.

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