António Guterres is the ninth United Nations Secretary-General, and took up office on 1 January. He is tasked with leading a UN that have to address a number of challenges. Conflicts are raging on in Iraq, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. President-elect Donald Trump has signaled a tough attitude and tightened purse-strings toward the United Nations. There is a high number of humanitarian crisis and an unprecedented large number of refugees and displaced persons. In addition, the UN has to lead on a range of global challenges such as climate change, violent extremism, and transnational organised crime, to name a few. On the other hand a new Secretary-General has the opportunity to introduce reforms that can improve the effectiveness of the UN system and re-install trust and confidence that the UN will continue to be relevant for 21st century challenges. 

To discuss these issues, we have the pleasure of hosting Sam Daws, Director of the Project on UN Governance and Reform at Oxford University, who has spent 30 years working for or with the United Nations. He recently served as Deputy Director (United Nations) in the UK Cabinet Office, providing strategy advice to the British Prime Minister and his Envoy on the UN Post-2015 development panel.  He previously served as Senior Principal Research Analyst in the Multilateral Policy Directorate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. From 2000 to 2003 Mr Daws served as First Officer in the Executive Office of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York.  He served for six years as Executive Director of the United Nations Association (UK) and then in 2010 became Senior Advisor and UK Representative to the UN Foundation.   

Mr Daws has authored or co-edited 13 books on the UN, including The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations and The Procedure of the UN Security Council (both published by Oxford University Press). He also directs the consultancy company 3D Strategy, which provides UN strategy advice and training to governments, foundations and research institutes.  He is currently designing multilateral negotiation training courses for the FCO’s new Diplomatic Academy.