Topic: United Nations

So I think yesterday I actually played a role in formulating a substantial policy.

Here’s what happened. As I’ve discussed, Security Council reform is a major issue right now for the UN generally and for South Korea in particular. The so-called Coffee Club, a loose affiliation of middle powers including Italy, Pakistan and South Korea, is pushing hard for Model B (expansion of the Security Council by adding new third-category elected seats) over Model A (new permanent members).

In a demarche over the past couple of months, Coffee Club ambassadors have been talking to foreign ministries in every world capital. Unfortunately, they’ve been bolstering their arguments either with an outdated position paper from before the publication of the Report of the Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change or with non-papers developed by individual countries. (A non-paper, as I understand it, is an airing of ideas that is not meant to be taken as a final statement.) Thus ambassadors from these middle powers are presenting similar but not identical arguments and proposals in different capitals.

Yesterday I was asked to prepare talking points for Ambassador Kim in his efforts to convince like-minded countries to develop a single, unified position paper. Mostly the talking points were dictated to me by one of the counsellors, and my role was primarily to put them into clean English. In one instance, however, in the section where we outlined what would actually go into the position paper, I changed the wording of a particular argument to make it much stronger. When the counsellor questioned me on the change, I gave him my views on this particular argument and on why I felt we needed to be forceful about it, and he came around to my point of view. “I’m convinced,” he told me. “I think we should send you as ambassador.”

This is a very small piece of something very big. On my recommendation, Ambassador Kim will work from talking points that suggest that the position paper should take a strong rather than a soft approach to this particular matter. This position paper, if it is written, will be presented to senior government officials worldwide and may influence the future shape of the Security Council.

My role is tiny, but it’s in there. I’m excited to say that for the first time, I touched policy.

Also published on Medium.