Multilateral Reform: Rethinking Humanitarianism Episode 6

January 04, 2021

While we don’t know what’s on the UN Secretary-General’s list of New Year's resolutions, one item might very well be to push ahead with the overhaul of the UN system that he launched when he took office in 2017. But change is hard. Given the complicated politics of how the UN is run, can his vision—or any reform agenda—realistically deliver? Does that agenda create openings for reform of the multilateral system? 

As we close out a year in which the UN marked its 75th anniversary, we’re taking a hard look at whether reform of multilateral agencies has a chance. Two guests with extensive backgrounds in diplomacy and international service join co-hosts Heba Aly and Jeremy Konyndyk on this sixth episode of Rethinking Humanitarianism, the podcast series exploring the future of aid.

Fabrizio Hochschild-Drummond of Chile, UN under-secretary-general and special adviser on the UN 75th anniversary, looks at areas of resistance as well as progress in the reform agenda, drawing on his long experience within the UN and in the field. Ambassador Hesham Youssef, a career diplomat with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and now a senior fellow at the US Institute of Peace, discusses power and the influence of southern blocs over the reform process and political agendas.

Join them in this episode to delve into how the governance and power structures of multilateral agencies can make reform difficult.

Transcript available

Rethinking Humanitarianism is a limited podcast series co-hosted by The New Humanitarian and the Center for Global Development.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.