Who are "The Elders"?
Last Updated: Jan 06, 2016     Views: 41

According to the website, "The Elders are an independent group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights." The Elders work to promote UN reform and to influence leaders on important global issues such as climate change and human rights. 

Founded in 2007, the Elders are individuals who have "earned international trust" and "a reputation for inclusive, progressive leadership", but no longer hold public office and are independent of any national government or other vested interest.

Several of the Elders held prominent positions in the UN, including: 

  • Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the UN 
  • Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Director-General of the WHO
  • Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Some major reports are known by the names of the individuals, such as:

  • Brundtland Report 
    • One of the first UN studies on the environment and climate change
    • Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development
    • A/42/427
  • Machel Report
    • One of the first UN studies on children and armed conflict
    • Impact of armed conflict on children, Report of Graça Machel, expert of the Secretary-General
    • A/51/306
  • Brahimi Report
    • An in-depth review of UN peace operations
    • Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations
    • A/55/305-S/2000/809

Selected examples of former appointments are listed below, this is not an exhaustive list or complete curriculum vitae for the Elders. For more information about the Elders, see their biographies on the website. 

  • Nelson Mandela, Founder of the Elders
    • no known UN appointments
    • Made statements to the General Assembly and Security Council (see links below)
  • Kofi AnnanChair of The Elders
    • UN Secretary General, 1997-2006
  • Martti Ahtisaari
    • UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Future Status Process for Kosovo
    • UN Commissioner for Namibia and Special Representative for Namibia
    • Statement to the General Assembly as President of Finland (A/50/PV.40)
    • Additional statements linked below
  • Ela Bhatt
    • no known UN appointments
  • Lakhdar Brahimi
    • Chair of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (see A/55/305-S/2000/809)
    • Special Envoy, Special Representative, or Special Adviser for several country situations, including Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq
  • Gro Harlem Brundtland, Deputy Chair of The Elders
    • Director-General of the World Health Organization, 1998-2003
    • Special Envoy for Climate Change
    • Chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development (see A/42/427)
  • Fernando H Cardoso
    • Chair of the High-level Review of UN-Civil Society Relations (see A/58/817)
    • Statements to the General Assembly as President of Brazil (see links below)
  • Jimmy Carter
    • no known UN appointments
    • Statement to the General Assembly as President of USA (A/32/PV.18)
  • Hina Jilani
    • Special Representative and Special Rapporteur (2001-2006) for Human Rights Defenders
  • Graça Machel
    • Expert to Study the Question of Children Affected by Armed Conflicts (see A/51/306)
  • Mary Robinson
    • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 1997-2002
    • UN Envoy on Climate Change
    • Statement to the General Assembly as President of Ireland (A/50/PV.36)
  • Desmond Tutu, Honorary Elder
    • no known UN appointments
    • Statement to the Security Council, 1984 (S/PV.2560)
  • Ernesto Zedillo
    • no known UN appointments
    • Statements to the General Assembly as President of Mexico (see links below)

Last Updated: Jan 06, 2016     Views: 41

Disclaimer

Disclaimer: answers are prepared by library staff using resources available at the time of writing. This site may include links and references to third-party databases, websites, books and articles, this does not imply endorsement by the United Nations.

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