The UN’s Normative Role in an Agenda 2030 World

A conference organised together with the Graduate Institute of Geneva seeking to generate forward-looking ideas about the UN’s normative work.

Event details

Date:2 December 2016
Time:14:00- 17:40
Venue:Auditorium Ivan Pictet A, Maison de la paix, Graduate Institute, Geneva.


Seventy years after the United Nations (UN) was created, the norms and values codified in the UN Charter are back in the spotlight. They have been placed at the centre of Agenda 2030 development interventions, and necessitate innovative approaches and increase the demand for the UN’s normative support among Member States.

Yet, many questions remain unanswered: Is there a clear and shared understanding of what the UN’s normative role is, and should be? Are existing normative frameworks enough to deliver on the 2030 Agenda? How, and by whom, can this normative support be delivered? What is the specific role of Geneva with regards to the UN’s normative function?

This conference convened representatives from the UN system, Member States, academia, non-governmental organisations, and students to identify gaps and generate forward-looking ideas related to the UN’s normative work in light of the 2030 Agenda. The event outcomes provided input to further discussions on the UN’s evolving role and function, and on how the UN’s normative work can be strengthened.


  • Henrik Hammargren, Executive Director, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation
  •  Thomas Biersteker, Director of Policy Research, The Graduate Institute
  •  Bruce Jenks, Senior Advisor, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation
  •  Michael Møller, Director-General, UN Office in Geneva
  •  Lisa Orrenius, Head of New York Office, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation
  •  Nikhil Seth, Executive Director, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
  •  Stephen Browne, Co-Director, Future United Nations Development System
  •  Gilles Carbonnier, Professor, Development Economics, The Graduate Institute
  •  Virginia Cram-Martos, Director, Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
  •  Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy Director General, International Labour Organization (ILO)
  •  Marie Paule Kieny, Assistant Director General, World Health Organization (WHO)
  •  Carsten Staur, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Denmark to the UN in Geneva
  •  Susanna Hecht, Professor of International History, The Graduate Institute

Watch the full event here: