Did You Know? Dominicans Have Four UN Offices?

Over the last twenty some years, Dominicans have enlarged their presence at the UN. The Dominicans are at the UN in Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi and New York.

UN GENEVA was the first Dominican office at the UN of the friars was in Geneva, Switzerland.  It is where Human Rights issues are addressed. Philippe LeBlanc, OP, was the first Permanent Delegate to the UN, followed by Olivier Poquion, and Mike Deeb, who is completing his term in October.  The new Permanent Delegate to the UN will be Fr. Aniedi Okure, OP, a Nigerian, who has most recently completed his tenure as Executive Director of Africa, Faith and Justice Network in Washington, DC. He begins at the end of October.

Sr. Arlene Flaherty, OP, was one of the first Dominicans to testify at the Human Rights Council on behalf of the children of Iraq in Geneva.  The North American Dominican Justice Promoters in collaboration helped the plight of the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico in bringing their case to Geneva.

UN VIENNA is the seat of a number of UN Offices dealing with a diversity of crucial topics such as transnational organized crime, criminal justice, narcotic drugs, corruption and nuclear energy. The Delegation in Vienna primarily engages with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and more specifically with the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ). The focus areas identified by the Delegation, related to issues confronted by the Dominican Family on the ground, are Human Trafficking, Prison Reform, Forest Crime, and Education for Justice. (from Dominican Annual Report)

UN NAIROBI  is the UN Headquarters for its Environment and Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT) programs. The UN Environment Program (UNEP) is the principal global organization dealing with environmental issues. It plays an important role in supporting nations to deliver on their environmental commitments. It deals with all environmental issues such as climate change, ecosystems and biodiversity, chemicals and waste, air, water, oceans, seas and forests. Since 2018, Dominicans for Justice and Peace is an observer to the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) of UNEP, enabling Dominicans to have an active presence in the various sessions of the UNEA and its subsidiary bodies. (taken from Dominican Annual Report)

In Nairobi, an operational team of two Dominican volunteers was established in 2019 and an advocacy strategy for engagement with UNEP was developed. With the focus on the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), UNEP’s governing body which meets every two years, the Delegation began to follow regularly the quarterly sessions of its main intersessional organ, the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR), and, at times, the two-weekly meetings of its subcommittee. (taken from Dominicans Annual Report)

UN New York was established in 1998. Eileen Gannon, OP, was the First NGO Representative for the Dominican Leadership Conference followed by Margaret Mayce, OP. Throughout the years, the NGO Representatives have followed some of these working groups in New York:

Mining working group focused on water, DRC and Amazon, NGO Social Development Committee in the preparation for the Civil Society Forum in February each year. Margaret was instrumental in creating a new entity among the religious at the UN called JCoR Justice Coalition of Religious. Its focus is to place justice at the heart of global transformation. The primary aim is to strengthen the capacity of its members to address the root causes of unsustainable development in countries around the world.  JCoR coordinates national, regional, and global efforts of Religious to call on local and national leaders for a just, equitable, and rights-based implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN’s Agenda for 2015-2030. This is a significant contribution of the Dominican Leadership Conference NGO. Margaret was a lead member of JCoR.  In addition, the UN Representative follows the Working Group to End Homelessness and the Commission on the Status of Women in addition to developing as well as Nuclear Disarmament issues.

UN Staff in Geneva

  • Ms. Laurence BLATTMER Program Coordinator 
  • Luc Thomas Somme, OP. Academic Engagement
  • Benedict Rimando 

UN Staff in Vienna

  • Mr. Tobias KRACHLER  Senior Advocacy Officer 
  • Ms. Margot KAINZ OP Advocacy Officer 
  • Ms. Elisabeth VONDROUS OP Advocacy Officer 

UNEP Nairobi

  • Br. Emmanuel Mulu
  • Mr. Jean-Claude LOBA MKOLE OP  Advocacy Officer 
  • Br. Steve Sese OKOTH Advocacy Officer 

UN New York

  • Durstyne Farnan, OP (Dusty), NGO Representative for Dominican Leadership Conference, U.S.A.

For additional information on Dominicans at the UN click here.