UN secretary-general dialogues, decoded

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 19 April 2016

A wide view of the Trusteeship Council Chamber during a secretary-general candidate’s exchange with member states. Photo by: Rick Bajornas / United Nations

Anyone who’s just entered the international development industry has probably struggled with the jargon, from sectorwide acronyms to unique terms used by aid officials and development professionals at certain institutions.

Former U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres mentioned this during his own session at the U.N. informal dialogues last week, noting that he tries to avoid using acronyms whenever he speaks — as not everyone will be familiar, for example, with the term IDP, or an internally displaced person.

Even so, the three-day public interviews were peppered with development-speak, as well as articles and resolutions unfamiliar to even a seasoned aid worker.

Devex collected some of the potentially alien language used during the dialogues and broke the terms down for your future reference.

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About the author

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Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.


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