The Department of State is the U.S. Government’s executive branch agency with the primary responsibility for foreign affairs and diplomacy. The Office of the Legal Adviser consists of attorneys, paralegals, and support staff who serve as legal counsel for the Department’s various offices, embassies, and missions world wide.
This office serves as the lead office for representing the U.S. Government at the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) in Geneva. The UNCC was established by the UN Security Council in 1991 to process claims and pay compensation for losses resulting from Iraq’s invasion into Kuwait. Among the many claimants, four countries—Iran, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia – were awarded compensation for environmental damages. The UNCC has recently begun to fund these awards, creating in the process, a regional environmental working group RERAG to coordinate projects and share information about each country’s process with its environmental remediation efforts. This joint-effort is a unique opportunity to promote coordination in the region and achieve positive gains for the environment.
HNMCP helped to conduct a two part project with regard to the RERAG group. First, the students conducted a conflict assessment of RERAG’s interests as a group and of its individual participants. Then, they developed a systems design proposal for how the group, given its multi-faceted interests, should operate both on the procedural and substantive levels.
Step 1: Research on the dynamics of cooperative workgroups that are created out of a negotiation process.
Step 2: Research on the best system and process design for attaining the desired goals of this particular workgroup.
Step 3: Gather facts with the Department of State, the UNCC Secretariat, and representatives from the RERAG member countries, as necessary.
Step 4: Travel to Washington and potentially to Geneva to attend meetings, as necessary, to complete the project.
A final report outlining a conflict assessment of the RERAG and proposing a system and process design for the group. This report should include both overarching analysis and distinct, concrete recommendations that can ultimately be used by the UNCC and RERAG.