Sam Daws

Director, Project on UN Governance and Reform,
University of Oxford



In this episode of the ACUNS Current Issues Podcast series, host Gwenith Cross speaks with Sam Daws, Director of the Project on United Nations Governance and Reform at the University of Oxford.  Mr Daws discusses the UN’s future role and how it must adapt to remain credible in a rapidly changing world.  He praises the UN’s track record in keeping the peace but argues that sustaining peace and preventing future conflict will require a greater integration of the UN’s development, humanitarian and peace and security pillars.  He outlines how the involvement of women makes a vital contribution to the peaceful settlement of disputes, and advocates that they should hold more leadership positions.   He describes the transformative shifts underpinning the new Sustainable Development Goals: a human rights based approach, putting climate change and social equity at the core, economic transformation for jobs, peaceful societies and accountable institutions, and a new global partnership based on solidarity and mutual accountability between North and South.  He explains that traditional aid is being supplanted by foreign investment, remittances and local taxation, and that harnessing innovation and new scientific discoveries will transform the trajectory of international development  The next Secretary General must lead a radical transformation of how the UN works, but there are many exceptional women and men able to rise to this challenge.


Loraine Sievers and Sam Daws, The Procedure of the UN Security Council, Fourth edition

Sam Daws and Natalie Samarasinghe, The United Nations, 8 volume set of articles on the UN

About Sam Daws

Sam Daws is Director of the Project on UN Governance and Reform at the Centre for International Studies of Oxford University, and has held a variety of UN-related roles over the last 25 years. He recently served as Deputy Director (UN, Prime Minister’s Post-2015 Development Agenda team) in the UK Cabinet Office, and previously as Senior Principal Research Analyst in the Multilateral Policy Directorate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. From 2000 to 2003 Mr Daws served as First Officer in the Executive Office of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He became Executive Director of the United Nations Association (UK) in 2004, and then Senior Advisor and UK Representative to the UN Foundation.

Mr Daws has degrees in Social Anthropology and International Conflict Analysis and undertook doctoral studies in International Relations at Oxford. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge in international law and at Yale in UN studies, and is an alumnus of the Sir John Cass Business School, City University and London Business School, where he took courses in foundation asset management, grant-making, social investment and philanthropy. He has served on the boards of a number of non-profit organisations including ACUNS. He also directs a consultancy company, 3D Strategy.