Annual meetings of special rapporteurs/representatives, independent experts and chairs of working groups of the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council have been organized since 1994. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights underlined the importance of preserving and strengthening the system of special procedures and specified that the procedures and mechanisms should be enabled to harmonize and rationalize their work through periodic meetings (Part II, para. 95). The Office of the High Commissioner was requested to organize periodic meetings among the special procedures by the Commission and Council (most recently by CHR resolution 2004/76, as extended by HRC decision 2/102).
The annual meeting is also an opportunity for mandate holders to meet and exchange views with States, the Bureau of the Council, civil society/non-governmental organizations (NGOs), national human rights institutions (NHRIs), and representatives from OHCHR and UN entities on issues such as follow-up to their country visits and recommendations. Participants also hold a joint meeting with Chairs of the human rights treaty bodies meeting in Geneva during the same period. Instead of upon invitation of the Government of Austria and as part of the the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the 20th Annual Meeting of the Special Procedures was held in Vienna from 24 - 28 June 2013.
- 21st annual meeting, from 29 September to 3 October 2014
- 20th annual meeting, from 24 to 28 June 2013
- 19th annual meeting, from 11 to 15 June 2012
- 18th annual meeting, from 27 June to 1 July 2011
- 17th annual meeting, from 28 June to 2 July 2010
- 16th annual meeting, from 29 June to 3 July 2009
- 15th annual meeting, from 23 to 27 June 2008
- 14th annual meeting, from 18 to 22 June 2007
- 13th annual meeting, from 19 to 23 June 2006
- 12th annual meeting, from 21- 25 of June 2005
- 11th annual meeting, from 21- 25 of June 2004
- 10th annual meeting, from 23 - 27 June 2003