|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6108th Meeting (AM & PM)
SECURITY COUNCIL, IN PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT, EXPRESSES WILLINGNESS TO EXPLORE
WAYS TO FURTHER PROMOTE USE OF MEDIATION IN PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES
Hears from More than 40 Speakers in Day-Long Debate;
Political Affairs Head Presents Report on Enhancing Effectiveness of UN Mediation
The Security Council, the principle United Nations body charged with the maintenance of international peace and security, cited today the importance of mediation and expressed its readiness to explore further ways and means to reinforce the promotion of mediation as an important tool for the peaceful settlement of disputes “wherever possible before they evolve into violence”.
“The Security Council […] underscores its intention to remain engaged in all stages of the conflict cycle, including in support of mediation,” said Claude Heller of Mexico, President of the 15-nation body, reading out a statement that capped a day-long open debate on mediation and dispute settlement.
Recognizing the importance of mediation, to be launched at the earliest possible phases of conflicts, as well as in the implementation phases of signed peace agreements, the Council underlined the need to design mediation processes that addressed the root causes of conflicts and contributed to peacebuilding, to ensure sustainable peace.
While stressing that the principal responsibility for the peaceful settlement of disputes rested with parties to a conflict, the Council emphasized the importance of the actions undertaken by the Secretary-General, in promoting mediation. It also welcomed continued efforts by the Department of Political Affairs, in particular through the Mediation Support Unit, to respond to emerging and existing crises. It further underscored that mediation support efforts should be responsive to the demands of fast-moving peace processes.
Noting with concern the very low numbers of women in formal roles in mediation processes, the Council stressed the need to ensure that women were appropriately appointed at decision-making levels, as high-level mediators, and within the composition of the mediators’ teams in line with resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008).
Council Members also took note of United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki-Moon’s first report on enhancing mediation and its support activities, which emphasized the need for early United Nations engagement to strengthen conflict prevention and resolution; increasing support for mediators; developing the next generation of the world body’s mediators; and integrating mediation support into United Nations field missions.
Ahead of the debate, the Council was briefed by B. Lynne Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, who stressed that bolstering the Organization’s ability to defuse tensions and prevent conflict required flexible funding, regional partnerships and accessible information for mediation.
“A United Nations more effective in the practice of mediation will be more adept both at heading off conflicts before they become full blown crises and at bringing such crises to a peaceful and lasting end before it is necessary to resort to peacekeeping,” he said. Indeed, effective mediation could help the world body arrive at sound agreements that could be successfully implemented, and then assist in the facilitation and dialogue needed throughout the later phases of the effort.
Mediation must continue as a central part of the process of peacekeeping and peacebuilding, Mr. Pascoe said, noting, for example, that the head of the United Nations peacebuilding mission in Sierra Leone had been busy in recent weeks encouraging dialogue to defuse the most recent tensions there. He also noted the “promising” efforts of the head of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to bring peace to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Mr. Pascoe said the Department of Political Affairs was aware that many areas required improvement and he highlighted recent efforts to put in place the expertise, financial resources, partnerships and knowledge-base needed to address that issue. He also underlined the strengthening of regional divisions and the creation of a Mediation Support Unit, which had been complemented by a standby team of mediation experts, ready to deploy to negotiations around the world.
“These are part of a conscious effort to reshape the [Department] into a more action- and field-oriented operation that can move more quickly and at an earlier stage to help prevent conflicts from spreading and to deliver faster and more reliable support to peace processes,” he said.
During a discussion that featured more than 40 speakers, most delegations cited the relatively more cost-effective nature of mediation, as opposed to peacekeeping, and the likely dividends as a tool of peacemaking and peacebuilding. Many cited the important contributions being made by regional organizations like the African Union to that end, including in Somalia, the Sudan and elsewhere on the African continent.
While some speakers noted that the Council’s expressed political support for mediation processes had led to greater support for that approach within the wider international community, others cautioned that the Council itself should become more engaged in mediation and negotiation efforts to settle disputes and end what they saw as a dependency on the threat or actual use of force under Chapter VII of the Charter.
Algeria’s representative said that, faced with an unprecedented increase in the number and scale of peacekeeping operations, the United Nations needed to transform its culture of response into a culture of prevention. It should aim to support and strengthen the African Union’s work, in that regard. In light of Algeria’s own mediation experience in conflicts as disparate as territorial disagreements between Iran and Iraq, and the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, it had concluded that the unequivocal political will by parties to a dispute was needed.
For his part, Japan’s representative said that, in its pursuit of successful mediation, the United Nations should also ask three questions: how can social and economic stability and peacebuilding be incorporated in mediation and conflict resolution efforts from the outset? how can mediation activity continue throughout the implementation of a peace agreement and peace consolidation process? and what is an effective and realistic role for the United Nations in supporting mediation efforts involving non-State actors?
Highlighting factors he believed were crucial for successful mediation, the representative of South Africa said ownership of the mediation process by the conflict’s various parties and the role of support mechanisms were critical. Mediation should not be considered as a “quick fix”, nor as a one-size-fits-all endeavour. It should seek to gain trust and keep the parties focused on resolving the dispute by addressing root causes. Mediation should also be seen as strategic intervention; as such, it should not be an ad hoc effort, but should be properly planned.
Also speaking were representatives of the Russian Federation, Viet Nam, Costa Rica, Libya, Austria, China, United Kingdom, United States, Uganda, Croatia, Burkina Faso, France, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Morocco, Finland, Uruguay, Republic of Korea, Czech Republic (on behalf of the European Union), Liechtenstein, Nigeria, Cuba (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Norway, Qatar, Senegal, Kenya, Pakistan, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, United Republic of Tanzania, Benin and the Sudan.
The meeting began at 10:12 a.m. and suspended at 1:05 p.m. It resumed at 3:11 p.m. and adjourned at 5:40 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2009/8 reads as follows:
“The Security Council recalls the statement of its President (S/PRST/2008/36) of 23 September 2008 and takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on Enhancing Mediation and Its Support Activities (S/2009/189), as well as the recommendations contained therein.
“The Security Council, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and as the organ with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, underscores its intention to remain engaged in all stages of the conflict cycle, including in support of mediation, and expresses its readiness to explore further ways and means to reinforce the promotion of mediation as an important means for the pacific settlement of disputes, wherever possible before they evolve into violence.
“The Security Council recognizes the importance of mediation, to be launched at the earliest possible phases of conflicts, as well as in the implementation phases of signed peace agreements and underlines the need to design mediation processes that address the root causes of conflicts and contribute to peacebuilding, in order to ensure sustainable peace.
“The Security Council stresses that the principal responsibility for the peaceful settlement of disputes rests with the parties to the conflict and that it is only through their full participation and genuine commitment to resolve the conflict including its underlying causes, that peace can be achieved and sustained. In this regard, the Council underlines the importance of building national and local capacity for mediation.
“The Security Council emphasizes the importance of the actions undertaken by the United Nations Secretary-General, in promoting mediation and in the pacific settlement of disputes, and welcomes the continued efforts by the Department of Political Affairs, in particular through the Mediation Support Unit to respond to emerging and existing crises. It underscores that mediation support efforts should be responsive to the demands of fast-moving peace processes.
“The Security Council recalls the important contribution of Member States, regional and subregional organizations, civil society and other stakeholders to the pacific settlement of disputes. The Council welcomes the efforts made by regional and subregional organizations to enhance their mediation role, and appreciates the efforts of the Secretary-General to continue to assist them in this regard.
“The Security Council urges the Secretariat to work with all partners to ensure the availability of well-trained, experienced and geographically diverse mediation experts at all levels to ensure the timely and the highest quality support to mediation efforts and it urges those possessing cadres of mediation experts to cooperate with the Secretariat in this endeavour.
“The Security Council further requests the Secretary-General to work in partnership with Member States, regional and subregional organizations and other relevant partners in a coordinated and mutually complementary manner when cooperating in a mediation process.
“The Security Council notes with concern the very low numbers of women in formal roles in mediation processes, and stresses the need to ensure that women are appropriately appointed at decision-making levels, as high-level mediators, and within the composition of the mediators’ teams in line with resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008). It reiterates its call to the Secretary-General and the heads of regional and subregional organizations to take the appropriate measures to that end.
“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to keep it informed of the action undertaken by him in promoting and supporting mediation and pacific settlement of disputes, ensuring coherence with the ongoing efforts to strengthen peacebuilding and peacekeeping.”
The Security Council met this morning to hold an open debate on mediation and the settlement of disputes. Members had before them the Secretary-General’s recent report on enhancing mediation and its support activities (document S/2009/189), which examines challenges faced by the United Nations and its partners in providing professional mediation assistance to parties in conflict.
The report describes the need for experienced and knowledgeable mediators and support teams, with women adequately represented, and sufficient resources to provide assistance at an early stage to help parties design and pursue processes that will address the root causes of their conflicts, overcome obstacles that block progress, and achieve agreements that lead to sustainable peace.
With the peaceful settlement of disputes a key element of the Organization’s mission, its mediation capacity ‑‑ which is thwarted by the limited number of experienced mediators and the lack of sufficient financial resources ‑‑ must be bolstered, the report says. It adds: too often in the past, mediators have been dispatched without the full benefit of specialized training and background information, giving United Nations efforts an ad hoc quality too dependent on trial and error.
Many in the already small group of experienced mediators have retired or left the world body, and the few training schemes aimed at enhancing the skills of United Nations staff are dependent on voluntary funding, while there are no such programmes for senior mediators, the report continues, noting that in its recent decisions, the General Assembly has called for the creation of a Mediation Support Unit.
Among the Secretary-General’s conclusions and recommendations, the report emphasizes the need for early United Nations engagement to strengthen conflict prevention and resolution; increasing support for mediators; developing the next generation of the world body’s mediators; and integrating mediation support into United Nations field operations. The report also notes the importance of building local, national and regional capacity for mediation and the need for coherent partnership between the United Nations, regional and subregional organizations, States and non-governmental organizations.
Briefing by Under-Secretary-General
B. LYNN PASCOE, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said that when the Council had met on dispute settlement and mediation last September, its members had identified many of the key issues and challenges facing the international community in that area. In its subsequent presidential statement (document S/PRST/2008/36), the Council had invited the Secretary-General to provide a report on “mediation and its support activities, which takes into account experiences of the United Nations and other key actors, and makes recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of United Nations mediation”.
The resultant report, before the Council this morning, had benefited from a broad consultation process, he continued, adding that, in addition to internal consultations, it drew on the experiences and views of Security Council members, individual Member States acting as mediators, regional and subregional organizations, and non-governmental organizations. The report also provided an opportunity to take stock of efforts under way in the Secretariat, led by the Department of Political Affairs, to bolster and professionalize the United Nations mediation capabilities. He added that the release of the report coincided with critically important efforts by Member States and the Secretariat to examine the present and future of United Nations peacekeeping.
“These efforts, of course, are closely related,” he said. “A United Nations more effective in the practice of mediation will be more adept both at heading off conflicts before they become full blown crises and at bringing such crises to a peaceful and lasting end before it is necessary to resort to peacekeeping.” Indeed, effective mediation could help the world body arrive at sound agreements that could be successfully implemented, and then assist in the facilitation and dialogue needed throughout the later phases of the effort.
Mediation must continue as a central part of the process of peacekeeping and peacebuilding, he said, noting, for example, that the head of the United Nations peacebuilding mission in Sierra Leone had been busy in recent weeks encouraging dialogue to defuse the most recent tensions there. He also noted the “promising” efforts of the head of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and former Nigerian President Obasanjo to bring peace to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Turning to some of the key initiatives and recent efforts in the mediation field, he said such initiatives had been a part of a conscious effort to reshape the Department of Political Affairs into a more action- and field-oriented operation that could move more quickly, and at an earlier stage, to help conflicts from spreading and deliver faster and more reliable support to peace processes. As directed by the Secretary-General, the Department was working to put in place the expertise, financial resources, partnerships and knowledge base to achieve those objectives, he said, expressing deep appreciation to the support received from the Council and other Member States for those efforts.
He said political support and financial resources provided by Member States through both regular budgetary and voluntary contributions had enabled the Department of Political Affairs to strengthen its regional divisions and to establish a Mediation Support Unit. That Unit had been further complemented with a Standby Team of Mediation Experts able to deploy to negotiations around the world on short notice, and to provide advice and assistance to mediators on themes such as peace process design, security arrangements, power-sharing, wealth-sharing, natural resource management and constitution-making. In the past year, the Department had provided mediation support to over 20 peace processes, with the Mediation Support Unit exerting a “multiplier effect” on those efforts.
“We have striven to take a flexible and innovative approach to peacemaking,” he continued, adding that his Department had also made its technical advisory services available to United Nations envoys, Member States, regional actors and many others who might lead a specific mediation effort. Providing some examples, he noted that, in Somalia, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General had spearheaded a mediation effort, which many observers saw as the most promising effort in years to bring about political reconciliation in that country. Here, he reminded the Council of the upcoming donors’ conference to be held in Brussels on resolution 1863 (2009), to raise funds for Somali security forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). He called on the Members to urge their Governments to attend that meeting “at a high level”.
Continuing, he said the political mission on the ground in the Central African Republic had played a key role in carrying out an all-inclusive national political dialogue. The Department of Political Affairs’ training to the preparatory committee had contributed to the success of that dialogue. In Cyprus, the Department had deployed facilitators to the technical working groups during the preparatory phase of the talks, and continued to work closely with Alexander Downer, including technical support in power-sharing and property issues. He went on to say that the Department had also supported Department of Peacekeeping Operations-led missions in Darfur, Kosovo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as the heads of those operations worked either to reach peace agreements, or to implement peace accords. Those services had also been at the disposal of regional organizations leading political processes in places such as Kenya and the Comoros.
He said it was important to note that the Organization’s ability to move quickly to mediate disputes had improved thanks to the establishment of a small mediation start-up budget funded by donors. At the same time, the Department of Political Affairs’ modest travel budget could not sustain the emergency dispatch of crisis prevention teams. It had, however, been able to deploy and sustain a small team in Madagascar to mediate the current crisis there, and send envoys such as Assistant Secretary-General Haile Menkerios to support regional efforts in Zimbabwe. Advance planning and ready resources were key to effective early mediation when trouble developed, he said, adding that the kinds of activities he had described were now routinely expected by the Organization’s envoys and special representatives.
“Our challenges in the mediation of conflicts are shared by the entire international community and it is the responsibility of all of us to act in concert to solve them,” he continued, emphasizing the essential nature of broad partnerships ‑‑ with Member States, regional organizations and non-governmental organizations. He said that regional organizations were often best placed to take the lead in mediation efforts, and some even had a wealth of mediation experience in their own right. Where requested, the United Nations had assisted regional mediation efforts and had helped strengthen the relevant capacity of regional actors.
At the same time, in Africa, for instance, the United Nations had benefited from cooperation with the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), among many examples. In Europe, the United Nations had made significant strides in enhancing its mediation partnership with the European Union and European Commission. He welcomed recent discussions in the European Union regarding developing its own mediation capacity. More broadly, he said the United Nations looked forward to sharing expertise and lessons learned, developing joint training opportunities and working together on establishing a geographically diverse roster of mediation experts.
Continuing, he said that the Department of Political Affairs was aware that many areas required improvement; for envoys to succeed at such a complex task, they needed more than just their individual talents and experience. The Department was making a systematic effort to support them in the planning and management of peace processes. Working with partners inside and outside the United Nations system, it was putting a system in place that would include five levels of support for envoys: mediation planning; development of a small pool of operational level on-call mediators to manage day-to-day functions; standby mediation experts; development of a small, reliable roster of internal and external experts; and establishing a small, geographically diverse team of senior envoys to provide mediation advice.
He said that that specialized response capacity would be combined with a rigorous curriculum for regional specialists and that all political affairs officers would have basic training on aspects of mediation. He also stressed that the Department would share the Organization’s experience in this field with all who needed it, and would also promote an understanding among Member States that mediation “is a service offered by the Secretary-General in all stages of a conflict”. Turning to knowledge management, he said the Department had led the development of “UN Peacemaker”, a web-based repository of information on mediation.
That online tool contained over 800 documents, including more than 300 peace agreements and 15 operational guidance notes. He added that it had been developed on a limited budget and would now need to be more properly maintained and upgraded. He said the Organization needed to be constantly learning new lessons and applying them. For that reason it had put in place a debriefing programme for senior envoys, and was also working on a Peace Agreement project, which looked at all factors that contributed to the sustainability of peace.
Concluding, he said the Political Affairs Department had “heard the Council’s call” and the Secretary-General’s instructions to develop a more rigorous and effective approach to mediation, which was one of the Organization’s Charter-mandated activities. Mediation must be carried out with the highest degree of professionalism, transparency and preparation to promote peace and security.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said mediation was a political and cost-effective tool for responding to conflicts. The recommendations included in the Secretary-General’s report on enhancing mediation raised a number of questions, among them the recommendation for a standing mediation team. Specifically, the possible sources of financing from the regular budget needed further study. The report legitimately noted that the United Nations did not possess a monopoly on mediation. Indeed, the use of regional organizations was authorized under the United Nations Charter before those conflicts were referred to the Security Council, and the Organization should use the deep expertise garnered by such regional groups. While cooperation with such groups as the African Union and Economic Community of West African States was well established, further cooperation with other groups, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), was also needed.
He said mediation should be approached in a balanced way, without any tilt towards one party or another. Unilateral decisions should not be imposed. Nor should mediators present any grounds for suspicion of bias. In that regard, it was enough to recall the settlement of the conflict around Kosovo. Only mediation that was based on aligning the parties’ position, rather than on using force stood any chance of success. It was on the basis of those principles that the Russian Federation was actively backing United Nations mediation efforts.
LE LUONG MINH ( Viet Nam) said the importance the United Nations attached to the peaceful settlement of disputes and conflicts was enshrined in the Charter. The increase in the number of conflicts and their negative impact on international peace, security and development made conflict prevention and resolution through mediation more urgent than ever. By late 2008, the Organization’s Mediation Support Unit had supported 18 peace processes and had become a very important tool in supporting the good offices by the United Nations, as well as by regional organizations.
He said that, for mediation efforts to be effective, there must be in-depth knowledge of the parties concerned and their demands ‑‑ be they legitimate or controversial. Coordination between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations should be ensured. Mediation efforts should focus on addressing the root causes of the conflicts, with due attention to the need to help countries overcome conditions of absolute poverty and the lack of socio-economic development. That would help avoid escalation, which might lead to unnecessary application of measures of last resort, such as those invoked under Chapter VII.
Mediation must be in conformity with the fundamental principles of objectivity, fairness, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of States and equality in international relations, he said. The Council had a vital role to play in promoting the peaceful settlement of disputes and conflicts, in particular by means of mediation. While strongly supporting consolidation of coordination between the Council and the Secretary-General and between the Secretariat and United Nations missions, he said the Council should avoid unjustified and counter-productive involvement in the work that fell under the purview of other United Nations organs, as defined in the Charter.
CHRISTIAN GUILLERMET ( Costa Rica) said the open discussion on mediation would bear fruit and bolster the work of the United Nations in that area. His country had always supported peaceful dispute settlement and had defended and supported mediation and a preventive way of diffusing tension and avoiding conflict. Costa Rica supported the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s report and considered them “the path to follow” as the Organization sought to bolster its mediation efforts. At the same time, Costa Rica would stress that such mediation efforts must not provide amnesty for serious crimes, such as genocide or other war crimes. Mediation must not be seen as an obstacle to justice; it must complement efforts to ensure sustainable peace, promote post-conflict democracy and adherence to the rule of law.
Strengthening mediation efforts was a solid investment in the future of the Organization and, to that end, the Department of Political Affairs had made significant strides, including with the creation of the Mediation Support Unit. At the same time, the Organization must move away from the notion that mediation was important only because it was cost-effective. While that was true, Member States must come to understand that mediation and dispute settlement was, above all, an effort to ensure timely intervention, where lives were saved and human rights were preserved. Bolstering mediation also required generating the political will to improve the Organization’s capabilities in that regard, he concluded.
ABDELRAZAG E. GOUIDER ( Libya) expressed hope that today’s discussion would allow for a new vision of the Council’s role in conflict prevention and mediation. Indeed, it was incumbent on the United Nations to enhance mediation as a practical tool in maintaining international peace and security. The Council should focus on developing positive ideas towards mediation, while resisting any action that would risk a conflict’s conflagration. Mediation was the most cost-effective tool for settling conflicts in Africa. By its nature, mediation permitted a careful analysis of conflict, which could contribute to efforts seeking to settle conflicts peacefully. The enhancement of mediation should not be limited to concerns about the mediator’s neutrality or experience, but should incorporate considerations of the history and culture of Africa. To that end, the African Union was the natural body for efforts to enhance mediation. To date, the Council’s efforts in that regard had not been fully carried out.
He stressed that Libya’s experience in African mediation efforts showed the continuous need for a new vision for mediation that: supported the Council’s taking an active role; stressed the invocation of Chapters VI and VIII before Chapter VII; and prized peaceful conflict settlement before armed warfare broke out. Libya, therefore, supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations in their entirety. He hoped that the current deliberations would extend beyond simple expressions of support, and result in detailed, practical support.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING (Austria), associating his delegation with the statement of the European Union, said the complexity of the issues at stake and the involvement of a wide range of actors underscored the need to make use of the entire conflict prevention toolbox available to the United Nations and the wider community. Mediation should be one of the first instruments used, because it had proven to be an effective tool at all stages of the conflict cycle. With United Nations peacekeeping facing an increasing shortage of human and financial resources, the added value of conflict prevention and resolution through mediation became ever more apparent. Compared to large-scale conflict intervention and post-conflict reconstruction, mediation had a comparative advantage in terms of cost-effectiveness, and should go hand in hand with other crisis prevention and management activities. Mediation, facilitation and dialogue expertise should be made available to United Nations field presences.
Mediators should make sure that the principles of the rule of law and the needs of transitional justice were respected, even as they sought compromise solutions that balanced the interests of former adversaries, he said. More women should be appointed mediators and all mediators should have adequate expertise in dealing with gender issues as part of their mandate. They should also be supported by the right team and, in that regard, the Mediation Support Unit and the newly established Standby Team had played important roles over the last year in preparing and supporting growing numbers of mediation processes. Still, further consolidation of their capacities was needed.
He said that, while regional organizations such as the African Union, Economic Community of West African States and Southern African Development Community often played a positive role in mediating conflicts, due to their acquaintance with local and regional dynamics, their proximity and long-standing involvement could, in some cases, work to the detriment of potential mediators. That was especially true when mediators were not seen as impartial. Urging the United Nations to strive to strengthen operational partnerships with regional and subregional arrangements, he also noted that small and medium-sized States without vested interest in particular conflicts could also play a positive role. So, too, could non-governmental organizations, such as Sant-Egidio.
LA YIFAN ( China) said that experience had shown that, if reasonable and legitimate action through mediation at the early stage of a crisis had not been taken, more time and energy had to be spent in order to cope with the consequences of the crisis. Peaceful settlement of disputes was, therefore, an investment in the future of mankind and would certainly reap an abundant “peace dividend”. The United Nations Charter had provided theoretical guidance and basis of action for mediation and dispute settlement. He appreciated the positive role the United Nations had played in settling “hotspot” issues, and expected that the Organization would further enhance its mediation capacity.
He said strengthening the United Nations’ capacity in mediation and dispute settlement required full respect for the will of the parties concerned. Neutrality and impartiality constituted the basis for mediation and the designation of a suitable mediator was the key to success. Mediation was a protracted process, with inevitable setbacks and fluctuations. The international community should speak with one voice to support the United Nations efforts and maintain input after a peace agreement was reached, so that the results of mediation could be consolidated.
Strengthening the United Nations’ mediation capacity also meant addressing the question of impunity, he said. Peace could be secure only when it was based on fairness and justice. The State concerned should play the leading role, in that regard. In carrying out mediation efforts, the United Nations should rely on the strength of its moral force and neutral position and work in all dimensions and at multiple levels. Strengthening the United Nations’ mediation capacity was a strategic undertaking that should be provided with adequate resources.
JOHN SAWERS ( United Kingdom) said the report and today’s debate provided the opportunity to put a spotlight on what the United Nations and the international community could do to improve mediation efforts. The global record on mediation had been mixed, even though there had been some clear successes in Togo, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the same time, the report stressed that there was much more that the United Nations could be doing and, to that, the United Kingdom concurred. The United Kingdom welcomed increased funding to the mediation and early prevention efforts of the Department of Political Affairs, including the launch of the Mediation Support Unit.
He said that the international community needed to work harder to ensure the improved participation of women, and civil society in general, in mediation and peacebuilding efforts. That was particularly true of situations characterized by widespread sexual violence. There was also a need to ensure closer links between all those charged with mediation efforts and those leading peacebuilding initiatives. Indeed, all actors must “ask the right questions”, to ensure that mediation and peacebuilding efforts were coordinated and mutually supportive.
ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States) said the peaceful settlement of disputes was one of the most powerful elements of the United Nations Charter. The Organization’s good offices missions and mediation efforts had played an important role in dispute settlement throughout the years. The United States was supportive of a broadly active diplomacy and President Barack Obama had spoken of “a new era of engagement”. The United States Government was sincere about pursuing broad discussions with those with whom it had had past differences. She said her Government supported recent improvements to the Department of Political Affairs, including the establishment of a Mediation Support Unit and Standby Team.
She reminded the meeting that the need for mediation did not end the day the Council approved a mission. Rather, Member States should actively work to ensure such efforts were built into mission mandates. Like others, the United States believed that women must have a larger decision-making role in conflict resolution. Efforts that ignored women’s voices were likely to overlook key actions and initiatives that could ensure peace.
The United Nations must also support the mediation efforts undertaken by regional or other institutions. Indeed, regional bodies were more familiar with situations on the ground and were often able to deploy their resources more quickly. Finally, she said that, while effective diplomacy and mediation were critical, all parties to a conflict must participate in efforts to reduce tension and settle disputes. The Council had the tools at its disposal to deal with “spoilers” and must use those effectively and efficiently to support peace processes.
PATRICK S. MUGOYA (Uganda), commending the United Nations for the role it had played in mediating intra- and inter-State conflicts around the world, said the Organization had provided effective mediation to numerous parties in various conflicts. Clearly, mediation could, and should, be used at different phases of a conflict and provided a number of different opportunities for resolving disputes. But, its effectiveness required an understanding of how mediation worked and how it could best be utilized. Regrettably, mediation had not, despite its proven value, received adequate support. As the Secretary-General’s report clearly stated, robust efforts had been made towards conflict management and post-conflict rebuilding, rather than mediation, which should obviously be more adequately resourced. Indeed, doing so could lead to more rapid consolidation of peace in many conflicts.
Noting that the United Nations did not have a monopoly on mediation, he underlined the important role regional and subregional organizations had played in mediation efforts. A regional approach, in which challenges were dealt with in a more coordinated way, had proved useful in many cases, particularly in the Great Lakes region. To be successful, mediation efforts should be guided by seasoned players who had a thorough understanding of relevant culture and history. The establishment of the Mediation Support Unit was particularly welcome, since it could, among other things, enhance the partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations. If properly utilized, mediation could achieve not only a settlement of conflicts, but a full transformation of international relations between States.
RANKO VILOVIĆ ( Croatia), aligning his remarks with those of the European Union, said mediation deserved the attention of the Council, which should approach the topic in a comprehensive manner. Mediation had rightly been recognized as an effective tool in the peaceful settlement of disputes. It was even more significant at a time when United Nations peacekeeping faced growing resource constraints. The United Nations Charter offered an array of tools in maintaining peace and security, including negotiation, inquiry, arbitration and judicial settlement, among others. In that regard, a flexible and tailor-made approach was usually preferable and mediation’s power clearly did not diminish the power of other tools.
Each of those tools should be incorporated into the United Nations system, he said, stressing that the Mediation Support Unit in the Department of Political Affairs should serve as the foundation for building up and professionalizing United Nations mediation support capacities. The Council’s leadership in mediation activities should also be enhanced, since it had a unique position derived from its moral authority. But, its mediation efforts should be prudently used. Moreover, the Council was well placed to address implementation failures and to address problems arising from “spoilers”. Coordination and complementarity within the United Nations system, and in partnerships with regional organizations, should also be taken into account. Discretion and flexibility were also needed, as was the right balance between public and private diplomacy.
PAUL ROBERT TIENDRÉBÉOGO ( Burkina Faso) said that, in taking the initiative to convene a high-level Council meeting on mediation last September, his delegation had been furthering its support of, and attachment to, the issue of peaceful dispute settlement, as outlined in the Charter. It had also convened the meeting as a way to further engage the wider international community on the matter. The international community was familiar with the Department of Political Affairs’ mediation efforts and the Secretary-General’s good offices missions, which had grown in number, as peacekeeping and peacebuilding were becoming more complex. What better way to guarantee peace and security than to prevent conflict, ease tensions or douse altogether the flames that might ignite conflict, he said.
Enhancing mediation efforts also meant devoting real attention to a broader range of issues, including strengthening social cohesion and curbing the spread of small arms, among others. He urged the Security Council to explore all measures in the field, including the imposition of sanctions, where and when necessary. Useful steps must also be taken to support the efforts of regional groups and organizations. For its part, the African Union had always striven to be present at the very earliest moment of crises, to ensure they did not spread or become full-blown conflicts. The Economic Community of West African States had set up a group of elders to support its mediation efforts, he added.
He went on to say that Burkina Faso believed in dialogue and placed mediation at the heart of its diplomacy. It had also worked with brotherly States to pursue the path of peaceful resolution, based on national and regional leadership and international support. He stressed the need for cohesive actions in the area of dispute settlement, including information-sharing and decentralized coordination centres. Finally, he said Burkina Faso shared the concern about the dearth of women mediators and reiterated the Secretary-General’s appeal to take urgent steps to remedy that state of affairs.
JEAN-PIERRE LACROIX ( France) said mediation was an extremely important tool in the hands of the international community that was all too often forgotten in dispute settlement efforts. The United Nations had always been at the forefront of such efforts, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere. The idea of mediation made perfect sense in dealing with conflicts between States, but might require bolstering and increased resources when dealing with terrorism or non-State actors. All States must support the Organization’s efforts to act quickly and ahead of violence and, to that end, France supported the establishment of the Mediation Support Unit.
He said that targeted and resolute action, including sanctions, was required against those that sought to derail the edicts of the Security Council or mediation efforts. Dispute settlement initiatives must be outlined early in the process and must be inclusive in nature. Here, France supported the role of regional organizations, such as the African Union, European Union, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Such organizations had shown the ability to work closely with the Security Council in the past to ensure broadly responsive peace efforts.
YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) said that, in accordance with Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter, the parties to any dispute and the Security Council were obliged to seek a solution through peaceful means, such as negotiation and mediation. Mediation should, thus, play a more important role in promoting peace in a cost-effective manner. It should also be given a higher priority and focus in the United Nations. Historically, some cases of United Nations mediation, such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Namibia, Cambodia and Mozambique, had been more successful than others. Those experiences showed that mediation was more effective when it was matched with joint efforts by various stakeholders and when it was adapted to prevailing circumstances. It was also important to ensure greater coordination and coherence of mediation efforts by various actors. To that end, the United Nations should strengthen partnerships with lead countries, groups of stakeholders such as International Contact Groups, regional and subregional organizations and non-governmental actors.
United Nations mediation activity had a comparative advantage in terms of legitimacy, impartiality and convening power, he said. Based on its rich experience and diverse tool box, it should provide appropriate professional, administrative, technical and logistical support to mediators; develop the next generation of mediators at all levels within and outside the United Nations; and provide comprehensive and integrated conflict resolution support by fully leveraging its field missions, funds and agencies. In its pursuit of successful mediation, the United Nations should also ask three questions. First, how can social and economic stability and peacebuilding be incorporated in mediation and confliction resolution efforts from the outset? Second, how can active mediation activity continue throughout the implementation of a peace agreement and peace consolidation process? Third, what is an effective and realistic role for the United Nations in supporting mediation efforts involving non-State actors?
BAKI İLKIN ( Turkey) said that successful mediation was by far the most cost-effective means of peaceful settlement of disputes and more effort and resources ought to be devoted to it. Everything possible needed to be done to further enhance the professional mediation capacity of the United Nations. The United Nations could not be expected to fulfil its role alone, however. Regional organizations, individual Member States and even non-governmental entities had important and, at times, leading contributions to make, depending on the particular features of a conflict. The challenge was to find the right combination of action, so that different players complemented each other. For that, a “healthy” coordination and cooperation among actors was required.
He said the incentives and disincentives the Council might provide could prove to be an indispensable enabler in convincing the parties to settle their differences through peaceful means. Positive incentives had not yet received much attention. The Council should make more and more strategic use of the positive incentives available across the United Nations system through different agencies and funds.
Because Turkey had been engaged in a number of mediation activities ‑‑ such as in Afghanistan, the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East ‑‑ it had learned that mediation was “a complicated process involving multiple actors in a way that required careful and calibrated steps, with patience and commitment”, he said. Compared to intergovernmental organizations, State actors might in some cases have the advantage of flexibility, as well as the ability to act more quickly, quietly and discreetly. United Nations support to the ongoing processes, however, could be crucial in allowing it to move forward with confidence and effectiveness.
Council President CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico), speaking in his national capacity, said the large number of participants in today’s debate was a reflection of the importance of the issue and of the need to improve the Organization’s capacity to that end. Mexico supported the recommendations set out in the Secretary-General’s report, and the wider membership must acknowledge the critical importance of conflict prevention and early dispute settlement. Beyond the cost-effectiveness of such efforts, early prevention could save countless numbers of civilian lives.
Mexico had been one of the most active promoters of mediation and peaceful dispute settlement in the Latin American and Caribbean region, including resorting to dispute tribunals and regional settlement mechanisms. Indeed, he believed that support of such mechanisms had led that region to be one of the most peaceful in the world in recent years, as the States had used mediation to resolve conflict, ease tensions and end border disputes. He noted, among others, that the Group of Friends for Guatemala had led to the restoration of constitutional rule in that country. Such efforts had laid the foundation for political dialogue in other countries to avert political crises and end territorial disputes.
The Security Council must do all it could to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes before it resorted to other means, including action under Chapter VII. At the same time, the United Nations did not have a monopoly on mediation processes and it must recognize the efforts that could be mounted by regional and civil society organizations. Such recognition was becoming all the more important as conflict situations were becoming more and more complex. Finally, he welcomed the increased use of the Secretary-General’s good offices and believed that officials should provide the Council with timely updates on all mediation and dispute settlement efforts under way.
PIRAGIBE TARRAGÔ ( Brazil), underlining current efforts to strengthen preventive diplomacy at the United Nations, said there was widespread agreement on the merits of mediation and the other means of pacific settlement of disputes referred to in Article 33 of the Charter. As the 2005 World Summit had made clear, there was also general support for making broader use of mediation and strengthening the Organization’s role in mediation activities. But, while mediation could be a powerful tool in reaching a solution at various stages of a dispute, the sooner it was used, the better. Early mediation would be easier to provide if the United Nations developed and preserved institutional expertise for immediate and rapid use. In this, the establishment of the Mediation Support Unit was welcome. Likewise, efforts to help regional organizations strengthen their dispute settlement mechanisms should be supported. Even in cases where others were better placed to mediate a given dispute, the Organization should still be ready to provide political and technical support to those taking the lead.
He further stressed that, although the Council made good use of mediation when it decided on the mandate of various peacekeeping operations, it could employ mediation more frequently and decisively. Its firm support could also strengthen a mediator’s position and encourage parties to seriously engage in negotiations. Further recourse to Chapter VI could also contribute to the long-term stability of Chapter VII actions. Brazil attached particular importance to strengthening conflict prevention and resolution through early engagement, developing close partnerships with regional and subregional organizations and promoting national and local conflict prevention and resolution capacities.
HENRI-PAUL NORMANDIN ( Canada), highlighting how mediation had received few resources and little attention, said this was “most surprising” given how relevant, promising and cost-effective it had proved to be in the peaceful resolution of disputes. Since the publication of the Brahimi Report, the importance of enhancing the Organization’s conflict-prevention activities to meet persistent and emerging peacekeeping challenges had been stressed. Prevention remained a fundamental and collective responsibility for United Nations senior officers and Member States. Beyond the Secretary-General’s good offices, Chapter VI vested the Security Council with broad authority to engage in conflict prevention. The political dimensions of a peace operation were vital, but too often those dimensions remained poorly understood and integrated into such operations. Thus, continued mediation efforts before, during and after the deployment of a peacekeeping mission were paramount to United Nations efforts to re-establish peace and security.
Calling the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s report “excellent”, he said Canada strongly supported the advice to build on the Mediation Support Unit’s early progress and was providing funding and a list of mediation experts for the Unit. The gender imbalance in senior mediation posts should also be corrected. Canada applauded the Secretary-General’s intentions in that regard and believed that concerted efforts should be made across the United Nations system in that regard. Given how the nature of conflicts was changing, the Organization’s response should be adapted accordingly. That was particularly true in the context of sexual violence as a tactic of war, and resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) provided essential guidance in that area. Canada also fully supported efforts to strengthen regional mediation capacities, as well as the promotion of mediation synergies between United Nations departments, funds and agencies.
MAGED ABDEL FATAH ABDELAZIZ (Egypt) said there was a “clear mix-up” in the Secretary-General’s report between mediation activities aiming at preventing conflicts through diplomatic means, including employing the good offices of the Secretary-General and facilitation of dialogue, on one hand, and the settlement of disputes and addressing the peacebuilding phase after a dispute was settled on the other. Also, it was important to identify the scope of mediation duties that could be assumed by the United Nations. Such clarification should be set out before conflict escalated into an international conflict or threat to international peace and security. The States directly involved must also approve such United Nations intervention, he added.
He went on to say that the United Nations had a major responsibility to enhance the trust of Member States in its capacity to assume mediation in an objective, transparent and neutral manner. The Organization should carry out such work in cooperation and coordination with regional and subregional actors and arrangements. The United Nations must also act in accordance with the principle of national ownership and it must respect the relevant provisions of the Charter regarding State sovereignty.
He said that such efforts would be achieved not only through the restructuring of the Department of Political Affairs, but also through bolstering the conviction worldwide that the Secretary-General and his senior assistants, playing the role of mediators, “are starting from a neutral perspective”, relying on appropriate information and employing realistic approaches. The Secretary-General and his assistants should take into account all aspects relating to the cultural, religious, ethnic and other issues that caused conflict, and should not be swayed by the views of members of the Security Council. The independence of the Secretary-General should also be preserved in such instances. Finally, he said Egypt had observed, with increasing concern, the Secretary-General’s attempt to finance all mediation efforts through voluntary contributions, even though such methods might affect the neutrality of those efforts or lead to failure in some cases. Egypt, therefore, believed that mediation processes must be financed through the Organization’s regular budget.
PETER MAURER ( Switzerland) said mediation was a highly effective instrument for resolving conflict. Since 2000, 17 conflicts had been ended by negotiation, whereas four conflicts had ended by military success of one side. Although active Council engagement could play an important role in mediation efforts, those efforts needed support beyond the Council. The Council must balance its support against the necessary autonomy for negotiators and pool its efforts with those stakeholders, such as local and regional actors, who were able and willing to make contributions. Switzerland had supported United Nations mediation activities in many ways, for instance in Cyprus and the Sudan. It had supported the Mediation Support Unit financially and through training.
He said that successful mediation had to address the root causes of a conflict and required a thorough understanding of the local situation and its cultural, political and ethnical dimensions. Implementation of the provisions of resolution 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) on women, peace and security remained a major challenge. The share of women included in mediation teams must be enhanced and the gender-related expertise of mediators strengthened. The Council must develop a collective vision of its role in mediation efforts, taking into account the linkages among mediation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. It should also continue the dialogue with non-Council members on this important topic.
MIRSADA ČOLAKOVIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina), suggesting that modern history had proved that the vast majority of conflicts could not be solved by the use of force, said it was not her intention to stress that armed conflicts were expensive, but rather that they were meaningless. Thus, the peaceful settlement of dispute through mediation was an indispensable tool in resolving contemporary and future conflicts. The use of mediation could be traced to the ancient world. As a proactive method, it required the mediator to take part in negotiations by suggesting terms of settlement and setting preliminary arrangements based on areas where the parties could agree. A mediator had to enjoy the confidence of the parties and be impartial. This underlined why the sophisticated methodology and precise analysis of the Secretary-General’s report was all the more important. Indeed, the report should be required reading for any future mediators.
Her country’s own painful experience reinforced some of report’s key points, she said. First, disputes should be resolved at an early stage before they turned violent and the mediation process should be as inclusive as possible. The United Nations should also be engaged as early as possible and every avenue should be explored to persuade actors to engage in early negotiations. Second, the mediator should posses good listening and problem-solving skills and be supported by a highly skilled team of men and women. Third, leverage could be very useful, but should be used delicately to avoid provoking resistance. Fourth, the United Nations should continue to build closer partnerships with regional, subregional and non-governmental organizations. Finally, with the establishment of the Mediation Support Unit, the next generation of United Nations mediators should be developed.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) said that, in addition to being a guiding principle of international relations, the peaceful settlement of disputes was a common task of Member States and a founding principle of the United Nations. It was rightly considered a cost-effective way of resolving disputes. The United Nations mediation had a mixed record. Successful at times, it had also failed in cases where a conflict’s dynamics were poorly understood, there was a lack of preparation or time was imperfectly used. To mitigate the shortcomings of such efforts, mediation activities should be restructured. The Mediation Support Unit was a step forward in that regard, but operational support to mediators should also be improved. Cooperation with regional actors should also be enhanced. Greater involvement by the Council in mediation and support for mediators was also needed. A reorganization of the financing of special political missions would also allow the organization’s resources to be optimized over different time horizons.
Turning to conflicts on the African continent, he underlined the African Union’s reorganization earlier this decade towards preventing the re-eruption of conflicts and resolving disputes through peaceful means. The African Union’s work had allowed African nations to provide concrete content to the international community’s pursuit of peace. Faced with an unprecedented increase in the number and scale of peacekeeping operations, the United Nations needed to transform its culture of response into a culture of prevention. It should aim to support and strengthen the African Union’s work, in that regard. In light of Algeria’s own mediation experience in conflicts as disparate as territorial disagreements between Iran and Iraq, and the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, it had concluded that the unequivocal political will by parties to a dispute was needed, as well as trust in the mediator.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said the effectiveness of mediation had been proved in countless scenarios and it had become increasingly important, because of the complexity of conflicts and post-conflict situations. The success of any such efforts relied on the willingness of the parties to cooperate with the services of the mediator. Those parties must also generate political will to commit to the settlement process, and they must be assured of the objectivity and impartiality of the respective mediators. He stressed that successful dispute settlement and mediation required, above all, knowledge of the situation and “substantial and real dialogue” with the parties involved.
He went on to say that all parties must be willing to set aside entrenched positions and undertake a search for new solutions. In all this, involvement and support of the Security Council was crucial and, to that end, the Council should use its authority to maximize the gains of mediators on the ground and promote peaceful dispute settlement at the earliest stages of its interventions. At the same time, regional partners and neighbouring States must play their role in defusing tensions and preventing conflict, he said, stressing that the international community must support such local efforts and be prepared to bolster difficult peacebuilding phases. Morocco supported all recommendations aimed at improving the Organization’s mediation capabilities.
BASO SANGQU ( South Africa) said that, while the United Nations had played a useful role in mediating inter- and intra-State conflicts, peaceful dispute resolution was a sovereign responsibility, and building effective local and national capacity within States should be a priority. Similarly, the African Union continued to play a meaningful and active role towards the peaceful settlement of disputes through negotiation, mediation, conciliation or arbitration within its limited resources and capacities. As such, it was a huge asset to the United Nations. The establishment of its Peace and Security Council, the Early Warning System, the Pan African Parliament and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), among its other institutions, had gone a long way towards improving security and creating sustaining conditions for political stability, good governance and economic development.
He stressed that mediation’s main advantage was its timely deployment before a conflict was full-blown. But, as the least-used tool for conflict resolution and prevention, it should be strengthened. The comparative advantage of regional arrangements could allow for early intervention, but there was a need for proper coordination and for ensuring synergy, coherence and a well-coordinated strategy between all international actors and regional stakeholders. Further, mediation should be flexibly financed and properly resourced and the role of women as peacemakers could not be overemphasized.
Highlighting factors that were crucial for successful mediation, he said ownership of the mediation process by the conflict’s various parties and the role of support mechanisms were critical. Mediation should not be considered as a “quick fix”, nor as a one-size-fits-all endeavour. It should seek to gain trust and keep the parties focused on resolving the dispute by addressing root causes. Mediation should also be seen as strategic intervention; as such, it should not be an ad hoc effort, but should be properly planned. Interlocking early warning systems, sound analytical capability and complementarities with regional organizations and non-governmental organizations could assist in identifying systemic challenges that could trigger conflict. The Security Council’s role should always be directed at supporting the mediator’s efforts, not frustrating them.
By its very nature, mediation should be quick, quiet and discreet, he said. In that regard, the Southern African Development Community was working hard to facilitate the political process aimed at reaching agreement between parties and South Africa applauded the Community’s role in facilitating the power-sharing agreement between Zimbabwe’s political parties. He called on the international community to support these efforts by lifting sanctions that destabilized the recovery and reconstructions processes there.
JARMO VIINANEN (Finland), aligning his country with the statement on behalf of the European Union, said mediation and dispute settlement lay at the core of the United Nations and, specifically, of the Security Council’s responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. Finland warmly welcomed the role and active input of the Department of Political Affairs’ Mediation Support Unit. Regional and subregional partners were assuming growing responsibility in conflict mediation, and the European Union was developing its own capacities in this field. Finland also strongly supported strengthening the African Union’s mediation capacity, and was providing €2.9 million for financing a joint project by the African Union and its partners from civil society.
Stressing that local ownership was essential for effective and sustainable mediation efforts, he said the development of local settlement structures and the training of local actors was particularly important, given their awareness of the relevant situations, conditions and sensitivities. There was also a need for increased attention on women’s equal and active participation in mediation and peace negotiations. As capable and powerful actors, women should be encouraged to actively participate in dispute settlements. But, up to now, no more than eight women have served as high-level United Nations field representatives. That was not enough. To that end, he emphasized the need to fully implement resolution 1325 (2000) and called attention to the recommendations by the recent International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership and Development. He also noted that mediation must be followed by immediate post-conflict peacebuilding efforts. The United Nations should further strive to groom its internal capacity for mediation, so that the next generation could follow in the footsteps of previous eminent United Nations peace negotiators.
JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA ( Uruguay) said his delegation noted with interest the Secretary-General’s report on pacific settlement of disputes. The use of mediation and other tools opened up a range of measures by which the international community could defuse tensions and prevent conflict. The main bodies of the United Nations, especially the Security Council, should be involved in the Organization’s efforts to promote and support mediation. Such efforts should closely follow the recommendations outlined in the Secretary-General’s report, including enhancing cooperation with regional actors, and carrying forward improvements in the operation of the Department of Political Affairs.
He said attention should be devoted to all regional bodies, including the Organization of American States, which had developed concrete practice in the area of peaceful dispute settlement as early as the end of the nineteenth century. Such regional and subregional mechanisms, nevertheless, required close cooperation with the United Nations, especially in mediation facilitation, preventive diplomacy and dialogue in pre- and post-conflict scenarios. Uruguay was also concerned about the lack of women participants in dispute settlement processes. It also called for geographic equity, in that regard. Finally, he said the Council, for its part, should give greater focus to preventive measures, while taking into consideration the relevant efforts under way in the Secretariat.
KIM BONG-HYUN ( Republic of Korea) said that as the international community witnessed the increasing cost of dealing with the “shattered remnants of peace”, the value of timely and efficiently engaged mediation had been more widely recognized. His delegation agreed with the Secretary-General that, while mediation had proved to be the most promising means for peaceful dispute settlement, it received remarkably little attention or support. Today’s debate would, therefore, be helpful in promoting such mediation and other peaceful dispute settlement measures. He said that, although the United Nations did not have a monopoly on mediation, the world body was in an ideal position to provide that service in most cases.
Indeed, because of the Organization’s universal and multilateral nature, its mediation efforts were recognized as trustworthy and impartial. He said that the endorsement of a mediator by the United Nations helped bolster the standing, tools and capacity of that actor, and to that end, the Organization should focus its efforts on investing in strengthening and consolidating mediation capacities. He also believed that mediation services must be provided by the most qualified mediators at the earliest stages of conflict. To that end, thorough databases of dedicated mediators needed to be created, so that when the need arose, less time and energy would be devoted to locating mediators with the “right attributes for the situation”. He went on to highlight the importance of regional mediation initiatives, the need for increased funding for the Organization’s mediation services, and the vital necessity of bolstering the participation of women in formal roles in dispute settlement processes.
MARTIN PALOUŠ ( Czech Republic), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that mediation was critically important among the limited responses available to the international community for conflict management. It was applicable at all stages of the conflict cycle and, when successful, its ability to defuse a conflict might even escape world notice. When it failed, however, more resources would be required to extinguish the resulting crisis. Thus, mediation should be further improved and enhanced, so that negotiated settlements could bring long-lasting stability with increasing frequency. Successful mediation rested on partnerships, cooperation and mutual support. Having supported the establishment of the Mediation Support Unit by the Department of Political Affairs, the European Union continued to contribute financially to its activities. The European Union also supported the proposed system-wide approach to mediation and the development of a Standby Team of regional and thematic experts. However, flexible financial and human resources were needed, as well as a mechanism for sharing expertise and lessons learned, joint training opportunities and a roster of mediation experts.
He went on to say that that European Union’s involvement in mediation was both direct and indirect. Its presidency, as well as High Representative Javier Solana and the European Union Special Representatives and Members of the European Commission, were among the most visible actors. But the heads of delegations and other missions engaged in mediation activities. It also hoped to strengthen and professionalize support capacities and had developed a system of indirect support to third-party mediators. It was also building on the capacity and knowledge of non-governmental organizations and was assisting in the development of the African Union’s capacities.
Still, mediation should not be seen in isolation, he said. Peace agreements had too often fallen apart when a clear implementation plan was lacking. The United Nations and its partners needed to build coherence across the conflict spectrum to improve the effectiveness of mediation, minimize the threat from spoilers and ensure that agreements were sustained. In this, transitional justice issues should be adequately covered in the agreements and the rule of law established. Moreover, women’s absence from peace negotiations and the lack of gender expertise in mediation teams seriously limited the extent to which their conflict experiences were addressed. Sustainable peace could not be managed if such a large and vital constituency was marginalized.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER ( Liechtenstein) said that, given the purpose of the United Nations, mediation should naturally play a role in its activities. Mediation’s inherent strengths were ironically a weakness in the context of intergovernmental organizations: it was preventive in nature, was carried out in discrete ways, was potentially very cost-effective and was carried out when a conflict was less visible. The neglect of mediation resulted from the continued reluctance to invest in preventive diplomacy. It was time to turn talk about that issue into practice. Mediation must become the core activity it should have always been at the United Nations. The establishment of the Mediation Support Unit was a first step, and its momentum must be carried forward. Further, the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s support must be followed up on by the Council, the General Assembly and the Secretariat.
Turning to the report, he welcomed the “concise and thoughtful” paragraphs on peace and justice, which reaffirmed that there can be no United Nations-endorsed peace agreements that offered amnesties for the most serious crimes under international law. It should be clear that the mediator cannot negotiate justice issues that are dealt with by judicial bodies, such as the International Criminal Court. The selection process for the Secretary-General’s special representatives and envoys must take into account the important role women play in mediation. While efforts to enhance mediation and mediation activities themselves require resources, they should also be seen as investments that could lead to reductions in overall costs for the Organization. As a core activity of the United Nations, mediation should, in principle, be funded from the regular budget. However, because that would not be possible in the near future, Liechtenstein would continue to support the Mediation Support Unit.
RAFF BUKUN-OLU WOLE ONEMOLA ( Nigeria) said the efficacy of mediation had been amply demonstrated in the peaceful resolution of the conflict over the Bakassi peninsula between Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon. Through intense mediation, the exercise of political will, and a commitment to international judicial processes, the “nearly inflamed situation” over the Bakassi region had been amicably resolved. He noted that mediation had been successful in countries and regions elsewhere in Africa and in Asia, as well, and it remained a tool that should be actively utilized in all existing conflict situations. Even with all its successes, mediation was one of the most regrettably overlooked and under-supported activities undertaken by the United Nations. In that regard, his delegation welcomed the Secretary-General’s report, which aimed to spotlight the issue and place it at the centre of the Organization’s peacemaking activities.
He said Nigeria believed that the main bodies, especially the Security Council, had a crucial role to play in strengthening the Organization’s mediation capabilities. Turning to specific issues, he said the United Nations must guard against appointing mediators solely on the basis of their political stature rather than on their competence and skill as mediators. Indeed, mediation was a “specialist endeavour”, requiring its practitioners to be familiar with a wide range of strategies, tactics and bargaining skills. He also believed that the United Nations Mediation Unit must possess the capacity to function in pre- and post-conflict situations. That unit must coordinate its activities with United Nations early warning mechanisms and it must support the Organization’s post-conflict mechanisms, chiefly, the Peacebuilding Commission. Finally, he stressed the importance of working with regional bodies and non-governmental organizations, including women’s groups.
ILEANA B. NÚÑEZ MORDOCHE (Cuba), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said her delegation supported the strengthening, within the framework of the Charter, of the United Nations capacity to prevent, control and peacefully resolve conflicts and disputes. Improving the world body’s capacity in that regard “is a better investment than dealing with the costly aftermath of war and armed conflict”. In acknowledging the interconnected nature of economic and social development and peace and security, the Movement considered it important to ensure that any effort to transform the Organization into a more effective conflict prevention instrument should take into account the need for a balanced, coherent and comprehensive approach, with the aim of achieving sustained socio-economic growth and development.
She said that the Non-Aligned Movement regretted that, in recent years, the Security Council had been too quick to threaten or authorize enforcement action in some cases, while being silent in others. Further, the Council was increasingly resorting to Chapter VII action as an umbrella for addressing issues that did not necessarily pose an immediate threat to international peace and security. A careful review of those trends indicated that the Council could have opted for alternative provisions to respond more appropriately to particular cases. Instead of excessive and quick use of Chapter VII, an effort should be made to fully utilize other provisions for the pacific settlement of disputes.
Continuing, she said that the Council should call on all parties to any dispute, when it deemed necessary, to settle their disputes by such means as negotiation, enquiry, mediation, arbitration, judicial settlement, or resort to regional arrangements, among other alternatives. The Movement would further emphasize that Chapter VII, which allowed the use of force, must be used as a last resort. The Movement reaffirmed its principled positions, concerning, among others, that all States must preserve and promote the principles of the Charter, and that all States should advance the principle of the non-use of force and peaceful settlement of disputes as a means of collective security, rather than the threat of force or use of force.
MONA JUUL (Norway), stressing the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, said the world looked to the United Nations for the “ounce of prevention” in world affairs in the form of mediation and conflict prevention. Indeed, preventing conflict was the main reason for establishing the United Nations, and it was necessary to ensure that the Organization was well equipped and ready to take on that responsibility whenever crises threatened to erupt. In that, it was the collective responsibility of Member States to ensure that the size of the regular budget matched the size of the job the United Nations was being asked to do. Likewise, it was the responsibility of the United Nations to be proactive and to put this budget to good use in the world’s trouble spots.
She said that, although mediators grappled with widely varying situations, some aspects were crucial to all international mediation efforts: dialogue and access, early engagement and a flexible and coherent approach. The mediator should be brought into the process as early as possible. Moreover, a quiet diplomatic channel had the advantage of eliminating many of the political risks carried by a more public process. It also made it more difficult for spoilers to undermine the negotiation process. The mediation approach should also be flexible and bring in all relevant actors, such as the United Nations, regional organizations, civil society and individual States, so that each one’s efforts could complement the others. It was a challenge to make everybody coordinate their efforts, however. Mediation efforts during Kenya’s challenging post-election period last year provided an example of exactly that kind of coordination.
She said that nearly 10 years after adopting resolution 1325 (2000), which urged the United Nations and Member States to take action to bring more women into peace processes, little progress had been made. Yet, women brought different issues to the table and contributed to a more durable and inclusive peace. Further, only 50 per cent of the talent pool was being recruited if women were not being included in sufficient numbers. She, thus, called for renewed and strengthened efforts to bring the words of resolution 1325 (2000) into concrete action.
NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER ( Qatar), aligning his remarks with those made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the purposes of the Charter, which emphasized early and peaceful interventions, must be considered. The deployment of peacekeeping forces and other uses of force carried high price tags. Consequently, mediation remained the most cost-effective means of dispute settlement. He encouraged the Council to continue to place a premium on mediation, including by establishing a subsidiary body to support mediation among third parties. For mediation to be successful, the mediator should be fair-minded, truthful and impartial, devoid of vested interests in certain outcomes of a conflict. Indeed, the persistence of the conflict in the Middle East showed how important those factors were. The mediator should also have a thorough understanding of the relevant local peculiarities and be open-minded, so he could respect a conflict’s cultural context. During the mediation process, it was important to strengthen and encourage the genuine desire of parties to a conflict, so they could come to an agreement. It was also necessary to keep mediation processes from being sabotaged.
The Secretary-General’s recommendations for enhancing mediation were worthy of further consideration, he said. The Mediation Support Unit provided the necessary expertise to the United Nations system and to regional and subregional organizations, and its capacities should be further strengthened. Additionally, the good offices of the Secretary-General were also commendable and worthy of support. Thus, Qatar supported the Trust Fund to Support Special Missions and Other Activities Related to Preventive Diplomacy and Peacemaking. The United Nations should also support regional and subregional arrangements with a view to reaching a peaceful settlement of disputes in a way that respected local circumstances. In closing, he highlighted the work of Qatar’s Emir in bringing Lebanese parties to the dialogue table in Doha last year and the resulting Doha Agreement. Qatar was also working to support mediation efforts between the Government of the Sudan and the Justice and Equality Movement in Darfur.
PAUL BADJI ( Senegal) said current conflicts were becoming increasingly complex, and the coordinated activities of all the main bodies of the United Nations were necessary to forestall massive population displacement and loss of life. If mediation mechanisms had been mobilized more frequently and effectively, many lives might have been saved. With that in mind, he said the United Nations must make mediation and dispute settlement a central feature of its Charter-based charge to save “present and future generations from the scourge of war”. The Organization must also strive to bolster the role of women in conflict prevention and dispute, he said, calling for more women to be appointed as special envoys and to be tapped to carry out special offices missions of the Secretary-General.
He went on to welcome the fact that the Secretary-General’s report had highlighted the “dynamic” cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations. The African Union’s system for peace management extended from preventive diplomacy, to peacekeeping and peacebuilding. At the same time, the African Union must acquire the means to act earlier to prevent rising tensions from spilling over into conflict, and to sustain its efforts already under way. Such assistance could come from enhanced coordination with, and support from, the United Nations, especially the Security Council. Recalling the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”, he said regional organizations and the United Nations could together better tackle the complex nature of peacekeeping and peacebuilding today, through enhance and strengthened mediation and dispute settlement initiatives.
ZACHARY D. MUBURI MUITA (Kenya) said his delegation recognized both the human and financial cost of conflict and was encouraged by the Secretary-General’s report and today’s timely debate, which would prove useful in strengthening the United Nations mediation role as a more cost-effective way to settle or prevent disputes. Moreover, although mediation was playing an increased role in dispute settlement, resources devoted to that service still lagged considerably. Kenya hoped that more resources would be allocated to such efforts to ensure timely responses “when problems are less complicated and the parties involved are fewer”. That way, the chances of success would increase dramatically. He further hoped the strengthening of the Department of Political Affairs, particularly the creation of the Mediation Support Unit, would provide the opportunity to explore the area further.
He went on to say that Kenya was concerned about the dearth of women participating in mediation processes. Women played a crucial role in all levels of society, but they had little or no say in settling disputes. It was necessary, therefore, to address the structural and institutional impediments to women’s equal and full involvement in the mediation process. Kenya urged the appointment of more women to senior positions at Headquarters and in field missions, as a way to spur efforts to integrate women’s issues into the mainstream decision-making agenda.
ABDULLAH HUSSAIN HAROON ( Pakistan) said the Security Council had to make wider and more effective use of the procedures and means of resolving disputes provided to it by the United Nations Charter. It was this work that would transform the Charter’s words and spirit into the concrete action that could save future generations from the scourge of war. Pakistan considered the Secretary-General’s emphasis in the current report on early engagement and on processes addressing the root causes of conflicts among the key lessons learned from the Organization’s past engagements. Strengthening and making full use of the comparative advantages of regional, national and local capacities for conflict prevention, mediation, reconciliation and dialogue were also critical in the wider effort. The need for professional mediation capacity was, as the report pointed out, also evident. Further, the establishment of the Mediation Support Unit and of the Standby Team of experts were welcome steps.
But, while the report focused in large part on capacity-building and resources, he underlined that the effectiveness of mediation was more a function of political factors. Indeed, they could not be put to good use unless the necessary political will was generated. The nature of two of the long-standing situations on the Council’s agenda ‑‑ Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir ‑‑ were such that their continuance endangered international peace and security. In Palestine, the Council had been unable to implement its own resolutions, thereby delivering a self-inflicted blow to its credibility. The Council did not need to be reminded that one of the earliest applications of Chapter VI was in Jammu and Kashmir. It had also instituted a number of other mechanisms including the United Nations Commission on India and Pakistan (UNCIP) and the deployment of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan and dispatched a number of representatives to consult on how to resolve the dispute according the Council’s resolutions. Nevertheless, the Council’s resolutions remained unimplemented. While hopes in bilateral negotiations likewise remained unfulfilled, Pakistan remained committed to resolving the dispute in accordance with the Council’s resolutions.
To have a holistic view, he said the Security Council should review the extent to which the provisions under Chapter VI had been utilized and implemented. Full success in efforts to strengthen conflict prevention would be impossible if the Council was unable to preserve and reinforce the Charter’s obligation that Member States refrain from the use of force. Further, injudicious use of Chapter VII also created the wrong impression that non-Chapter VII resolutions were somehow not equally binding. Experience showed that Chapter VII measures were not always ideal and could worsen disputes. In contrast, measures taken under Chapter VI built confidence and fostered respect for the sovereignty of States.
MARTY M. NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia) said mediation was built upon a culture of dialogue, an essential ingredient of the culture of peace. In reality, however, hostile parties often had a hard time talking to each other. Confidence placed by disputants in the mediator was, therefore, of primary importance. In that regard, it was important that parties were treated equally, with respect and dignity, and that impartiality was upheld consistently. A successful mediation often began in the absence of ceremonial and formal procedures. Informality was often key. The core process of mediation often needed to be away from the spotlight of the media. Trust and knowledge, as well as adequate logistical backup, were critical for a mediator.
Welcoming the recommendation that the Organization and Member States build local and regional capacity for mediation, he said it was paramount that the United Nations and regional organizations teamed up in mediation efforts. Indonesia, with the rest of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) family, had worked to establish a Charter that clearly stressed the importance of mediation as the preferable mode of peaceful settlement of disputes. As a country that had reaped the benefits of successful mediation in resolving a conflict situation within its borders, Indonesia could say that mediation worked. He welcomed efforts to explore ways and means to reinforce the Council’s contribution to the promotion of mediation as an important and cost-effective means to settle a dispute.
AGSHIN MEHDIYEV ( Azerbaijan) said that, despite relevant binding rulings set forth in the United Nations Charter, the world still faced inconsistent behaviour that undermined the basic elements of the international legal order, threatened the integrity and stability of States, and led to grave violations of human rights and international law. The ongoing armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan had resulted in the occupation of almost one fifth of the latter’s territory and left approximately one out of every eight people in the country an internally displaced person or a refugee. Armenia’s actions constituted a violation of the fundamental norms of respect for the territorial integrity of States and of other relevant international legal principles. Although mediation efforts, ongoing for quite a long period of time within the framework of the OSCE, had not always been consistent and had not yet yielded results, Azerbaijan continued to be committed to solving the conflict by political means.
He stressed that the conflict could only be solved on the basis of respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and the inviolability of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized borders. As far as the model and legal framework of self-rule status for the Nagorno-Karabakh region within Azerbaijan is concerned, the definition should take place in normal peaceful conditions. Attempts to define such status in a situation of continued occupation contradicted international law. To ensure the success of the settlement process and of mediation efforts, a number of important steps had to be taken. First, the factor of military occupation should be removed and Armenia must completely withdraw from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Following the liberation of the occupied territories, the displaced should be allowed to return to their places of origin. The rehabilitation and economic development of the region should also follow the release of the territories from occupation.
The aforementioned understanding, reflected also in resolution 62/243 of the General Assembly, was an expression of constructive compromise that Azerbaijan was willing to make within the framework of international law. It was obvious, at the same time, that the success of this process depended on the constructive approach of both sides, as well as the active contribution of the international community and mediators. However, it was difficult to hope for a substantial breakthrough when it was more than clear that Armenia sought a transfer of sovereignty of the territories it seized through military force. That approach was unconstructive and unrealistic. While being committed to the peaceful settlement of the conflict, Azerbaijan would never compromise its territorial integrity.
ARMEN MARTIROSYAN ( Armenia) said the statement by Azerbaijan’s representative had come as no surprise, and, having addressed the issue in other forums, Armenia “will not engage in long polemics with the representative of the neighbouring State”. Still, he said the current situation had been created by Azerbaijan, perhaps with unexpected consequences for that country. He reiterated that the fundamental resolution must be achieved on the basis of a comprehensive political settlement based on the right to self-determination and the rights of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
He went on to say that, while the international community continued to face challenges posed by both inter- and intra-State conflicts, the Charter clearly required Member States to settle their disputes through peaceful means. Mediation was without doubt the most promising of the various instruments offered by the Charter to that end. The success of any mediation effort depended critically on the selection of mediators, implementation of agreed decisions, and mechanisms that could merge the positions of the parties. While the United Nations played an important role in mediation efforts, Armenia believed regional organizations were the most appropriate mechanisms to carry out such efforts.
Continuing on that point, he said the OSCE, one of the largest regional security bodies in the world, held a special place. The OSCE operated on the fundamental principle of consensus, which favourably distinguished it from other international forums. Armenia strongly believed that achieving consensus among the concerned parties could lead to genuine compromise and guarantee lasting peace and dispute resolution. He further stressed that only after the respective regional organization had brokered a political settlement should the United Nations, with its well-established mechanisms, resources and expertise, lead the implementation process to ensure the agreements were fully realized.
Finally, he stressed that, despite the fact that it got no mention in the Secretary-General’s report, the role mediators could play in promoting confidence-building measures was crucial to the settlement of disputes. Indeed, it had been widely recognized that agreements hardly had a chance for successful implementation without the proper level of trust and confidence among conflict parties.
AUGUSTINE P. MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania) said that, while the role of mediation in the overall architecture of international peace and security was now getting the attention it deserved, appropriate attention should be focused on several distinct, but related issues, including linking mediation to early warning mechanisms at all levels, and bolstering mediation as a way to secure cessation of hostilities, negotiate ceasefires and reach peace agreements. That role specifically was closely associated with the work of the Security Council, as it entailed the eventual deployment of peacekeeping operations.
Experience had shown that that stage demanded coordinated action between the Council and the good offices of the Secretary-General, as well as the efforts of local and regional actors. That framework needed to be strengthened through political action and capacity-building, he said. Mediation should follow through on the implementation of peace agreements, he continued, stressing that, as several such accords had collapsed midway through their implementation stages, mediators could have been dispatched to shore them up and put them back on track. He also said mediators could be “called in as reserves” or as facilitators during peacebuilding efforts. Employed in such a way, mediators could create favourable environments for reconciliation, political accommodation and other related tasks to prevent a relapse into conflict.
JEAN-FRANCIS RÉGIS ZINSOU ( Benin) said mediation was incontestably a powerful instrument for the transformation and resolution of conflicts. Benin had itself benefited from a dialogue that cemented its young democracy during its memorable National Conference of February 1990, and it sought to preserve the legacy of that conference at the national and local levels. At the subregional level, it was participating in the institutional architecture of the African Union, including through the group of elders. It had also helped revitalize the international community’s interest in mediation, particularly through the work of the Security Council. He recalled the adoption of resolution 1625 (2005), noting the progress made in building up the mediation support capacities of the United Nations.
He said Benin welcomed the Secretary-General’s current recommendations, which were notably informed by lessons learned in the conflict prevention field. The stress placed on the quality of human resources was particularly justified, given the need to train United Nations staff to meet any challenge. The Security Council should be able to exercise its primary responsibility for maintaining peace and security by using all the tools available to it, including sanctions, so it could respond proactively to crises before, during and after any potential escalation in violence. Moreover, the United Nations system should act in a coordinated and coherent manner to tackle the exogenous and endogenous underlying causes of every conflict.
ABDALMAHMOOD ABDALHALEEM MOHAMAD ( Sudan), supporting Cuba’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed the necessity of effectively using mediation so the Security Council could best discharge its mission of safeguarding international peace and security. Indeed, the founding fathers of the United Nations had clearly been aware that peace had to be forged. The Charter underlined the pivotal role the Organization could play in that regard. It also indicated that the Security Council’s role should not be limited to sending out peacekeeping missions. Rather, it should work tirelessly to promote efforts to bring about the peaceful settlement of disputes. In that, all influential parties must lend their contributions, including to the regional organizations. Neutral and impartial positions by the Council to parties to a conflict remained a key to conflict resolution. Interventions by regional and subregional organizations held particular value, especially those that promoted political solutions. He reaffirmed the role of the United Nations in supporting regional efforts, including in providing technical capacities and expertise.
He stressed the role of development in promoting peace and security and preventing conflicts. He also recalled that the Darfur conflict would not have continued as it did today if the Security Council had brought its weight to bear on an early political settlement. In the Sudan, early on, there had been strong national will to turn the page. Particularly stressing the promise of the current initiative of the Arab League and the joint mediation by the African Union-United Nations, he said that, if the Security Council had sent the right messages to the leaders of the national movements, the outcome would have been different. The hasty and inconsiderate decisions by the International Criminal Court had also damaged the peace process.
* *** *For information media • not an official record