Secretary-General's remarks to Informal High-Level General Assembly meeting on the Role of Member States in Mediation
New York, 23 May 2012
I would like to thank you for the initiative to convene this high-level General Assembly meeting on the role of Member States in Mediation. You have set this important agenda for mediation as your presidency’s priority and I commend the vision.
Today’s high-level meeting marks a step forward in our shared efforts for peace. It can also serve the United Nations’ five-year action agenda.
When I presented that agenda to you here in January, I stressed that the UN’s mediation services must be readily available to all States that need our support. And I emphasized that this has to be quick and simple.
The panel discussion the President of the General Assembly hosted in January contributed to our consultations on carrying out the General Assembly’s landmark 2010 resolution on mediation. I am grateful to him for taking this important initiative.
We have previously sought the views of experts and regional organizations. Today, I look forward to hearing the perspectives of Member States. The issues that mediation attempts to address are experienced by states around the world. We will be listening carefully to what you have to say.
Governments are among the most active mediators in international affairs. Some States represented here today are playing an important mediation role on the international stage.
States also boost mediation processes as neighbours of countries affected by conflicts … as donors … and as members of contact groups. International and regional support is a key component of successful mediation.
Member States further advance mediation through the General Assembly, the Security Council and regional organizations.
I especially welcome the engagement of the Friends of Mediation co-chaired by Finland and Turkey.
Governments have already contributed to the process of developing the “Guidance for Effective Mediation” called for by the General Assembly’s 2010 resolution.
We are preparing this Guidance in consultation with all partners, drawing on the experience of regional organizations, non-governmental organizations and civil society, including women’s groups.
In addition, we have consulted the Peacebuilding Commission, the World Bank and other UN entities at headquarters and in the field.
I will submit the Guidance as an annex to my report on the General Assembly resolution.
Every mediation effort is specific to the context – but there are some key fundamentals.
Consent is always important. So are impartiality, preparedness and inclusivity. All mediation efforts must respect international laws and norms.
Mediators deal with tough issues – questions of governance, wealth-sharing and reforms in a country’s security sector.
Mediators must help ensure that perpetrators of serious international crimes are not granted amnesties in peace agreements. They should forge peace agreements that lay the foundation for reconciliation.
We must do much more to include more women in peace processes. I have personally been appointing as many qualified women mediators as I can find, and I count on countries to support this effort.
We have come a long way in recognizing the value of mediation. The UN’s mediation capacity is stronger than ever. We are boosting our partnerships with other major actors and strengthening our ability to respond to emerging needs.
I encourage Member States to make greater use of these newly enhanced services.
Let me close with a word about funding.
I deeply appreciate the Member States that have voluntarily contributed to our mediation efforts. But we cannot rely solely on voluntary contributions. To be effective, mediation needs predictable funding. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of remedy.
Mediation saves lives and resources. It is a wise investment that deserves secure funding.
The more we deal with conflict in a flexible, thoughtful and forward-looking way, the more we will learn to prevent it.
Let us continue to strengthen our collective ability to respond to violent conflicts and crises with solutions born from mediation.
I look forward to hearing your views.
Statements on 23 May 2012