2013 Standby Team of Mediation Experts commences work
The members of the Department of Political Affairs’ current Standby Team of Mediation Experts took up in March their one-year assignments in support of UN peacemaking initiatives.
Since 2008 renowned experts in fields that arise frequently in peace talks – such as mediation strategy, power-sharing, constitution-making, human rights and natural resource – have been drawn to work for the United Nations as on-call advisers to peace envoys around the world.
DPA head Jeffrey Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, welcomed the new team members late February in New York as they convened for briefings ahead of their initial assignments. The work conducted by the Standby Team is “cutting edge” and among DPA’s most exciting endeavors, Mr. Feltman underlined.
Demand for the Standby Team of Mediation Experts has increased each year. The members of the 2012 team were deployed on more than 70 occasions to over 30 countries, from the Maldives to Libya and from Kyrgyzstan to Somalia.
One expert supported the UN envoy to Yemen, helping a technical committee convene the country’s national dialogue process. Two others were part of the UN team which assisted regional mediators in resolving the recent civil-political turmoil in the Central African Republic, providing expertise in power-sharing, gender, security arrangements and ceasefires.
Standby team members have the flexibility to deploy on short notice to assist UN or non-UN mediators globally, or to provide analysis and advice remotely. When not in the field, they are working on the development of UN best practices and training materials in their areas of expertise.
The team, located in the Mediation Support Unit of DPA’s Policy and Mediation Division, functions as a resource for the UN system broadly and has also provided assistance to mediation efforts by regional organizations. Team members have been deployed to support traveling envoys, field-based political and peacekeeping missions, and UN Resident Coordinators.
The team is funded in large part by donor contributions. In addition, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has allocated half of the funds from his Seoul Peace Prize to mediation support, thereby enabling DPA to increase the size of the team so as to meet the growing demands in the field.