General Assembly Adopts Text Inviting Member States to Make Most of Mediation in Peacefully Settling Disputes, Preventing or Resolving Conflict

22 June 2011

General Assembly Adopts Text Inviting Member States to Make Most of Mediation in Peacefully Settling Disputes, Preventing or Resolving Conflict

22 June 2011
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly


102nd Meeting (AM)

General Assembly Adopts Text Inviting Member States to Make Most of Mediation

in Peacefully Settling Disputes, Preventing or Resolving Conflict


Resolution on Boosting New Partnership for Africa’s Development Also Passed

Amid calls for more unified development and conflict-prevention efforts, the General Assembly today adopted two resolutions focusing, respectively, on support for the African Union’s flagship development programme, and on the “untapped potential” of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes.

By the terms of the resolution “Strengthening the role of mediation in peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution”, which was adopted without a vote,the Assembly invited States to optimize the use of mediation and other tools outlined in Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter for the peaceful settlement of disputes, as well as conflict prevention and resolution.  It also encouraged States, where appropriate, to develop national mediation capacities in order to ensure coherence and responsiveness, and in that context, to promote women’s equal, full and effective participation.

Requesting the Secretary-General to continue offering his good offices as mediation support, the Assembly requested him, by other terms, to appoint women as chief or lead mediators in United Nations-sponsored peace processes, and to strengthen the Organization’s mediation capacities, in particular those of the Mediation Support Unit in the Department of Political Affairs.  Stressing the importance of the world body’s cooperation with international, regional and subregional organizations, the Assembly invited those entities, as well as civil society, to develop mediation capacities and structures.

“Mediation is at the heart of the mission of the United Nations,” noted Assembly President Joseph Deiss ( Switzerland) as he opened the meeting.  That principle was clearly recognized in the Charter, he said, pointing out that Article 33, in particular, called on the parties to any dispute to seek a solution through mediation.  The importance of mediation had been reiterated in a resolution on the prevention of armed conflict, adopted by consensus during the fifty-seventh session, and in several high-level forums, he added.  While mediation was often used successfully by States, regional and subregional organizations, as well as other actors, those successes were not sufficiently well known, he noted, adding that one of the goals of the text adopted today was to strengthen the role and visibility of the peaceful mediation of disputes.

Finland’s representative presented the draft on behalf of the Group of Friends of Mediation, agreeing with the President that mediation was an essential tool in the maintenance of international peace and security.  It was a cost-effective and efficient means to promote peaceful dispute settlement, conflict prevention and resolution.  “We are proud to present the first General Assembly resolution on this important issue,” he said, noting that the aim of the text was to consolidate normative mediation efforts, reinforce support for mediation activities and enhance engagement by Member States.

Speaking before the adoption, the representative of the European Union delegation said recent decades had seen a strengthened determination to boost mediation efforts in order to end the “scourge of conflicts”.  Those efforts had sprung from the realization that the world was increasingly interdependent and that instability affected everyone.  While the international conflict-management toolbox was well developed, instruments in the area of conflict prevention and resolution — including mediation — were less so, he said, noting that they received less political attention, attracted fewer financial resources and were applied less systematically.

Switzerland’s delegate observed that the international community’s universal support for the resolution was proof of the growing need to pool efforts to make mediation more efficient.  While the number of actors on the ground had grown, the world of mediation had too often become competitive rather than cooperative, he said, noting that the text addressed that problem specifically, by encouraging partnerships and the exchange of information at all levels.  Norway’s representative agreed that several issues relating to mediation required further attention, including resource mobilization, strengthening partnerships and greater participation and involvement by women.  Nonetheless, the resolution was an important step forward, he stressed.

Speaking in explanation of position after the adoption, Venezuela’s delegate said her country had played an active role in the negotiations on the text, which outlined such important principles as the sovereign equality of States, respect for territorial integrity, and the duty of States to refrain from using or threatening to use force.  The text was a sign of how combined efforts in the General Assembly could generate peaceful tools, she said, adding that Venezuela would continue to implement such initiatives.

The Assembly also adopted, without a vote as orally amended, a resolution on progress in implementing and increasing international support for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), an African Union-led intervention aimed at realizing the continent’s political and socio-economic transformation.  Argentina’s representative presented, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, the draft titled “New Partnership for Africa’s Development:  progress in implementation and international support” (document A/65/L.69/Rev.1).

By its terms, the Assembly stressed the need to implement all commitments made by the international community regarding Africa’s economic and social development.  It expressed deep concern about the adverse impacts of global crises — including the financial crisis, volatile food and energy prices, and climate change — on realization of the Millennium Development Goals in Africa, and about the continent’s disproportionately low share of international trade, which stood at only 2 per cent.

Further by the text, the Assembly expressed concern that official development assistance (ODA) to Africa was likely to rise by only 1 per cent a year in real terms — compared to the average 13 per cent growth rate over the past three years — which would be outpaced by population growth, an increasing debt burden and rising unemployment.  It called upon developed nations to facilitate the flow of foreign investment, and on developing countries, as well as those with economies in transition, to create a domestic climate conducive to investment.

The Assembly emphasized, by further terms, the need to resist protectionist tendencies in trade and to rectify any trade-distorting measure already taken.  It called for a “comprehensive and sustainable solution” to the external debt problems of African countries, including cancellation or restructuring, as appropriate, on a case-by-case basis.  Expressing deep concern that many aid commitments to Africa had not yet been met, the Assembly called for their early fulfilment, requesting the Secretary-General, in that vein, to promote greater coherence in the work of the United Nations system in support of NEPAD.  It also asked him to continue to take measures to strengthen the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa.

In other business today, the Assembly took note of the President’s appointment of the Republic of Moldova as a Member of the Committee on Conferences, for the period 22 June 2011 to 31 December 2012.

Also speaking in explanation of position after action were the representatives of Cuba, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 3 p.m. today to elect the President of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.