New York – 26 September 2013
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to join today at this important meeting of the Group of Friends of Mediation. This group has played a significant role since its establishment 3 years ago towards increasing the visibility of mediation and giving the issue a new momentum. I recall GA resolution 65/283 was adopted by consensus in June 2011, thanks to the tireless efforts of the group. Our meeting today attests that that momentum still continues. In this context, I would also like to commend the efforts of Finland and Turkey, as the two co-initiators, as well as other distinguished members of the Group of Friends. Let me also commend the Secretary General for identifying the prevention of violent conflict among the priorities of his five-year action agenda.
The theme of mediation is close to my heart. As President of the 66th session of the General Assembly, I had identified mediation as the theme of the session. Even after the General Debate, we continued that emphasis, with meetings in November 2011 and May 2012 where we were able to discuss the roles of the United Nations and Member States in mediation and to reflect on our experiences from the prevention, peacemaking and peacekeeping perspectives.
Recent conflicts clearly reflected the significant role played by regional and sub-regional arrangements. It is a welcome and encouraging development that the UN, including the Security Council, is listening more closely to regional actors and taking into consideration their concerns before making critical decisions. Track II actors, civil society, and research institutions remain crucial in resolving conflicts, building capacities and engaging in post conflict reconstruction.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I join today’s meeting in my new capacity as UN High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations. My new post has made my belief in mediation stronger than ever. Our world is going through a challenging period. Ethnic and cultural based conflicts continue to plague us. We must use all of the tools in our toolbox, including soft power, to prevent, resolve and recover from conflicts. Dialogue among civilizations offers a complementary approach, one that can augment and support mediation efforts to both preventing and peacefully resolving conflicts.
The need for effective mediation is great and growing. I believe that the best way forward is through the peaceful settlement of disputes.
I wish you all a fruitful meeting.