UN must boost mediation capacity for dispute settlement, says Ban

9 April 2009

With the peaceful settlement of disputes a key element of the United Nations’ mission, the world body’s mediation capacity – which is thwarted by the limited number of experienced mediators and the lack of sufficient financial resources – must be bolstered, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said.

“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,” he wrote in a report to the Security Council made public today.

Many of 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 UN staff are dependent on voluntary funding while there are no such programmes for senior mediators, Mr. Ban added.

In its recent decisions, the General Assembly has called for the creation of a Mediation Support Unit.

The Secretary-General, in his report, emphasized the need for early UN 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 UN field missions.

The Security Council is scheduled to hold an open debate on the issue next Tuesday.


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News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

Ban calls for enhanced funding and resources for UN mediation role

Stressing the importance of mediation in both resolving and avoiding conflict, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for proper funding and requisite resources to build up the United Nations’ capacity to carry out this vital role.