Have mediation skills, will travel: UN’s roaming mediation team termed a success

10 June 2009
Haile Menkerios

The United Nations special on-call mediation team has helped respond to sticky problems all over the globe in their first year – and should do more, according to a top official at the world body.

So far, the Standby Team of Mediation Experts, established last year to help the UN respond more quickly to crises, has been asked to help with the Organization’s peacemaking and preventive diplomacy in nine areas in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, said Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios.

“Responding effectively to peacemaking opportunities depends on getting to the field quickly with the right kind of expertise,” said Mr. Menkerios. “The Standby Team is helping us to do just that.”

The six-member team “should be used more widely as a resource by envoys in the field,” he said at a luncheon honouring departing members of the team who serve one year terms.

During its first 15 months, the Team has helped in Kenya, the Central African Republic (CAR), Comoros, Cyprus, Iraq, Kenya, Madagascar, Nepal and Somalia. The experts have also facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, and their clients have included not just UN political envoys, but also peacekeeping missions, UN Resident Coordinators and the African Union (AU).

The Norwegian Government funded the initial 15 month-pilot phase of the Standby Team and has agreed to provide continued financing.


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