Finland and Turkey, the founding members of the group of Friends of Mediation, organised a panel discussion on the role of regional organisations in mediation. The organisations were provided a platform to share valuable insights on their own mediation-related activities and to influence a report on mediation guidance, which is currently being drafted at the United Nations.
The panel, organised in New York, consisted of representatives of the African Union, the Organization of American States, OSCE, EU, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. The panelists emphasised the significant role of regional organisations in mediation. The close physical proximity of the conflicts gives these organisations the ability to intervene in escalating situations faster, making even the prevention of conflicts possible. In this context, a preventive form of mediation is especially important. Furthermore, organisations operating in the region are often more familiar with the root causes of the conflict, as well as the current political climate.
In order to ensure successful mediation, each process should be allocated a chief mediator. Additionally, smooth cooperation between different mediators involved in the process is crucially important. Cooperation works if it has a predetermined structure. The panelists agreed that a key challenge in the field of mediation today is competition between mediation experts. “A skilled mediator should not have to use his skills to mediate the mediators. All relevant actors should have a common approach”, said Robert Dann, Chief of the Mediation Support Unit at the UN Department of Political Affairs.
The mediation process needs thorough planning, which is supported by a meticulous documentation of past experiences, precise timing, and an effective utilisation of a roster of mediation experts.
A crucial prerequisite in successful mediation is effective partnership.
The distinguished panel consisted of Tété António, Permanent Representative of the African Union to the UN; Christopher Hernandez-Roy from the Organization of American State; Alice Ackermann from the OSCE; Thomas Mayr-Harting, Permanent Representative of the EU to the UN; Ufuk Gokcen, Permanent Representative of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and Robert Dann, Chief of the Mediation Support Unit at the UN Department of Political Affairs. Jarmo Viinanen, Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN, chaired the panel. The event was held at the United Nations Headquarters on 11 January.