The third ministerial meeting of the Friends of Mediation was held in New York on 27 September. The meeting was hosted by Finland. The meeting was co-chaired by Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö presented welcome words at the meeting.
In addition to the co-chairs, the meeting was attended by the foreign or deputy foreign ministers of fifteen countries. The United Nations was represented by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. The participants included, among others, OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, African Union Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra and Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin of OAS, the Organisation of American States.
Lakhdar Brahimi, the joint UN and Arab League peace mediator to Syria, attended the meeting as an invited guest. According to Brahimi, one of the challenges of peace mediation is that the mediator never has enough information on the situation. A good peace mediator must be humble and must seek as much information as possible about the situation and the views of the parties involved.
Foreign Minister Tuomioja suggested in his speech that in every crisis, the international community should strive to appoint one leading peace mediator who is supported by the others. Tuomioja expressed his support for the “United Nations Guidance for Effective Mediation” that was launched the same day. The Guidance lists eight core principles that peace mediators should follow. These include, among others, the consent of the parties, compliance with international law and listening to the views of all key actors.
Tuomioja also stressed the importance of women’s participation in mediation. He warmly welcomed the Secretary-General’s concrete target of appointing a female UN Chief Mediator.
In his speech, Tuomioja brought up the need to establish a sounder financial base for peace mediation. By strengthening the role of peace mediation, the UN can cut its peacekeeping expenses. Peace mediation should be seen as a core function of the United Nations which is financed through the UN budget. At present, peace mediation is funded through the voluntary contributions of member states.
In all, 34 states and eight international organisations belong to the Friends of Mediation, which was formed in September 2010.