Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Finland Says UN Should Mediate More Conflicts

United Nations capabilities in conflict mediation must be strengthened to give the world body a greater role in the prevention and settlement of disputes, Finland’s President Tarja Halonen said today.

In an address to the General Assembly’s annual general debate in New York, Ms. Halonen said mediation should be deployed at every phase of a conflict in an effort to stop it starting or continuing.  “We need to enhance the capabilities of the UN in this field. Training and guidance are pivotal,” she said, adding that non-governmental organizations (NGOs), women and grassroots activities also have an important role to play in conflict mediation.

This year’s theme of the general debate is the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, and earlier this year the General Assembly adopted a resolution – the joint initiative of Finland and Turkey – calling for a greater role for mediation.

Ms. Halonen said that peace processes must also be more inclusive, stressing the need for women to play a more prominent role.  “The record is far from impressive at the moment as the number of women around the negotiation tables continues to be strikingly low.”

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

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