Toespraak van minister Reynders over bemiddeling in conflictgebieden
H.E. Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs
‘’Enhancing the role of Mediation in Conflict Prevention & Sustaining Peace”
Thursday, 21 September 2017, 8.30 am - 10 am.
Thank you (Mister) Chair,
Excellencies, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me start by thanking both co-chairs, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland for hosting this breakfast meeting of the Group of Friends of mediation. I also wish to congratulate Turkey on the successful Istanbul Conference last June.
I would like to thank as well the panelists for their valuable inputs and their thoughts on the questions before us.
I follow the reform of the peace and security architecture, as proposed by the SG, with keen interest. This reform enhances the coherence and the integration of political action and peace operations; I welcome the fact that it puts the political process right in the center of the United Nations’ action, in line with the recommendations of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations report (HIPPO). I think that the structure proposed by the SG will be more conducive to political solutions and real support to mediation initiatives notably through the articulation of the peace and security pillar with the development and human rights pillars. I took note of the creation by the SG of a High Level Advisory Board on Mediation and look forward to their action, especially when their presence is required in the field.
Regarding enhancing the role in mediation of the General Assembly, I feel confident that the Assembly is in capable hands: our new PGA presented his very clear views on mediation at a High Level conference on mediation I had the pleasure to organize last February in Brussels, as announced here last year.
At this conference, we were happy to welcome many of you, as well as some “veterans” of mediation, such as Senator George Mitchell and President Ahtisaari. Our conversations focused on mediation in extreme circumstances, on the various actors involved in mediation, and on the implementation of mediated agreements.
We discussed the ways to improve the efficiency of mediation - how to better design mediation processes, when to intervene, the profile of mediators or how to increase the role of women or civil society - in order to enhance the chances of success.
From this comprehensive and productive debate, some very concrete recommendations emerged and I am pleased to share them with you. In brief:
- Mediation is not an end in itself, it needs to be framed and supported by broader and authoritative political and diplomatic efforts;
- Mediation needs to become professionalized, based on the lessons learned;
- Every situation requiring mediation is unique. “No one size fits all”. Mediators need to be flexible and be able to adapt to changing circumstances;
- The successful outcome of mediation will also be influenced by the personality of the mediator, his/her vision and the composition of his/her team;
- Inclusivity is key, not only for the mediation process, but also for the implementation of agreements;
- Ownership of the process by the parties is an important factor;
- Smart communication is essential;
- A common vision and improved coherence and interaction between the actors of different layers of mediation (track I, II, III) in a given crisis situation is strongly called for;
- Bridging the lack of trust between the parties in a sustainable way remains a challenge;
- The same is true regarding the successful implementation of mediated agreements.
During the Brussels conference, other issues were raised by the participants such as the role of regional organizations in mediation and the importance of women’s participation in mediation processes. The President of ICRC Peter Maurer drew our attention to possible contradictions between the dynamics of mediation and the respect for international humanitarian law.
In this regard, I’m pleased to announce that Belgium will organize two follow-up high level events in New York on these issues:
- The first one, on ‘’mediation in a humanitarian context’’ will take place in New York on February 20th 2018 in cooperation with ICRC,
- The second one, at a date yet to be fixed, will focus on the role of women mediators in Africa.
We will of course keep you informed as preparations move on. We hope that these discussions will generate useful insights for this Group of Friends, the UN and its Membership. We believe that by joining this Group of Friends, each country commits to explore ways to make mediation – and prevention – more relevant. I take this opportunity to welcome our newest co-members: Oman and the United Kingdom.
To conclude, I want to reiterate the financial and political commitment of Belgium to support the Secretary General’s efforts on conflict prevention and, together with all of you, to contribute further to the development of efficient mediation capacities and tools at the service of conflict prevention and sustaining peace. Mediation is an efficient instrument in our conflict prevention toolbox, as it can also help to tackle root causes of conflict. Belgium is convinced that the development of capacities and opportunities for mediation deserves more attention at the political level, as was clearly highlighted in the Brussels Conference. We will therefore remain actively engaged in this Group of friends of Mediation.