The Group of Friends of Mediation of the United Nations met on September 22 in New York on the opening week of the United Nations General Assembly. Slovakia participated in the meeting for the first time after being accepted as a member of the group together with Honduras and Austria.
The group led by Finland and Turkey promotes and advances mediation as a tool in peacefully settling conflicts and supports the development of mediation. The group also prepares resolutions for the General Assembly that deal with the topic of mediation. The General Assembly passed the fourth resolution prepared by the group in September. Following the recent expansion the group now has 44 member states as well as 8 member organizations, including the European Union.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland Timo Soini noted that the group has successfully brought mediation to the core of UN’s peace work and said that the group should be proud of its achievements. He also noted that although the work done for mediation has been important, it is not enough to prevent conflicts before they happen. He also brought up the active role of Finland as a promoter of mediation in other international organizations including the OSCE and European Union.
The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajčák also held a speech in which he emphasized the importance of mediation and preventive diplomacy in the work done for peace. The minister announced Slovakia’s readiness to further develop UN’s capacities in the area of mediation and conflict prevention. He also highlighted the importance the use of local mediators in the work done for peace.
The Group of Friends of Mediation meets annually on a ministerial level. Lower level meetings are held more regularly. This year’s meeting was the 7th ministerial level meeting. The group was formed in September 2010.