Dear Colleagues, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to address this high-level meeting organized by Spain and Morocco. Mediation, particularly strengthening international mediation structures, is a central part of Finnish foreign policy. We have initiated together with Turkey the Group of Friends of Mediation. Now more and more UN Member States have become actively engaged in mediation efforts. Our group has also grown, and we have altogether 32 Member States, the UN and 7 regional organizations as members.
The Group of Friends of Mediation has brought together both traditional and new emerging mediators. The General Assembly recently adopted the second resolution on mediation, which gives us a platform to assess and increase our efforts in Mediation bi-annually. We also have a report of the Secretary-General, which addresses a number of important topics. Most notably, we have the UN Guidance for Effective Mediation, which will assist mediators to work in a more professional manner. Even though there is no one-size-fits-all formula to successful mediation, the Guidance is a much needed reference document. Regional initiatives related to the dissemination and promotion of the use of the Guidance as well as capacity-building would be very welcome and maybe this will be part of your initiative as well.
The initiative of Morocco and Spain on ”Mediation in the Mediterranean Region” is an excellent example on how to further enhance regional cooperation and coordination between the different actors involved in mediation efforts. As one of the co-chairs of the Group of Friends of Mediation, I am very proud to witness today a concrete example of the broadening of the activities of Friends to the regional level with this important initiative. I want to express my congratulations and warm thanks to my Spanish and Moroccan colleagues for their efforts. I would also like to encourage all of us to pay more attention to local, national and regional level activities in mediation.
Regional groupings are often better suited to address specific regional problems. This is due to the limited size of the group, strong regional focus as well as sometimes a common language, religion, cultural heritage and methods of operation.
I wish to emphasize one issue we find highly important in order to improve the level of professionalism in mediation: the participation of women in peace processes. We need to gear up our efforts to increase women’s involvement in all stages and levels of peace-processes in line with Security Council Resolution 1325.
I would like to thank Spain and Morocco for inviting us as a co-chair of the Group of Friends of Mediation to participate in this excellent meeting and wish you success in your endeavors for peace and stability.