I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
The EU appreciates the strong emphasis given to topic of mediation during the 66th Session of the General Assembly.
Let me thank the Secretary-General for his presentation of the report and the Guidance for Effective Mediation. We commend the way the report addresses various aspects of mediation activities and value the Secretary-General’s efforts to promote the use of mediation. Based on the General Assembly Resolution of last year, the EU considers the report and the Guidance a positive development which paves way for further progress.
The persistence of conflicts worldwide fuels the need for strengthened mediation capacities. The value of mediation efforts is more evident in current circumstances. The complexity of many crisis situations contributes to the challenge of mediation and underlines the need for inclusive mediation processes with skilful mediators.
The EU appreciates the way in which the Guidance was prepared. The inclusive process of consultations enabled relevant actors to contribute to this important endeavour. The outcome is a useful tool for mediators and mediation support teams across the world who will benefit from its comprehensive approach. By presenting the fundamentals of mediation, the Guidance includes essential elements to be addressed when setting up a mediation process as well as during the course of mediation efforts. We encourage the wide dissemination of the guidance which can serve as a useful reference tool. This will contribute to the aim of having a broad range of mediators with the right set of skills and knowledge of the issues that need to be given due consideration in a mediation process.
Naturally, there are likely to be different views regarding some of the points included as the Guidance in itself is a toolkit while a particular approach is always defined case-by-case. Hence, the Guidance does not offer a cookie-cutter solution to a crisis situation. We welcome the importance attached to vital issues such as inclusivity of mediation processes, coherence, coordination and complementarity of the mediation effort, and the quality of a peace agreement. For instance the recommendation to have a single lead mediator is very helpful.
Regarding International law, we stress the need for mediators to act strictly within the established normative framework. For example, when it comes to inclusivity, we see that contacts of UN mediators with actors that have been indicted by the ICC are to be limited essential contact only, for example to what is required in order to save lives. When it comes to judicial processes, we recall the previous reports of the Secretary-General which established that Mediators should leave justice to follow its course.
We welcome the continued strong focus on capacity-building for national and local actors. The report provides many positive examples of national and local efforts and we need to continue to build on those. The strong emphasis given to women’s participation is appreciated and we encourage the further steps which the Secretary-General intends to take in this respect.
Regional, subregional and other international organizations as well as NGOs are increasingly involved in mediation activities. The EU, in its turn, attaches great importance to mediation, and continues to enhance its own mediation capacities. Considering the growing number of actors involved in mediation, partnerships and coordination have become essential.
Let me conclude by encouraging, once more, all relevant actors to disseminate and utilise the Guidance on Effective Mediation. We look forward to reviewing further progress on mediation in the 68th Session of the General Assembly.
* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of EFTA and the European Economic Area.