Statement by

His Excellency Dr Ali Naseer Mohamed, Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations

UNSC Open debate on Mediation and the peaceful resolution of conflicts

United Nations, New York, 29 August 2018

Thank you, Madam President,

I wish to thank United Kingdom, this month’s President of the Council, for convening today’s Open Debate on one of the most important instruments in the maintenance of international peace and security.

Mediation, as a tool of pacific settlement of disputes, will be effective only if the mediators and the mediation process is objective, inclusive, and most importantly, impartial. In the last ten years, the Secretary-General has taken important steps to enhance the abilities of the UN system in deploying various tools in preventing and resolving conflicts and sustaining peace. The establishment of the Mediation Support Unit in 2007 and the Standby Team of Senior Mediation Advisers in 2008 are two such important steps in the right direction.

While this institutional architecture is crucial, it is equally important that the UN’s mediation efforts are driven with the objective of addressing the root causes of conflicts, and the mediators are equipped with the right information. There have been instances where UN mediators, skilled with conflict prevention techniques, use the same tool-box in approaching to address political disputes. There is therefore a need for the UN to enhance its own diagnostic capabilities to ensure that right tools are used for the right situations.

As a number of speakers have highlighted today, the success of any mediation depends, to a large part, on the inclusiveness of the mediation team and mediation process. The UN can appoint more women mediators, who have the local knowledge, who understands the nuances of political and social relationships in a given situation, and enable such mediators to exert leverage.

At the same time, inclusiveness needs to be achieved here in the UN Headquarters, too. Chapter 6 of the UN Charter envisages a system where the Council and the Assembly work jointly, as a “One-UN”, to resolve conflicts. The Maldives would like to see that “oneness” is demonstrated more profoundly in designing and implementing mediation efforts.

Impartiality, or the lack of it, do play a decisive role in guaranteeing the success or failures of any mediation effort. The UN officials who are deployed as mediators, are expected to be impartial and objective. Gaps do exist, however, between such expectations, and the reality on the ground, and a result, different perceptions emerge, which do not always help the mediation process. There is therefore a need to ensure that, both the DPA here in New York, and the mediation team in the field, achieve maximum objectivity and impartiality in managing and implementing mediation efforts.

The ultimate objective of any mediation effort must go beyond the cessation of hostilities, or just the short-term prevention. It is the absence of a legitimate order, more than anything else that gives space for different kinds of disputes to evolve into conflicts. The mediation effort, whether it is aimed at preventing or managing an actual conflict or a dispute of any kind in an intra-State situation, should seek to increase the capacity of the State in the target country, to first of all, govern, and then establish a governing order that is rooted in the principles of the rule of law and good governance.

Thank you Madam President.