Swedish Statment at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Mediation


National statement delivered by Ambassador Carl Skau on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on "Maintencance of international peace and security: mediation and settlement of disputes", 29 August 2018, New York.

Mr. President,

Let me start by thanking you for this important opportunity to discuss how to strengthen the role of mediation. I also want to thank the briefers for their insightful and very input to this discussion today.

Mr. President,

In January 2017 the Secretary General presented his vision for a surge in diplomacy to the Council in an open debate organized under the Swedish presidency. This vision is on its way to being realized and should be actively supported by all member states. We commend the diplomatic efforts of the Secretary General and his envoys in using the SG’s good offices function to defuse tensions and resolve conflicts often behind the scenes with quiet diplomacy.

The DPA mediation unit and the high-level board of mediation make important contributions in these efforts. Recently, we have seen the crafting of an agreement between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and how the Advisory Board on Mediation was successfully used in the Liberian election by the deployment by President Obasanju, as referred to by the SG. We continue to encourage a flexible and proactive use of the Advisory Board.

UN diplomatic work for peaceful settlement of disputes and for international peace and security must have the full support of this Council as well as adequate and predictable funding under the regular budget.

International law provides a common basis for addressing the root causes of conflicts such as violation of human rights, international humanitarian law, justice and inequalities.

Mr. President,

While significant progress has been made to strengthen the capacity for mediation, allow me to highlight three areas where we think that further efforts are needed:

Firstly, gender mainstreaming and women’s participation in mediation

·       And I’m happy to note that on this issue there seems to be resounding consensus at today’s debate. And let me also thank Mossaret Qadeem for her thought provoking contribution. This is not a women’s issue, but a peace and security issue. Women’s participation is not a box that can be ticked by adding one or two women in negotiation teams or creating a separate mechanism where women only have an advisory role. Women and men must participate on equal terms at all levels of political and peace processes.

·       More women should be appointed as UN Special Envoys and senior members of mediation teams. Member states must make this possible by nominating more women candidates. The Swedish Women’s Mediation Network was launched in 2015 for this purpose and there are now several women’s mediation networks as was referred to by the Secretary General.

·       Mediation support teams must have adequate gender expertise to understand how women’s rights are part of the issues under discussion

Secondly, inclusivity and multi-track diplomacy

·       As underlined by the archbishop, mediation should be inclusive in order to take into consideration the needs of all segments of society. The participation of local communities, civil society including youth organizations, in peace and mediation processes is essential for solutions to take root, and must be given higher priority. Therefore, mediation capacity must also be strengthened at national and local levels.

·       Regional and sub-regional organizations play a crucial role in anticipating conflict risks, responding quickly, providing strong expertise and establishing relationships for effective mediation. Examples include ECOWAS’ efforts to ensure peaceful and democratic transition in the Gambia last year and IGAD’s continuous efforts in South Sudan. The regional UN offices are critical to support and complement these regional efforts.


Thirdly, and maybe most importantly, international unity

·       The Council must stand united in supporting UN mediation efforts, giving envoys and mediation teams the leverage that they need to succeed -especially in situations that are politically complex. Regrettably, too often divisions within the Council add to the challenges a UN mediator must overcome to succeed.

·       Furthermore, there are also situations outside of the council’s regular agenda that require preventive diplomacy and mediation support; Cameroon, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, to mention some current situation.

·       In order to be responsive with mediation when needed, the Security Council needs more briefings and reporting on early warning and looming conflicts, including on human rights violations. The Council also needs to follow through on mediation efforts throughout the conflict cycle and not relent until durable peace has been achieved.

·        For this, not least in this council, on the urgency to do better in preventing conflict is needed. For this agreement among council members is urgently needed.


Mr. President,

Sweden will continue supporting mediation efforts politically and through predictable funding to funds and programmes, as well as supporting DPA through the Folke Bernadotte Academy in providing training and capacity-building

We will also continue to work for unity of purpose in this Council, in support of the SG and his representatives in their mediation efforts to manage and prevent conflicts. This is the duty of this Council as set out in the UN Charter.


Thank you.


Lisa Laskaridis
Head of Press and Communication, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN
Phone +1 212 583 2543
Mobile +1 917 239 0941
email to Lisa Laskaridis