The General Assembly & Mediation
In accordance with Article 10 of the Charter, the General Assembly is empowered to discuss any question or matter within the scope of the Charter, and, subject to Article 12 of the Charter, may make recommendations to Member States or to the Security Council.
In accordance with Article 11 of the Charter, the General Assembly is specifically empowered to discuss any question or matter relating to the maintenance of international peace and security which is brought before it by a State or by the Security Council, and, except as provided in Article 12, may make recommendations to the State or States concerned or to the Security Council or to both.
Moreover, in accordance with Article 14 of the Charter, the General Assembly can 'recommend measures for the peaceful adjustment of any other situation, regardless of origin, which it deems likely to impair the general welfare or friendly relations among nations', subject to Article 12 of the Charter.
Support for the peaceful settlement of disputes has been reaffirmed in a number of General Assembly resolutions, which have helped develop a normative framework for the concept of mediation.
The Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes (annex to A/RES/37/10) reaffirmed the Charter Principle that all States shall settle their disputes by peaceful means and listed, inter-alia, negotiation, mediation and good offices as means of peaceful settlement. Adopted by consensus on 15 November 1982, the Declaration underlined the important role of the General Assembly in this field and stressed the need for it to effectively discharge its responsibilities.
In July 2011, the General Assembly adopted by consensus its first resolution specifically on mediation. The landmark resolution entitled "Strengthening the role of mediation in the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes, Conflict Prevention and Resolution" (A/RES/65/283) recognized the increased use of mediation, reflected on current challenges facing the international community in such mediation efforts and called on key actors to develop their mediation capacities.
The 66th Session of the General Assembly (2011-2012): a focus on mediation
With the increasing interest of Member States in the provisions of Chapter VI of the Charter, the President of the 66th Session of the General Assembly identified the 'peaceful settlement of disputes' as one of the four key areas for the session of the General Assembly. The theme 'the role of mediation in the settlement of disputes' was suggested for the General Debate in September 2011.
During the 66th Session, events were organized by the President of the General Assembly to promote mediation and collect the experiences of the international community on the matter. These events included an informal meeting on 'United Nations Mediation: Experiences and Reflections from the field' on 9 November 2011 and an informal high-level meeting on 'The Role of Member States in Mediation' on 23 May 2012.
As requested in General Assembly resolution 65/283, the Secretary-General prepared a report on the resolution’s implementation, including, as an annex, the United Nations Guidance for Effective Mediation (A/66/811). On 13 September 2012, the Secretary-General presented the report to Member States and the General Assembly adopted a further resolution (A/RES/66/291) taking note of the Secretary-General’s report and encouraging the use of the United Nations Guidance for Effective Mediation by all relevant actors. Furthermore, the General Assembly decided to continue its consideration of mediation on a biannual basis.
Group of Friends of Mediation
The Friends of Mediation co-chaired by Finland and Turkey, also provide a platform of support to mediation. More info.
Adopting by consensus a text on the topic, the Assembly encouraged the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations to continue to develop their mediation capacities; use United Nations Guidance for Effective Mediation in their efforts; and increase awareness of the importance of mediation through conferences, seminars and workshops. In that regard, it welcomed the “Mediation in the Mediterranean Initiative”. The Assembly, encouraging women’s equal and full participation in all forums and at all levels of the dispute settlement and conflict resolution process, encouraged the Secretary-General to continue to appoint women as chief or lead mediators and as members of teams in United Nations-sponsored peace processes. It also asked the Secretary-General to submit a report during the Assembly’s seventieth session on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations on mediation, as well as possible ways to enhance such cooperation, and requested regular briefings to promote closer consultation with Member States as well as regional and subregional organizations and to increase transparency.
The present General Assembly resolution takes note of the Secretary-General’s report “Strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution” and encourages the use of the United Nations Guidance for Effective Mediation by all relevant actors. Furthermore, the General Assembly decides to continue its consideration of mediation on a biannual basis.
The present resolution recognizes the increased use of mediation, reflects on current challenges facing the international community in such mediation efforts, and calls on key actors to develop their mediation capacities.
The 2005 World Summit Outcome, endorsed by General Assembly resolution 60/1, outlines a plan of action in four key areas: development, peace and collective security, human rights and strengthening of the United Nations. In particular, it calls for measures to promote a coherent and integrated approach to the prevention of armed conflict and to strengthen the capacity of the UN for the prevention of armed conflict.
The annex to the General Assembly resolution 37/10, also known as the Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes, reaffirms the principles set out in the Charter that all States shall settle their disputes by peaceful means and listed, inter-alia, negotiation, mediation and good offices as means to seek a peaceful settlement.