The Secretary-General & Mediation
The good offices and mediation roles of the Secretary-General in the prevention and the peaceful settlement of disputes derive from the Charter and have been developed through extensive practice. These roles can be set in motion at the Secretary-General’s own initiative, in response to a request from one or more of the parties to a dispute, or as a result of a request from the Security Council or the General Assembly.
Article 98 of the Charter provides that the Secretary-General, in addition to acting in that capacity in all meetings of the General Assembly, of the Security Council, of the Economic and Social Council and of the Trusteeship Council, ‘shall perform such other functions as are entrusted to him by these organs’. These often include functions in the field of the prevention and the peaceful settlement of disputes.
Article 99 of the Charter provides that the Secretary-General may 'bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter that in his opinion may threaten international peace and security'.
The role of the Secretary-General as an important peacemaking actor has evolved through extensive practice. The range of activities carried out by the Secretary-General has included good offices, mediation, facilitation, dialogue processes and even arbitration.
The Secretary-General may take action himself or may appoint special representatives and envoys to carry out good offices and mediation on his behalf. Numerous representatives of the Secretary-General also engage in peace talks or crisis diplomacy while overseeing UN political or peacekeeping missions in the field, which may have mandates to help nations and regions resolve conflicts and tensions peacefully.
The present report outlines progress made in implementing the General Assembly resolution 65/283 entitled “Strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution”, in the context of key trends in the field of mediation. Also submitted as annexes to the present report are the Guidance for Effective Mediation and the views of Member States.
The report examines the opportunities and the challenges the United Nations and its partners currently face in conducting preventive diplomacy in a changing political and security landscape. Focusing specifically on diplomatic action taken to prevent or mitigate the spread of armed conflict, the report describes the relevance of preventive diplomacy across the conflict spectrum and as part of broader, nationally owned strategies to promote peace.
The present report examines the challenges faced by the United Nations and its partners in providing professional mediation assistance to parties in conflict. It describes the need for experienced and knowledgeable mediators and support teams, with women adequately represented, and sufficient resources to provide assistance at an early stage to help parties design and pursue processes that will address the root causes of their conflicts, overcome obstacles that block progress, and achieve agreements that lead to sustainable peace.