In its resolution 70/304, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit a report to the Assembly at its seventy-second session on United Nations activities in support of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution. The present report is submitted pursuant to that request. It recognizes mediation as an important tool for conflict prevention, management and resolution; analyses five elements of mediation support, providing examples of United Nation activities within the framework of each element; and sets out the means through which the entities of the United Nations system can coordinate their support for mediation initiatives at different levels.
1. In its resolution 70/304 of 9 September 2016, the General Assembly requested that the Secretary-General report to the Assembly at its seventy-second session on United Nations activities in support of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution. The present report is submitted pursuant to that request.
2. With regard to the item on strengthening the role of mediation, the adoption of General Assembly resolution 70/304 was preceded by the adoption of Assembly resolutions 65/283 of 22 June 2011, 66/291 of 13 September 2012 and 68/303 of 31 July 2014, and the issuance of three reports. The first report (S/2009/189 of 8 April 2009) was prepared pursuant to a request by the Security Council, following its high-level meeting on mediation and settlement of disputes, held on 23 September 2008; the second report (A/66/811 of 25 June 2012) included the United Nations Guidance for Effective Mediation (annex I); and the third (A/70/328 of 19 August 2015) focused on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations on mediation.
3. In taking office as Secretary-General, I identified the inability to prevent crises as the most serious shortcoming of the international community, and have since reiterated my determination to prioritize prevention across the United Nations system. In my first address to the Security Council, on 10 January 2017, I placed emphasis on mediation as an important tool in this regard, informing the Council of my intention to launch an initiative to enhance the United Nations mediation capacity, both at Headquarters and in the field, and to support regional and national mediation efforts as part of my broader call for a surge in diplomacy for peace. In this report, I outline how the United Nations makes use of its capacities to support mediation while drawing on the diverse capabilities across the three pillars of peace and security, development and human rights. I also explain how I intend to strengthen our mediation support activities.
4. In the preparation of this report, the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat engaged with Member States of the regional groupings of the General Assembly as well as with the Group of Friends of Mediation. The Department of Political Affairs also consulted with representatives of international, regional and subregional organizations, the Mediation Support Network (a global network of primarily non-governmental organizations that support peace processes) and the academic community.