The UN Group of Friends, part of the UN Peacemaker, was set up in 2010 to promote mediation as a tool, particularly in conflict zones. Since its inception, It has drafted and negotiated four mediation resolutions. The latest resolution I mentioned in a previous Passle post ('Mediation on the global stage') relating to women, peace and security. 

The 'club' is an impressive list of UN member states and regional organisations. The UK only joined in 2016 and what interests me most is the 'initiators' - Finland and Turkey. Turkey has had mediation in a voluntary capacity since 2013, specifically in terms of commercial cases, but for international conflict it has recently taken a progressive step forward, driven most likely by the continuing conflict in Syria, with its recent support of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) mediation activities, as documented here: Turkey and the OIC.  

Finland's path to mediation is equally impressive - it was the first country to initiate mediation for the UN in 2011. Its Ministry for Foreign Affairs is an advocate of mediation in terms of international conflict and impressively, it has its own Nordic Women Mediators' Network. However, Finland has supported the mediation movement since 2003 with the Finish Forum for Mediation - an organisation with a goal of reinforcing the civil society and bettering the society’s well-being through mediation. The country's emphasis on mediation and in particular on inclusion was discussed at a meeting in Oslo recently (at the Ninth High-Level Seminar on Gender and Inclusive Mediation Processes). This session looked at 'how-to' strategies and tools for a more inclusive mediation process, by expanding participation and opportunities for women and civil society in implementation bodies.

Both of these 'initiator countries' are using mediation and mediation techniques for international disputes and beyond, and the positive steps they are making should encourage more countries, not just UN Member States, to follow suit.

Ned Collier is the Marketing & Communications Manager at CEDR