Turkey’s recent efforts regarding mediation, which bears utmost importance in terms of solving international conflicts through peaceful means, are continuing at an increasing pace. Within the framework of Turkey’s activities concerning this initiative, the Istanbul Conference on Mediation will be held under the theme of “Enhancing Peace through Mediation” in Istanbul on 24-25 February 2012.
Basically, İstanbul Conference on Mediation is foreseen as a platform that provides opportunity to exchange views among academics specialized in mediation, NGOs working on that field, representatives of the UN and other regional organizations.
Nearly 250 local and foreign experts, academics, NGO representatives, UN officials and diplomats have been invited to the conference. Among them are heads of the departments of international relations of all universities in Turkey, as well.
During the Conference, a wide range of issues on different aspects of mediation will be discussed in a broad framework. In this regard, the increasing relevance of non-governmental actors in conflict resolution and the coordination and capacity building challenges associated with that will be thoroughly examined. Furthermore, the UN’s evolving role in mediation and alternative approaches to mediation will also be taken up.
Moreover, the idea of UN regional offices on mediation is expected to be discussed. In this regard, it will be addressed that Istanbul will be an ideal preference for such an Office, for both political and geographical reasons as well as logistical and organizational experience.
Furthermore, as part of the Conference a simulation of mediation will be carried out by the students of the Sabancı University. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil and President of the UN General Assembly will also attend this activity.
“Mediation for Peace” initiative was launched by Turkey and Finland in September 2010 at the margins of the 65th UN General Assembly. Moreover, a Group of Friends was established to inculcate a culture of international ownership of the Alliance. Membership in the Group of Friends has expanded in at impressive pace, and today boasts over 34 members composed of 8 international/regional organizations and 26 countries.
The UN General Assembly resolution on mediation 65/283, adopted as part of this initiative in June 2011, also underlines the importance of this initiative. Draft resolution was submitted by 68 co-sponsors and adopted without voting.
Mediation in which Turkey has undertaken a leading role is among the priorities of the 66th session of UN in 2012. A high level meeting on mediation will be held at the UN General Assembly on 23 May 2012. Turkish President and Foreign Minister are invited to this meeting, as well.