Mediation is one way in which diplomacy can prevent and resolve conflicts and increase the level of trust between the parties.
Mediation is an effective tool which can be used throughout the conflict cycle, from prevention to conflict mitigation and resolution. Lasting solutions to conflicts can only be achieved by addressing the underlying political, economic and social problems.
Through mediation a lasting peace can be achieved by creating a base for the building of political, economic and social institutions.
Finland works actively both to strengthen the country’s own mediation capacity and to further develop mediation at the international level. Finland’s objectives and activities in the field of mediation are defined in the Action Plan for Mediation, published in December 2011.
Finland works resolutely to promote international mediation and to maintain a dialogue on mediation in the country’s international connections.
The Group of Friends of Mediation in the UN
The Group of Friends of Mediation established by Finland and Turkey in 2010 has achieved tangible success in strengthening mediation. Thanks to the Group, the UN General Assembly adopted its first resolution on mediation in summer 2011, and this was followed by a follow-up resolution in summer 2012.
- On the basis of the first resolution on mediation, the UN Secretary-General prepared a report on and guidance for mediation, which were published in August 2012. The Secretary-General’s report and the guidance strengthen the profile of mediation as a tool for conflict prevention and resolution, while the guidance gives general guidelines for the mediators.
- The Group of Friends of Mediation met in Helsinki on 17-18 January 2013. The meeting was attended by representatives from about 30 countries as well as four regional organisations and the United Nations. Read more
Nordic mediation network
Finland works closely with the other Nordic countries to promote mediation. The Nordic mediation network initiated by Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja in December 2011 aims to strengthen cooperation and coordination among the Nordic actors and to increase the cooperation in the field of mediation training.
Support for regional organisations
Regional organisations often play a significant role in peace processes, as they know the conflict situations well and work in close proximity to the conflict and its parties. Finland grants the African Union 3 million euros in support for strengthening its mediation capacity during the years 2012–2014. In addition to the African Union, Finland collaborates with other regional organisations and resolutely seeks ways of strengthening their mediation capacities.
Strengthening the EU’s mediation capacity
Strengthening the European Union’s mediation capacity is important for Finland. In 2009, the EU adopted a concept plan for mediation, mapping the EU’s mediation capacity and its development.
- In the European External Action Service (EEAS), the Unit of Peacebuilding, Conflict Prevention and Mediation is responsible for matters relating to mediation. Finland supports the EEAS in strengthening its mediation capacities and considers it important that the EEAS Unit of Peacebuilding, Conflict Prevention and Mediation has adequate resources.
- In addition to supporting the EEAS mediation capacity Finland supports its initiative, presented together with Sweden, for a European Institute of Peace (EIP). The EEAS made a cost-benefit analysis of the initiative, aside from which the consulting firm MediatEUr investigated the possibilities and challenges the European Institute of Peace would face. The Institute could complement the structures and content of the EU’s own mediation work. As an independent institute, it could also act in situations where the EU itself would not be able to do so.
Our mediation capacity need not be built from scratch; experience and learning have accumulated through peace processes over the years in, among others, Northern Ireland, the Western Balkans, Aceh, the Horn of Africa and the South Caucasus. Finland applies this past experience of mediation and continues further development of the country’s mediation capacity from this base.
Development of mediation capacity
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Finland’s diplomatic missions around the world play an important role in developing Finland’s mediation capacity.
- The diplomatic missions and the regional departments of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs have important information about areas of conflict and humanitarian efforts throughout the world, which helps to identify the needs for mediation activities.
- In order to attain the necessary expertise and mediation capacity, networking with various civil society actors, at both the national and international level, is however very important, because the civil society organisations and other experts often have knowledge and experience gathered from the field even of situations inaccessible to our network of diplomatic missions.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has a mediation appropriation of 400,000 euros to be used to support sudden mediation needs.
Mediation Coordinator and the national Coordination Group
A Mediation Coordinator works within the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry convenes the national Coordination Group on mediation.
The Coordination Group brings together actors relevant to mediation from different sectors of society so that they can share information on mediation and peace processes and seek possible forms of cooperation.
Special representatives for mediation
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has two special representatives for mediation:
- Member of Parliament Pekka Haavisto, the Foreign Minister’s Special Representative to the Horn of Africa and Sudan;
- Kimmo Kiljunen, Ph.D. (Pol.Sc.), the Foreign Minister’s Special Representative to regional mediation tasks.
UN Security Council Resolution 1325
Finland’s mediation activities pay special attention to increasing the role and ownership of women in peace processes in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, “Women, Peace and Security”.
- Finland has its own National Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325, and our experience has also been shared with partners in countries such as Kenya and Afghanistan. Women have a highly important role in bringing about lasting peace, and it is essential that they have access to the negotiating table both as peace brokers and as part of society. Women must be seen first and foremost as crucial actors and not merely as victims of the conflict.
- UN provides Guidance for Effective Mediation (United Nations, Department of Political Affairs)
- Report of the Secretary-General on strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution (United Nations, 25 June 2012)
- Resolution adopted by the General Assembly (United Nations, 28 July 2011)
Report of the Secretary-General on enhancing mediation and its support activities (United Nations, 8 April 2009)
- Group of Friends of Mediation convened in Helsinki (MFA, Press Releases 1/24 2013)
- Group of Friends of Mediation convenes in Helsinki (MFA, Press Releases, 1/15 2013)
- Speech by Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja at the Group of Friends of Mediation (17 January 2013)
- Speech by Secretary of State Torstila at the Crisis Management and Mediation – Nordic experiences Seminar (28 September 2012)
- Speech by Minister Tuomioja at the Friends of Mediation Ministerial Breakfast in New York (27 September 2012)
- Speech by Minister Tuomioja of the launch of the Guidance for Effective Mediation (27 September 2012)
- Speech by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the 67th session of the UN General Assembly (25th September 2012)
- Speech by Minister Tuomioja at the IAPTC Annual Conference (17 September 2012)
- Speech by Minister Tuomioja at seminar on Peace Mediation in Geneva (19 June 2012)
- Statement by Minister Tuomioja at a High-Level Meeting on Mediation in New York (23 May 2012)
- Speech by Foreign Minister Tuomioja at international peace mediation conference in Brussels (25 April 2012)
- Minister Tuomioja's speech at the Istanbul Conference on Mediation (25 February 2012)
- Foreign Minister Tuomioja's speech at a panel discussion on Women, Peace and Security in Afghanistan (16 February 2012)
- Action Plan for Mediation (PDF)
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
14 December 2011
PDF ISBN 978-951-724-977-5
- Peace Mediation – Finland’s Guidelines (PDF)
Report by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Published 6 May 2010
- Towards Enhancing the Capacity of the African Union in Mediation (PDF)
Seminar report 2010
- UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) "Women, peace and security" (PDF)
Finland's national action plan 2008-2011
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Helsinki 2008