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Peace Week: natural resource mediation

UNEP has on November 17 hosted a high-level panel on how mediation can prevent, mitigate and resolve natural resources disputes.


The event was entitled ‘Natural Resources and Conflict: A Mediated Solution’ and was organised as part of Geneva Peace Week 2015 together with the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).


UNOG Director General Michael Møller opened the discussion and spoke about the existing infrastructure in Geneva for peace and mediation. The event featured an introductory panel with Ambassador Päivi Kairamo of Finland, Ambassador Mehmet Ferden Çarikçi of Turkey and Henrik Slotte, Chief of UNEP’s Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch. The panelists touched upon a broad range of issues related to mediation, including the Mediation for Peace Initiative, resource-sensitive mediation as tool for conflict prevention, as well as the importance of a gender-responsive approach.


Michael Brown, who is a member of the DPA Standby Team of Mediation Experts and Professor of Practice in Conflict Mediation at McGill University, then provided an overview of UNEP-UN DPA’s mediation guide ‘Natural Resources and Conflict: A Guide for Mediation Practitioners’.


This led into a moderated discussion including Alan Doss, Executive Director of the Kofi Annan Foundation and former Special Representative to the Secretary-General in DR Congo and Liberia; Isabelle Brissette, Risks and Human Rights Manager at Rio Tinto and Renée Larivière, Deputy Director-General of Interpeace.


Issues raised during the discussion included the challenges stemming from power asymmetry between stakeholders, and the potential of addressing natural resources through local and customary mechanisms. The need for further coordination and guidance on this topic was emphasised, as was the importance of having a holistic view on governance, prevention and dispute resolution.


For more information on UNEP’s work in the field of Environmental Cooperation for Peacebuilding, please click here.
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