Tuesday, 21 November 2017 23:12

“Advancing Women in High Level Mediation” Policy Symposium

“Advancing women in high level mediation”- this was the key point of discussion of a small policy symposium held on 31 October at Durham University in the UK. Twelve participants from national governments, women mediator networks, NGOs including MediatEUr, as well as the UN, participated in the symposium to discuss current obstacles for women mediators, and define concrete recommendations on how to overcome them. In this context, the potential of women mediator networks, such as the currently established Mediterranean Network as well as the Nordic Network were underlined. It was also positively noted that the new UN Secretary General’s High Level Advisory Board on Mediation was comprised of 9 women and 9 men, making this one of the most representative high level bodies the UN has seen to date.


Key recommendations participants came up with included that national governments should make explicit commitments to equal nominations of men and women for key mediation posts, and ensure relevant policies and guidelines reflect this. Where states do not nominate on a 50/50 basis, an explanation should be made public as to why it was not possible to meet this requirement


Recognising the importance of states being visible in their backing for women who are nominated for mediation positions, another recommendation calls on national governments to release public statements of support from the highest possible political office, once a nomination is made.


It was also recognized that ultimately, work by states and networks to promote women mediators needs to be supported by the UN in its own high-level appointments process. Without greater transparency in the process, the success of efforts to increase the number of women in high-level mediation teams cannot be guaranteed. To this end, a recommendation calls on the Secretary General’s Office to take appropriate steps to make the high-level appointments process more transparent.