World peace negotiators meet in Uppsala, Sweden

Seven of the most important peace negotiators in the world, former and active Special Representatives to the UN Secretary-General in Mediation and Conflict Resolution (SRSG), met in Uppsala, Sweden for two days to discuss and share experiences.

Event details

Date:15 October 2013
Venue:Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, Sweden

The workshop was lead by Annika Söder, Executive Director of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, and Manuel Fröhlich from the Jena University in Germany.

Particpants were Martti Ahtisaari (Finland); Aldo Ajello (Italy); Jean Arnault (France); Karin Landgren (Sweden); Staffan de Mistura (Italy/Sweden); Jan Pronk (Netherlands); and Álvaro de Soto (Peru),

Together they have negotiated in the most difficult conflicts in all the regions of the world, such as Namibia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Georgia, Liberia, Iraq, Sudan, Central America and Burma, to mention a few.

“It’s an opportunity for me as still active SRSG to learn from all the others’ experiences”, said Karin Landgren.

“I’m 76 years old now and don’t want any new assignments, however, it’s all different at the moment because I have an organisation with 20 staff members that help me”, Martti Ahtisaari explained referring to CMI, Crisis Management Intiative, an NGO he started in Finland.

When they were asked to mention some of the difficulties with mediation that they discuss in the workshop, Ahtisaari said:

“It’s easy for us in the Nordic Countries to think that administration of a country ‘just works’ and we have faith in these institutions, however, in many countries where we have been active as SRSGs this trust of governance is not there, and there is no supportive administration either. So you can decide on something and everybody agrees, but there is no easy way of carrying it out”.

“When I was asked why the tax payers should continue to pay millions of dollars to support Afghanistan I said: ‘If only 50% of the people in Afghanistan is doing well we need to continue to pay and help the other 50% – that is all the women!’, said Staffan de Mistura.

The researchers will produce a report of the workshop.