In this essay, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, discusses the importance of coherence and complementarity between the UN and other mediation actors in peacemaking efforts. He outlines how the evolving field of peacemaking calls for an evolution of the UN’s role towards closer engagement, consultation and co-ordination with non-UN mediation actors, and a better combination of their peacemaking efforts and skills. Using the example of the UN’s involvement in Libya, Ambassador Feltman highlights how the multilateral organisation may benefit from working with mediation actors who enjoy more flexibility, and in particular a lower profile, that allows them to connect more easily with some of the ‘harder-to-reach’ actors within a conflict.
The essay, ‘UN Envoys as conductors, not soloists’ was prepared as a Background Paper for the 2019 Oslo Forum. Co-hosted annually by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and HD, the Forum brings together more than 100 of the world’s most prominent conflict mediators, high-level decision-makers and other peace-process actors, for two days of informal discussions to reflect on current peacemaking trends and challenges. The Forum is the leading international network of conflict mediation practitioners and aims to improve the practice of conflict mediation by facilitating open exchanges and reflections across institutional and conceptual divides, providing informal networking opportunities and allowing space for conflict parties to advance their negotiations. Past participants have included John F. Kerry, Federica Mogherini, Kofi Annan, Juan Manuel Santos and Fatou Bensouda.