News 2008


UN launches first expert team on conflict mediation


Wed, 05 Mar 2008

New York - Experts will be on standby to help the United Nations deal with crises around the world as part of a Mediation Support Standby Team, the UN Department of Political Affairs said Wednesday in launching its first such team.

The five-member team, that sent two members to Kenya this week, will assist UN envoys charged with resolving crises and will spend most of its time in areas prone to conflicts, said B Lynn Pascoe, the UN undersecretary general for political affairs and a former US ambassador.

"Successful conflict mediation is a complex enterprise requiring precisely the kind of mobile expertise this new team can provide," Pascoe said.

"Even the most experienced envoys cannot do it alone. They can benefit from the kind of timely and expert advice that this team has to offer."

The team is funded by the Norwegian government, but the UN political affairs department has sole authority to manage the team and its work, including dispatching the experts to hot spots.

The team is headed by Joyce Neu of the United States, the founder and executive director of the Joan B Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego. Other team members are Jeffrey Mapendere (Zimbabwe), an expert on security arrangements; Patrick Gavigan (US-Ireland) on transitional justice and human rights; John McGarry (Canada) on power-sharing; and Andrew ladley (New Zealand) on constitution-making.