Oliver McTernan and Julian Weinberg were invited to participate in the 6th Istanbul Mediation Conference, organised by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, entitled “International Peace Mediation: Taking Stock and looking Ahead.”

H.E. Mevlüt Çavusoglu, Foreign Ministry of Turkey, opened the conference and stressed importance of effective mediation and preventive diplomacy in the resolution of conflicts. The Foreign Minister highlighted how one third of the world’s population, 2 billion people, live countries affected by conflicts. And, conflicts have more complex, internationalised, with a shift in the commonly understood drivers of conflict. Today, it is not only material interests and competition of States that are dominant causes of conflict, but also terrorism, climate change and poverty. The Foreign Minister stated that efforts to resolve conflict would need to take into consideration these changing dynamics of conflict.

H.E. Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations was the keynote speaker and addressed the conference. In his speech he emphasised that mediation is “one of our most important tools to reduce and end conflict”, and that mediation and dialogue are bringing positive results in efforts to reduce conflict and human suffering across the world. Mediation, he said, addresses both the root causes and consequences of conflict.

The conference brought together leading conflict mediation practitioners including the UN High Level Advisory Board on Mediation, foreign ministry officials, academics, journalists and students from across the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities in mediation and conflict.