Martti Ahtisaari warns: The space for peace mediation is shrinking

Published on Wednesday, 15th of February 2017

CMI’s Chairman urged countries to defend international cooperation at a high-level conference held in Brussels.


“A solid international system is the best guarantor of peace that we have”, says Martti Ahtisaari. Photo: Tomas Whitehouse

CMI’s Chairman Martti Ahtisaari warns that there is reduced scope for peace mediation in today’s world. Giving an opening statement at a high-level international conference on peace mediation in Brussels on Tuesday, Ahtisaari said that “muscular diplomacy by governments” is diminishing the chances of  “patient and strategic” peace building.

“We have already seen some indications of policies that are cutting down the resources and political space for conflict prevention, mediation and sustainable development, and instead choosing to focus mainly on hard security measures and setting up of different kinds of barriers. This is very short-sighted.”

The Nobel Peace laureate and former President of Finland urged countries to stand up and defend international cooperation. The weakening of international systems and standards, Ahtisaari said, will create a more insecure world.

“Retreating back to silos and bunkers solves nothing. A solid international system is the best guarantor of peace that we have.”

The conference was organised by the government of Belgium and hosted by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Didier Reynders. The main aim of the conference was to examine the emerging difficulties facing peace mediation. Given that the number of conflicts and their complexity is increasing, mediation was highlighted as an essential instrument for preventing and resolving conflicts.