United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’s Opening remarks at press encounter with Foreign Minister of Norway Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide and Prime Minister of Somalia Hassan Ali Khaire on the margins of the Oslo Forum.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, it’s a pleasure to be with all of you today. Indeed, we live in a dangerous world where we see a multiplication of new conflicts, old conflicts that seem never to die, and conflicts becoming more and more interlinked and more linked to what is now a new threat of global terrorism. There was always terrorism in the world, but this form of global terrorism is indeed new, and terrorism can strike anywhere at any time.
There are very strong reasons for us to do everything to prevent conflict and to do everything to solve conflict. As a matter of fact the number of countries with violent conflicts is the highest in the last 30 years. If we compare with 2007 and consider the number of violent situations that can be qualified as war according to the number of casualties, they have tripled. If we consider low intensity conflicts since 2007, they have increased by 60 per cent.
At the same time, taking as a reference 2005, when we had the lowest number of people being killed in battle, we have now tenfold that level, which means that the situation is indeed deteriorating in the world. That means that prevention is more necessary than ever, and the more difficult conflict resolution is the more important prevention becomes. But to prevent is not enough because conflicts are there, they need to be solved, and so mediation becomes an absolutely fundamental instrument in our action. Formal mediation but also backdoor mediation that helps bring together parties and especially the mediation that goes down, that trickles down, that involves communities, that involves societies, that manages to guarantee reconciliation, stability, cohesion and inclusivity in today’s world.
During this period, Oslo will be the world capital of mediation, which means the world capital of peace. This is well deserved because Norway always has had a very strong commitment to support all UN activities in mediation but beyond that, Norway has always been directly involved in mediation activities around the world helping to solve several of the conflicts that we have heard about. Fortunately, thanks to Norway’s commitment they were possible to be resolved in the past. Norway is extremely active in helping the grassroots, allowing for bottom-up initiatives to be more widespread in the world, and that is reason for us to be extremely grateful for the action of the Norwegian government and the Norwegian people, and a reason for me to be extremely happy to be with you today.