More than 50 international mediation experts, government officials and conflict actors are in Mexico this week to explore how to support and advance peace initiatives in the region.
The first Oslo Forum retreat on Latin America and the Caribbean, the two-day gathering offers a discreet and informal setting for key regional actors to discuss current conflicts and tools for resolution. They will also consider lessons from past peace processes that are relevant for today’s mediation efforts in the region and beyond.
The event – hosted by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) – is part of the Oslo Forum, the leading series of retreats for the international mediation and peacemaking community.
This week’s retreat is the result of a strategic partnership between Norway and Mexico after they served as elected members of the UN Security Council in 2021 and 2022. Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Norway’s Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt welcomed participants from across the region.
“Stability in Latin America and the Caribbean is intertwined with global security. As the first of its kind in the region, the retreat will offer a unique opportunity for new perspectives towards sustained peace. We hope the meeting will speed efforts to bring together different sides of conflicts,” Huitfeldt said.
“The region has seen significant turmoil in recent years, with conflicts exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change,” said David Harland, HD’s Executive Director. “This meeting can change the dynamic by enriching understanding and efforts to support peace, stability and prosperity across Latin America and the Caribbean.”
The retreat includes sessions on Colombia, Venezuela, Haiti and Central America. It will also explore realistic objectives when negotiating with gangs and criminal organisations as well as possible responses to social protests and political mobilisation taking place across the region.
The Mediator’s Studio, a fixture of the Oslo Forum, will feature an in-depth discussion with veteran peace negotiator Álvaro de Soto.
Born in 2003 from a modest meeting, the Oslo Forum has grown to become the pre-eminent annual retreat for mediators. The closed-door discussions under the Chatham House Rule of non-attribution allow participants to speak openly and put forwards ideas for sustainable solutions to violent conflicts.
Past guests include Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Jimmy Carter, former US President; Mohammad Javad Zarif, former Foreign Minister of Iran; Juan Manuel Santos, former President of Colombia; Fatou Bensouda, former Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court; Retno Marsudi, Foreign Minister of Indonesia; and Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa.
Click here to read and download the full Oslo Forum 2022 report.
Click here for Seasons 1-4 of The Mediator’s Studio podcast series with prominent peacemakers.