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People retain key role in mediation while new technologies gain ground

A champion of preventive diplomacy and mediation, Slovenia has been a member of the Group of Friends of Mediation from its inception in 2010 at the initiative of Finland and Turkey. The group currently has fifty-eight members.

Address by Foreign Minister Dr Miro Cerar

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On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, the Group held its tenth ministerial meeting, which was also attended by the Slovenian foreign minister, featuring an exchange of views on using new technologies in mediation.

At the meeting, Minister Dr Miro Cerar pointed to new opportunities and new legal challenges in mediation introduced by artificial intelligence. As part of International Law Weekend in New York in late October, Slovenia will be hosting an event focusing on the use of artificial intelligence and respect for human rights. The event will be jointly organised by Slovenia, the Council of Europe and the UN.

“The success of mediation primarily depends on people. I would like to thank all mediators for their indispensable role,” said Minister Cerar in his address, adding that it is important to include youth in mediation.

In August 2017, Slovenia began implementing a pilot project for school and peer mediation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is based on the experience of Slovenian schools. The first phase, in 2017/18 school year, included nine teachers from three elementary schools in Brčko, Gračanica and Doboj. A Slovenian coach helped familiarise them with school mediation, and they also learned more about peer mediation techniques. In the next school year, the project was extended to include more schools, also incorporating a train-the-trainer programme with a view to guaranteeing its long-term effectiveness. This school year, the project is offered at twenty-nine primary schools, including eighty-three teachers and more than 340 children.

At the initiative of the Group of Friends, the UN General Assembly has adopted four resolutions on mediation (in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016).