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Ban gathers heads of regional organizations to boost cooperation on crises

11 January 2010 – The United Nations and regional organizations will seek to further enhance their burgeoning cooperation in peacemaking and peacekeeping, conflict prevention and crisis management at a high-level two-day retreat beginning today outside New York City, hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Over the past few years, the UN and regional and other organizations have developed a web of cooperative relationships in various areas, including mediation, electoral matters, peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance. Today the majority of UN peace and security activities around the world are undertaken in cooperation with regional or sub-regional organizations.

The joint UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) which is overseeing peacekeeping and mediation efforts in that war-torn region of Sudan is but one of many such examples. Capacity-building activities have also greatly expanded.

Regional and sub-regional organizations bring unique insight to bear and have a special interest in responding to regional political and security crises, while the UN has more than 60 years of experience in peacemaking, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and peace-building, UN officials stress.

Deepening partnerships for effective action in the field requires strong relationships, drawing on distinct mandates and comparative advantages and the retreat is intended to provide an intimate, informal forum for evaluating what has worked so far, and how future cooperation can be improved.

The retreat will be followed by a Security Council debate on Wednesday on UN-regional cooperation, at which Mr. Ban and other top-level participants will speak.

The meeting begins this evening with an address by Mr. Ban on “Global Realities and Regional Challenges,” and the agenda also includes time for informal interactions between the participants. Mr. Ban plans to hold bilateral meetings with a number of the participants to allow for focused discussions on regional hotspots as well as cooperation on broader global issues.

Retreat participants include the heads of African Union Commission (AU), Caribbean Community, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), League of Arab States, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organization of American States (OAS), Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIF), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Southern African Development Community (SADC), and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

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