The international community’s inability to respond adequately to complex and protracted conflicts has led to unbearable human suffering and the largest forced displacement since World War Two. The Secretary General of the United Nations is determined to prioritise early action and to leverage effective diplomatic networks to prevent wars, to build fairer, resilient and more inclusive societies. He has called for a surge in diplomacy for peace and has emphasized mediation and dialogue at the international, regional and local levels as important tools in this regard. As a member of his recently established High Level Advisory Board on Mediation, Dr Heyzer will look at some of the current challenges to mediation, factors that support mediation and the use of a more comprehensive approach for addressing both the drivers of conflict and the drivers of peace, bringing together the Sustaining Peace Agenda, SCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda to “leave no one behind”.
About the Speaker:
Dr Noeleen Heyzer is a RSIS Distinguished Visiting Fellow. Dr Heyzer was an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and the highest ranking Singaporean in the United Nations (2007-2015). She was recently appointed as a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation. Prior to this appointment, Dr Heyzer served as the UNSG’s Special Adviser for Timor-Leste, working to support peace-building, state-building, and sustainable development. She was the first woman to serve as the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific since its founding in 1947. Under her leadership (Aug 2007-Jan 2014), the commission focused on regional co-operation for a more resilient Asia-Pacific, founded on shared prosperity, social equity, and sustainable development. She was at the forefront of many innovations including for regional disaster preparedness, inclusive socio-economic policies, sustainable agriculture and urbanization, energy security and regional connectivity. She was the first Executive Director from the south to lead the United Nations Development Fund for Women. She was widely recognized for the formulation and implementation of the landmark of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security. She holds a BA (Upper Hons) and a MSc from Singapore University, a PhD from Cambridge University, and has received numerous awards for leadership.