25 July 2011, Vienna, Austria. UNITAR’s Multilateral Diplomacy Programme (MDP) continues with its innovative training designs. On 20 July the programme for the first time connected the security-relevant agendas of Vienna-based organizations with the work of the United Nations Security Council in a briefing customized for Vienna-based diplomats. At the core of the one-day briefing was a panel with presentations from Directors and senior leaders at key institutions in Vienna: OSCE, CTBTO, IAEA, UNODC, and even UNIDO. Prior to the panel, the participants reviewed the constantly growing new security agenda of the Security Council, its changing working methods, and the general provisions of the UN Charter, in order to better follow the profound discussion later that day.
The well-experienced facilitator, Ambassador Walther Lichem, provided the participants with practical recommendations on how to better comprehend and support the work of the Security Council, primarily by creating synergies between this main UN body and the different international organizations, funds, and programmes in charge of peace and security. The participating diplomats gave a very positive feedback after the briefing, particularly because of its cross-cutting character covering diverse aspects of human security, e.g. climate change, nuclear disarmament, gender questions and sustainable development, and linking them to the agenda of Vienna-based organisations and programmes.
The power of negotiation skills
On Monday and Tuesday a second activity had provided the diplomatic community with vital skills for any negotiation environment. “I underestimated the benefit of the workshop until I attended it. It's very useful for every human being, either in public or private sector”, commented one of the diplomats later in the evaluation. The MDP trainer and expert in mediation and negotiation skills, Mr. Eric Blanchot, indeed helped the participants with their day-to-day business by equipping them with concrete tips and tools to increase their negotiation strategies in different occasions.
The first day was dedicated to the characteristics of a negotiation situation, the dynamics of the underlying prisoners’ dilemma, and the strategic tensions. Highly motivated the participants then were ready for a more difficult task on the second day: through an interactive simulation diplomats learnt how to resolve a conflict of interests within a multilateral negotiation. With the help of the trainer they all succeeded in identifying useful techniques to break negotiation deadlocks.
UNITAR wishes to express its gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria for enabling the workshops held at the United Nations Office in Vienna.