‘Towards a Level Playing Field’ — UN Institute for Training and Research, Olof Palme Memorial Fund to Launch 2010 Negotiation Training Series for Diplomats

NEW YORK, 26 May (UNITAR) — Today, the Olof Palme Memorial Fund, Sweden, and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) are launching the 2010 Negotiation Training Series “Towards a level playing field”, aimed at enhancing diplomats’ negotiation skills.  With the generous support of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, this Series marks the fourth year of collaboration between the Olof Palme Memorial Fund and UNITAR.

Building on the solid reputation built over the years, the Negotiation Series aims to strengthen the capacity of diplomats, particularly those from developing and the least developed countries, to negotiate effectively in multilateral conferences.  Taking place in United Nations Headquarters in New York, the 2010 Series consists of three introductory workshops on effective negotiation in multilateral conferences — offered in English and French — and three advanced workshops on women in diplomacy, environmental negotiations and climate change diplomacy, and negotiating international peace and security.

Instructed by experts in negotiation techniques and experienced negotiators in the art of negotiating and conference diplomacy, more than 200 diplomats are expected to benefit from the workshops this year.  They will gain practical knowledge and skill sets necessary to succeed in each stage of the multilateral negotiation process.

Notably, in line with the growing importance attached to women’s empowerment at the national, regional and international levels, this year’s Series offers a pioneering workshop on women in diplomacy.  The workshop provides a unique opportunity for female diplomats to hone practical negotiation and leadership skills that will help in advancing to leading positions.

“Diplomats from developing countries and the least developed countries remain disadvantaged in negotiations.  They are vastly outnumbered at the negotiation table, with grave consequences on complex issues of vital interest for developing countries,” says Ambassador Pierre Schori, Head of the Swedish Olof Palme Memorial Fund.  “With these workshops, we want to contribute to a level playing field so that representatives from the developing world can influence the course of international affairs with greater weight.  Enhancing women’s capacity and presence in international negotiations is critical in that context, since global concerns such as peace and security or climate change will only be effectively addressed while including also the voice of women”. 

In his opening remarks, Cheick Sidi Diarra, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, pointed out:  "From environmental negotiations to international peace and security talks, the art of negotiation is an essential skill that often determines the outcome of international negotiations.  Today more than ever before, the demand for skilled diplomats from the developing world versed in the art of negotiation is evident given the high stakes involved in multilateral talks, agreements and negotiations."

Joining Mr. Diarra in the opening of the Workshop, Ambassador Per Örnéus, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations, congratulated the launching of the Negotiation Training Series and also stressed the importance of sustained capacity-building for diplomats to collectively address the world’s complex problems.

For more information about the 2010 Negotiation Training Series, please visit http://www.unitar.org/ny/2010_negotiation_series, or contact:  Colleen Thouez, Head, UNITAR Office in New York, +1 212 963 9683, thouez@un.org; Ambassador Pierre Schori, Head of the Olof Palme Memorial Fund, +46 709 58 38 38.