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ODESA, Ukraine, 10 December 2014 – International and local experts in mediation as well as civil society activists from across Ukraine gathered in Odesa to learn about the best practices and exchange their experiences at a three-day conference that started today with the support of OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine.
The event is organized as part of the National Dialogue project and in response to requests from Odesa Oblast State Administration and non-governmental Odesa Regional Group on Mediation.
The aim is to address the need for exchanging experience and building the professional competence of mediators working to resolve conflicts and bridge differences at the local and regional level in Ukraine.
International experts will present their experiences of facilitating dialogue in South-east Europe, the Middle East and Northern Ireland, as well as in managing social and economic conflict resolution. Mediation practitioners will also discuss lessons learned from conflict management efforts related to the current situation in Ukraine.
“A foreign experience may not be a magic solution, but it can inspire one to look for unique responses to local Ukraine-specific challenges,” said Ambassador Vaidotas Verba, the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine. “We hope that Ukrainian participants from various localities will use this opportunity to generate new ideas on how to support the restoration of the country’s stability through dialogue that is also important in the process of implementing reforms.”
The conference will also serve as a tool to enhance practical assistance, provided by the OSCE, in addressing situations related to the crisis in Ukraine. Representatives of the headquarters of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine along with its regional teams will join the discussions to seek new opportunities in supporting dialogue initiatives with the aim of the peaceful resolution of conflicts between various social groups.
Ertugrul Apakan Chief Monitor of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said: “Facilitation of dialogue and access is a key element of our mandate, which was unanimously backed by 57 participating states. Here in Odesa the SMM team organized a series of round tables to ensure people continue to promote dialogue, and to maintain peace and stability”.
The National Dialogue Project was launched on 20 March 2014 as part of response to crisis developments in Ukraine. To identify areas for further OSCE activities in supporting confidence-building between different parts of Ukrainian society a team of 15 international experts visited the country, a report with recommendations for future OSCE engagement to foster social cohesion and dialogue in Ukraine, and were presented to all participating States, including Ukraine, at the Permanent Council in Vienna on 30 April 2014. The Odesa conference follows those recommendations.
The National Dialogue Project is implemented with the financial support from the governments of Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, and Japan.
Additional information: Andrii Dziubenko, firstname.lastname@example.org, +380506767734