By Silvia Danielak - Global Minds | September 5, 2012 - 10:00 GMT
No stone has been left unturned — or so it seems. Syria is experiencing a full-scale civil war. If Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, the world's most eminent diplomatic figure and renowned mediator resigned (read: gave up), who else could even imagine trying to achieve a cease-fire (not to mention peace) in Syria? What about a woman for a change?
In early August, Kofi Annan announced his resignation from his post as Special Envoy of the UN and Arab League for Syria, as well as Chief Mediator charged with finding a solution to the Syrian crisis. As a result, Lakhdar Brahimi has been appointed as his successor. There has been much subsequent speculation about why Annan and his proposed six-point peace plan failed, including many analyses that have gone into detail on why he was not able to be insistent enough on some ground rules, such as Assad resigning. Other observers maintain that he may not have tried hard enough to get China and Russia on board.
He may also not have had the right people around him.
Annan's support team, across all UN ranks — as a UN staff member confirmed — consisted only of men. In other words, not one single woman. Annan's mediation arguably, therefore, had at least one flaw this time around.
Didn't he learn from Kenya? Back in 2008 during the Kenyan election crisis, Annan, together with a team of mediators and advisors, successfully assisted political leaders in negotiating a settlement and end to the violence and evolving humanitarian situation. During the mediation, women were well-represented and played crucial roles as negotiators and advisors. Led by former Mozambican politician Graça Machel as an eminent adviser, two lead negotiators, as well as two additional female advisors participated in the mediation team. These women also sought to include more women on both sides of the table to represent the conflicting parties.
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