Diplomacy Requires “Risk-Taking, Persistence and Creativity,” Says USG DiCarlo As UN Marks 75 Years of Special Political Missions

Politically Speaking
2 min readOct 5


“Diplomacy for Peace” event, 5 October, 2023, at UN Headquarters in New York.

5 October 2023, New York: Today, the Department for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, in partnership with the Permanent Missions of Finland and Mexico, marked 75 years since the establishment of the first United Nations special political mission with the deployment of Swedish diplomat Folke Bernadotte to the Middle East in 1948 as a mediator.

The event, “Diplomacy for Peace”, took place at UN Headquarters in New York and explored the role and contribution of special political missions (SPMs) in conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding, as well as the challenges they face in fulfilling their mandates in today’s fraught geopolitical environment.

Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo said the over 40 SPMs around the globe perform critical functions to advance international peace and security.

Each mission, she underlined, is tailored to its specific context. In recent years, missions have had to adapt to new risks, including the effects of the climate crisis and advancing technology. In a shifting peace and security context, they also work to identify new entry points, opportunities and partnerships for peacemaking and peacebuilding.

“Diplomacy and the work of good offices require risk-taking, persistence and creativity,” said DiCarlo. “They require mechanisms to keep channels open, quietly defuse tensions, build trust, and bring opponents together. They require talking to those with whom one disagrees.”

Also taking part in the commemoration were Courtenay Rattray, Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General; Elina Kalkku, Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN (co-facilitator of the annual General Assembly resolution on SPMs); Alicia Guadalupe Buenrostro Massieu, Chargé d’affaires of the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN (co-facilitator of the annual General Assembly resolution on SPMs); Abbas Kadhom Obaid Al-Fatlawi, Chargé d’affaires of the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United Nations; and Per Olsson Fridh, Director-General of the Folke Bernadotte Academy.

The event also included a panel discussion, with participation from Hanna Tetteh, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa; Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen; and Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Colombia.

Watch the full event on UN Web TV here.

Read the Secretary-General’s 2023 report on Special Political Missions here.




Politically Speaking

The online magazine of the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs