Yemen International Forum

Closing by Jan van Zanen of Yemen International Forum, 15 June 2023


Welcome to this closing of the Yemen International Forum The Hague 2023,
Welcome to all the Yemeni delegations, diplomats and experts,
On behalf of the organising Sana’a Center and The Hague, international city of peace and justice, welcome.


My name is Jan van Zanen, Mayor of The Hague. The city where Andrew Carnegie had the Peace Palace built more than a century ago. We are honoured that the Sana’a Center chose to be here with us to hold these talks about peace and the future of Yemen, and appreciate the confidence shown.

We are nothing more – and have never wanted to be anything more – than hosts to the Yemeni delegations from the country itself and Yemeni’s abroad. An inspiring setting for a productive continuation of the YIF Stockholm 2022. A place to build on the process that will reach new milestones.

Typically, the institutions of international law and the international courts based in The Hague play a role in preventing armed conflict or in administering post-conflict justice. Now the peace process itself is being worked on in The Hague. A tough and complex process. You have my respect for your efforts and I am proud that you were willing to do that here in our city.

Renewed efforts were made to bring together as many relevant parties and stakeholders as possible. Not just nationally, but at regional and local level, too. Efforts on local mediation, with a focus on women and young people. On economic recovery and community building for a just and lasting peace.

The work was done in scenario sessions, a method that has proven itself before in South Africa, Colombia and Ethiopia. As co-chair of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) organisation, I can tell you from my own experience that sharing experiences can be of great value in bridging apparently unbridgeable differences.

Over the last few days, the push to give women and youngsters a full role in the discussions has gained ground. Efforts have also been made to link local mediation work more closely with the UN-led negotiations. The position of victims and their representation in the peace talks was discussed. Above all, efforts have been made to strengthen mutual trust.

I hope you can look back on meaningful discussions here in The Hague.