Foreign minister Frans Timmermans is presiding over the conference, whose goal is to strengthen existing institutions and methods for peaceful dispute settlement. These include judicial proceedings, arbitration and mediation. If countries would take more advantage of the scope provided by the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and UN mediation, it would help make the world a safer, more just and more peaceful place.
Ministers have been invited to the conference from each of the 15 countries of which a judge of the International Court of Justice is a national. Participants include ministers or deputy ministers of foreign affairs from Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, the Russian Federation, Slovakia and Uganda. High-level representatives of China, France, the UK and the US are also attending.
In addition to the ministers, nine bloggers have also been invited who write, using social media, in their own countries about human rights, peace and security. Each of them has from several hundred to over 30,000 followers or ‘friends’, making them influential figures in their countries. They have come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, Mexico, Russia, Senegal, South Africa and the US for a three-day programme, and have been invited to report on the ministerial conference in their blogs. In this way the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is giving influential local players a forum to highlight issues of peace and international law.