What are Peace Mediation and Mediation Support?
The United Nations (UN) Guidance for Effective Mediation describes mediation as a voluntary process "whereby a third party assists two or more parties, with their consent, to prevent, manage or resolve a conflict by helping them to develop mutually acceptable agreements."
The term peace mediation comprises the entire structured process of supporting negotiations, from initial contact between mediators and conflict parties to ceasefire negotiations and the implementation of peace agreements. Mediation is thus an instrument that can be used throughout the whole conflict cycle.
Just like diplomacy in general, peace mediation aims to address and resolve conflicts in a constructive and non-violent manner. Yet a significant difference between mediation and diplomacy lies in the fact that diplomacy predominantly focuses on a country’s own foreign policy goals and interests, whereas mediation is a consensus-based method to further all parties' interests. This leads to differing concepts of the roles of diplomats and mediators and, consequently, different approaches. Moreover, diplomats are more restricted when it comes to cooperating with certain conflict parties (above all violent non-state actors), whereas mediators are fully able to include any conflict party in mediation processes in appropriate constellations. This is why coordination of diplomacy and mediation offers great potential.
The term mediation support refers to methodical, technical, logistical, regional knowledge support provided by experts to mediation processes guided by mediators. The aim of mediation support is to improve and create the conditions needed for mediations/negotiations or long-term peace processes. Target groups and beneficiaries of mediation support include not only mediating third parties, but also conflict parties, interest groups, donor institutions and other supportive actors. Mediation support also covers support in developing mediation structures as well as promoting local mediators. Mediation support can be provided in the following areas:
- Implementation and operational support for mediation processes
- Compiling and disseminating expertise - Monitoring and Evaluation mediation processes
- Capacity building: methodological, thematic and normative knowledge and practical mediation
- Developing/expanding mediation structures
For more information about Peace Mediation and Mediation Support, please see our Fact-Sheets.