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Understanding Mediation Support

Lanz, David and Pring, Jamie and von Burg, Corinne and Zeller, Mathias. (2017) Understanding Mediation Support. swisspeace report.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/56416/

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Abstract

Recent decades have witnessed increasing institutionalization of mediation support through the establishment of mediation support structures (MSS) within foreign ministries and secretariats of multilateral organizations. This study sheds light on this trend and aims to better understand the emergence, design and development of different MSS. This study analyzes six MSS, namely those established in the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, (IGAD), Switzerland and Germany. It provides five main findings. First, the emergence of dedicated MSS is the result of an interplay of three factors. These refer to the political interests of states that have made mediation a priority of their foreign policies; a normative evolution emphasizing that effective peace mediation requires technical knowledge and resources provided by specialized units; and the operational needs of mediators confronted with the growing complexity of peace processes. Second, looking at their design, MSS in highly different institutional contexts nonetheless exhibit a striking similarity. All of them provide a mixture of training, knowledge management and operational support, ranging from political advice to logistical help. This similarity can be understood by the influence of professional networks of mediation support practitioners that have proven to be influential when new structures are set up. Third, despite the similarity, there are differences between MSS in terms of the balance between different lines of activity, topics they specialize in, whether or not they support external mediation operations, and the degree to which they involve civil society actors. These differences are due to mandates, political environment and organizational culture, which are specific to each organization. Fourth, as for development over time, some MSS examined in this report, i.e. the UN and Switzerland, are fully embedded and deeply involved in mediation processes pursued by their respective institutions. Other MSS, in particular IGAD and Germany, are in the early stages of development with still limited direct involvement in mediation processes. The EU and the OSCE cover the middle ground of this spectrum. The study finds that institutional entrenchment is fostered by demands for support by envoys, a conducive political environment, availability of human and financial resources, and, for multilateral organizations, the strength of secretariats vis-à-vis member states. Fifth, the study showed that the prevalent model of mediation support puts a premium on technical knowledge and generalist expertise that is transferable from one context to the next. Given that today there are fewer comprehensive peace processes and more decentralized dialogue engagements focusing on one issue or one actor in a particular context for a limited period of time, there is a need for existing MSS to adapt, and for practitioners and policymakers to consider a broad range of mediation support approaches.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften > Fachbereich Politikwissenschaft > Politikwissenschaft (Goetschel)
09 Associated Institutions > swisspeace foundation
09 Associated Institutions > swisspeace foundation > Peace Research (Goetschel)
UniBasel Contributors:Lanz, David Johannes
Item Type:Other
Publisher:swisspeace
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Other publications
Language:English
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Last Modified:08 Mar 2018 11:29
Deposited On:08 Dec 2017 07:00

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