22 December 2014 by Paul Dziatkowiec, Sabina Avasiloae and Till Papenfuss
One hundred of the world's eminent mediators and peace process actors - nearly half of them women - attended the 2014 Oslo Forum, sharing practical experiences and engaging in lively debates on current peacemaking practice and mediation trends. The theme of the 2014 Oslo Forum was ‘engaging with radical groups’. In line with this, participants discussed the feasibility of dialogue with extremist groups, such as ISIS and Boko Haram. Another common thread running through the discussions at the Forum was the geopolitical flux gripping the international system. Participants also considered specific case studies, including the historic peace agreement achieved in the Philippines this year; the international failure to stop the conflict in Syria; and other peacemaking efforts in South Sudan, Colombia, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic. Additionally, attendees examined the phenomenon of popular uprisings against democratically elected governments, and the use of force as a tool of peacemaking. The Forum also offered a valuable opportunity to exchange comparative lessons and experiences on national dialogues, and to reflect on specific mediation challenges such as the fragmentation of conflict parties. This meeting report provides a summary of the discussions and highlights the issues which emerged during the retreat.