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The Oslo Forum Meeting Report
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.

Une Commission vérité et réconciliation: ni trop tôt, ni trop tard
19 December 2014 by Pierre Hazan

Dans cet exposé, Pierre Hazan, conseiller spécial de HD, met en évidence le potentiel d’une Commission vérité et réconciliation (CVR) en République centrafricaine après les terribles violences qui ont ensanglanté le pays, mais aussi la nécessité qu’une telle Commission intervienne au bon moment. Si elle est créée de manière prématurée, alors que l’environnement politique n’est pas adéquat, elle risque d’être non seulement inefficace, mais aussi contre-productive. Elle peut contribuer à accentuer les clivages et mettre en danger ceux qui seraient amenés à témoigner. A contrario, une création trop tardive de la CVR rendrait l’action d’une telle Commission largement caduque.

Cette présentation a été donnée à l’occasion d’une réunion organisée par les Nations unies et le Ministère de la République centrafricaine les 12 et 13 décembre 2014 à Bangui, sur les mécanismes de justice transitionnelle afin de pouvoir faciliter le processus de réconciliation le moment venu. La communauté internationale et les autorités centrafricaines soutiennent notamment l’idée de créer une Commission vérité et réconciliation. L’une des questions clef est de déterminer le moment le plus propice pour sa création.

Primer on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law
02 December 2014

The Primer on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is a collection of questions and answers that "seeks to explain, expound and clarify the provisions" of the law that is now under deliberations in the Philippine Congress.  The proposed BBL is envisioned to replace the Organic Act that constituted the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with a new autonomous political entity, which is part of the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed on 27 March 2014 between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The Primer addresses "questions not only with respect to the constitutionality and legality of the provisions but more importantly the context and problems they seek to address." Prepared by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, the body that drafted the proposed BBL, the Primer was printed with the support of HD and of the European Union Delegation in the Philippines.
The primer is also available online via bangsamoroonline.com

Effectively supporting mediation - Developments, challenges and requirements
19 June 2014 by Stine Lehmann-Larsen

Mediation is today recognised as an efficient and cost-effective tool to peacefully address and resolve a broad range of conflicts. Mediation and the management of peace processes also come with their own challenges however, thus requiring substantial professional support to be effective.  Recent developments indicate a growing awareness of the need for mediation support, including among practitioners. This had led to policy changes in United Nations and among regional organisations. This publication examines what mediation support entails and how it can be improved. While acknowledging that mediation is a complicated and difficult endeavour whose outcomes are dependent on a wide number of variables, it argues in favour of strengthened international capacities to support mediation and provides analysis on how mediation is effectively supported. It outlines the areas where there is still space for improvement, to ensure that mediation is effectively supported, to raise awareness of the positive impact of mediation support, and to share lessons about mediation-support options and experiences. It concludes that while success can never be guaranteed, effective well-supported mediation processes offer a better chance of sustainable settlements.

Effectively supporting mediation is the third paper in the Oslo Forum Papers series. The Oslo Forum Papers seek to advance thinking and debate on key, yet sensitive, issues linked to armed conflict mediation and international peacemaking.