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.