Mediation and dialogue
Mediation and dialogue are the most effective, and cheapest, tools for preventing and resolving armed conflicts. They are the core business of HD, a globally connected private diplomacy organisation that operates discreetly to help conflict parties settle their differences.
Why is HD needed?
After two decades of expanding peace, the world is experiencing an upswing in violent conflict. Conflict feeds the cycle of poverty, disease and refugee flows, and creates ungoverned spaces that enable terrorism and international crime to thrive.
We can reverse this trend. We know what the drivers of conflict are, and which tools work best to address them. HD mobilises quickly to help contain outbreaks of conflict and work towards a wider, lasting peace. The results are measurable.
HD is an experienced and entrepreneurial team. It enjoys access to decision makers, influential actors and conflict parties, and draws on a global network of experts to support mediation and dialogue processes. Conflict parties trust us for our discretion. Our low-profile approach allows us to engage in situations where official actors cannot. We can react quickly and flexibly to crises, and take more calculated risks than larger organisations.
Wars, uprisings, contested election outcomes, violent political transitions – every situation is unique. We find innovative solutions appropriate to each context. In some cases, we mediate directly between the main protagonists, providing a confidential space for them to explore options for a negotiated settlement or for humanitarian access. At other times, we facilitate dialogue with a wider range of actors such as civil society representatives, national and community leaders, and others.
One of HD’s strengths is its ability to conduct confidential dialogue processes. Confidentiality can provide an enabling environment for parties to begin addressing differences. It can also reduce the potential risks around negotiation, especially at an early stage in the process when publicity may jeopardise sensitive talks or the security of those taking part.
Our track record
In the last five years alone, HD has facilitated 32 agreements or declarations. We are currently involved in more than 40 dialogue and mediations initiatives in over 20 countries.
Among the organisation’s public engagements, the following illustrates some of HD’s contributions to peace and stability internationally:
- Tunisia: HD facilitated a dialogue process between the main political parties from across the political spectrum in Tunisia. In July 2014, this culminated in the signing of a Charter of Honour on the fair conduct of elections in the country. The Charter was pivotal to ensuring that both the 2014 parliamentary and presidential elections took place in conducive conditions and that the competitive atmosphere which is part of all electoral campaigns did not jeopardise the electoral process itself.
- Libya: In March 2016, HD facilitated a Humanitarian Appeal for Benghazi between more than 70 key political, tribal and social leaders from the city. Through this Appeal, they committed themselves to establishing the necessary conditions for the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance and providing security guarantees for humanitarian workers. This Appeal, along with follow-up meetings convened by HD, were instrumental in opening up the space for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
- Central African Republic: HD was mandated by the President of the Central African Republic to support and advise the country’s national reconciliation process which aimed to contribute to the restoration of State authority, peace and the reconstruction of the country. HD was instrumental in bringing about the conclusion of a historic national reconciliation pact in May 2015 – the Republican Pact for peace, national reconciliation and reconstruction – among 600 national delegates, as well as an agreement between the Government and nine armed groups on disarmament, to prevent the country from falling prey to renewed sectarian violence.
- Nigeria: HD has been facilitating inter-communal dialogue in Nigeria since 2013 to help communities solve endemic conflicts. The dialogue processes have led to the signing of landmark declarations including The Declaration of Commitment to Peace by the HD Jos Forum in Plateau State and The Kafanchan Peace Declaration in Kaduna State. Through these declarations, the communities have committed themselves to living in peace. The dialogue processes have been instrumental in reducing open hostilities between communities who have adopted dialogue as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. Confidence, trust and the number of interactions between the communities have all increased as a result.
- Philippines: HD has been working with local communities on violence reduction strategies since 2010 in order to address endemic clan conflicts. The organisation has helped to mediate more than 100 clan conflicts and resolve more than 60 of them. During the 2013 and 2016 elections, HD also facilitated efforts to reduce election-related violence in Sulu through the establishment of a network of monitors with links to government, security, religious and local civil society organisations. These efforts helped reduce violence during the elections and were instrumental in helping the authorities to respond to violent incidents, especially in identified election hotspots.
- Sahel: HD has built up networks of leaders among pastoralist and sedentary communities across the Sahel region (in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso) to help stabilize the area which has become a breeding ground for extremist groups and criminal enterprises. HD has identified more than 180 prominent community leaders, established nine networks among them, and increased their conflict prevention skills. This work has contributed to reinforcing traditional peaceful conflict resolution practices. Between 2014 and 2015, the networks resolved more than 50 local conflicts across the region and the overall number of conflicts in the area has decreased significantly.
- Kenya: In 2012, HD supported a peace process between local communities in Kenya’s Rift Valley, the epicentre of post-election violence in 2007– 2008. The process culminated in the signing of a peace agreement – The Nakuru County Peace Accord – in August 2012, which contributed to ensuring peaceful national elections in 2013.
HD has also opened channels of communication with, or between, conflicting parties in Ukraine, Sudan, Somalia, Liberia, Indonesia, and elsewhere. In addition to this work, the organisation has facilitated agreements to end armed activities or to allow humanitarian access to populations affected by conflict in several highly-sensitive processes involving extremist and militant groups in Africa, Asia, Eurasia and the Middle East.