Meeting the New Challenges to International Mediation : Report from an international symposium at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, June 14-16, 2010

Report English OPEN
Lindgren, Mathilda ; Wallensteen, Peter ; Grusell, Helena (2010)
  • Publisher: Uppsala : Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University
  • Subject: International mediation | peacebuilding | mediation styles | mediation coordination | mediation outcomes | spoilers | Social Sciences Interdisciplinary | Tvärvetenskapliga studier inom samhällsvetenskap

The discussions of the Uppsala symposium on Mediation in June 2010 highlighted a number of issues novel either to researchers or to practitioners. The meeting was organized around eight such themes. In short, the discussions showed that there are selections effects which makes the evaluation of success in mediation very difficult (more difficult conflicts get more mediation attempts), and that a biased mediator or mediation mandating actor is not always negative. If a conflict is about the control of government or of a particular territory, this affects the mediation approach as well as the durability of the outcome and the following peacebuilding efforts. Mediation styles vary and may sometimes create, for instance, cultural problems for a mediator. Mandates can be constraining for the mediator, but also solve some problems in mediation. Building fruitful relations between researchers, practitioners and policy makers can generate more resources for mediation. The proliferation of mediation efforts in the same conflict raises new issues of coordination and involves the dangers of negative competition. External shocks are seldom considered in the literature, but may provide breakthroughs for mediations as well as ending such efforts. Outcomes of mediation are not only equal to reaching an agreement. The long-term peacebuilding effects of mediation provides for new challenges to mediation research and practice where the researchers may appear not only to be constructive collaborators for practitioners, but also turn into ‘myth busters’. This report puts some meat to these one-liners.
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