Inclusive Peace & Transition Initiative
News

9 October 2017

IPTI has received a grant of 115,000 euros from the Wihuri Foundation to start a new research project on international mediation networks. The objective of the project is to clarify the role of existing mediation networks in conflict prevention and political settlement. IPTI’s Director, Dr. Thania Paffenholz, also received the prestigious Wihuri International Prize in 2015 in recognition of her creative work in the field of peace research.

Mediation networks have multiplied in the past decade as part of a wider trend towards strengthening the normative base of mediation; four resolutions on mediation have been adopted by the United Nations since 2011. These networks share the common trait of connecting mediation actors but usually differ in terms of geographical scope and nature of membership: networks may bring together governments, non-state actors, women, and/or religious actors.

While the idea of improving collaborations and partnerships among mediation actors is appealing, further investigation is needed into whether and how mediation networks translate into more effective negotiation practice. Currently, there is a lack of a systematic overview of the different existing mediation networks and of the ways in which their activities contribute to the peaceful settlement of conflicts and political crises.

IPTI’s project will help state and non-state actors to make better use of existing mediation networks, thus strengthening contributions to the sustainable prevention and political settlement of armed conflicts. Its comparative analysis of mediation networks will contribute to identifying possible gaps and overlaps in the networks’ structures and activities. The research results will indicate what works and what does not work with the networks’ different approaches. Conclusions from the research could thus serve as a basis for strategically adjusting networks’ structures and strategies – in Finland and beyond.

The project is expected to last one year and to result in the production of a report and a short documentary tracing the different steps and thought process of the research project and relevant filmed testimonies from members of mediation networks, to be presented at a workshop in Helsinki.