Broadening participation in peace processes - Dilemmas & options for mediators
Mediation Practice Series (28 p.) - HD Centre
When political and societal actors, in addition to the primary conflict parties, are involved in peace negotiations, the resulting peace agreements are often more sustainable. Such insights have been supported by statistical evidence as well as by the UN, in recent Secretary-General Reports and Guidance as well as GA resolutions. Yet, mediators have a valid argument that negotiations can get too complicated when the number of parties increases. Hence, there is a need to improve understanding of how to make use of the advantages of broadening participation in peace negotiations without reducing the effectiveness of reaching a peace deal.
Among mediators, one can find two main perspectives when it comes to broadening participation in peace negotiations. First, UN mediators in particular feel trapped between the requirement to fulfil UN norms of broader participation and delivering a peace agreement. Bringing the two together seems not always compatible. Second, many mediators approach broader participation in a pragmatic way. They ask what kind of design for a particular peace process best suits the objective of reaching a quality and sustainable peace deal. The question is, ‘Who should participate in which phase, role and form in order to achieve this objective?’ Participation discussed in this perspective becomes an issue to be analysed for every peace process design.
This paper seeks to provide mediators and mediation teams with a better understanding of, and options for, broadening participation in peace negotiations without sacrificing the effectiveness of the mediation process. It offers mediators and their support teams an accessible survey of the ‘state of the art’ of current debates on and practice of broadening participation in peace processes.