As the fourth meeting in the Civil Society – UN Prevention Platform’s 2020 discussion series on prevention, QUNO co-hosted a discussion, Strengthening Prevention Tools: Inclusive Approaches to Supporting Mediation. The Platform welcomed over 50 global participants from the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), civil society, and Member States to this lively and informative conversation.
Given that mediation processes involve the coordination and participation of multiple actors, this meeting provided a candid space for exchange between participants as they reflected on best practices and remaining challenges for inclusive approaches.
The discussion highlighted key factors to consider when developing inclusive approaches to mediation, particularly in the COVID-19 pandemic and changing geopolitical environment. During the discussion, civil society, UN colleagues and Member States collectively considered that mediation and peace should be thought of as a ‘building block process,’ cumulative efforts that are multi-tracked and complimentary, rather than just agreements signed around a table. It was agreed that in order for the inclusion of women, youth, and other historically excluded groups to have maximum impact, mediation efforts need to provide explicit strategies and spaces for these voices. Participants noted that the internationalization of conflict and multitude of stakeholders often drowns out local voices. While mediation differs in each conflict, several participants highlighted that it is at the community level that mediation efforts are the strongest. As national level processes often stall out, grassroots mediation provides avenues for prevention, sharing resources, and opportunities to co-exist after a conflict.
The Civil Society – UN Prevention Platform looks forward to future conversations in the 2020 Prevention discussion series. Learn more about the other discussions in this series below.