The Group has also developed a “Guidance for Effective Mediation” and encouraged “contacts and links between mediation
communities and networks as essential in order to improve the
coordination and cooperation, and to address the challenges of
a diverse and crowded field of mediation.” However, the Group
does not have a mechanism for directly providing a full range
of conflict resolution services to local communities, including
capacity building, which is where mediation organizations like the
International Section of ACR, Mediators Beyond Borders, Partners for Democratic Change and similar organizations could be
THINGS THE UNITED NATIONS MIGHT DO
It is clear that the United Nations could be strengthened in small
ways that might significantly increase its mediative capacities. For
example, the U.N. might bolster its conflict resolution capacity in at
least the following 40 ways, some of which have already begun but
require expansion or higher levels of support:
1. Transfer the Mediation Support Unit out of the Political
Department and place it directly under the Secretary-General, quadruple its budget and staff, and expand its
express authority to include intra-state, ethnic, religious
and environmental conflicts.
2. Integrate the Mediation Support Unit with the office
of the Assistant Secretary General for Ombuds and
Mediation Services, which supports U.N. employees in
resolving internal disputes.
3. Conduct periodic “conflict audits,” linked to a collaborative
conflict resolution systems design process, in order
to: identify high conflict areas, predictors of conflict
and potential preventative measures; encourage
informal problem solving; open outlets for constructive
expression of differences; support interest-based
options; and create “loopbacks” to negotiation.
4. Cease relying exclusively on a handful of international
mediators, but work with the Group of Friends of
Mediation to develop a comprehensive list of thousands
of mediators and facilitators who can intervene in all
levels and varieties of conflict in diverse communities
around the world.
5. Encourage all delegations to future U. N. meetings to
include among their members one or more skilled
mediators, collaborative negotiators and facilitators who
can assist in bridging differences as they occur.
6. Assign one or more U.N.-employed mediators, facilitators
or ombuds employees as liaisons to every delegation,
work group and problem solving meeting.
7. Reduce reliance on Security Council and member state
approval for mediation efforts, especially where violations
of human rights are concerned, and allow the Secretary
General and MSU to initiate mediation wherever conflicts
8. Focus on integrated capacity building in conflict
resolution, problem solving, dialogue facilitation,
collaborative negotiation and similar methodologies.
9. Form multiple, regionally-based international rapid
responses teams that can travel quickly to emerging
trouble spots before they become violent.
10. Establish a permanent election oversight team to
establish international standards for electoral fairness,
supervise elections and mediate electoral contests.
1. Don’t wait for conflicts to reach impasse, but intervene
early and throughout the life of every conflict, organizing
dialogues, facilitating problem solving and negotiations,
and conducting mediations.
2. Hire many more professional mediators from all
countries, with contributions from member states
based on their history of conflict.
3. Arrange for, facilitate and mediate regular direct
meetings between heads of hostile, opposing nation
states, without waiting for talks to break down.
4. Conduct in-depth, inclusive, collaborative evaluations of
the process used in Copenhagen and similar negotiations
to identify what works and what needs to be improved.
5. Develop a comprehensive set of process
recommendations for future negotiations, secure
agreement to implement them prior to meetings and
conferences, brief delegates on them before they
arrive and agree on next steps to be taken whenever
consensus is not reached.
6. Appoint fast-forming, diverse problem solving teams
with experts representing adversarial nations, regions,
groups and ranges of opinion, with professional
mediators and facilitators to aid them in their work.
7. Conduct open dialogue sessions on critical topics
without attempting to reach agreement, providing
The 8 members of the UN's Standby Team of
Mediation Experts are extremely busy and
unable to provide consistent support for long-
term, integrated, multi-tier capacity building.