Oslo Forum Background Paper: Mediating in a complex world

  • Citation: Whitfield, Teresa. “Oslo Forum Background Paper: Mediating in a Complex World.” The Centre for Human Dialogue, 2019, 3–10.
    • Topics:
    • Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
    • Keywords:
    • mediation
    • United Nations
    • civil war
    • inclusion
    • diplomacy

This paper addresses the practice of mediation today from the perspective of the complexity of that world, and the challenge presented to mediators to respond to this complexity in kind. As the UN’s ascendancy over the peacemaking field in the immediate post-Cold War period waned, mediators quickly proliferated. Today, the UN, international non-governmental organisations, regional organisations, states and a broad array of local mediation actors (civil society entities, including women’s organisations, religious, tribal and community leaders) may all be involved in a single conflict theatre. They engage with greatly enhanced capacities for mediation support, and distinct advantages and disadvantages, as well as demands relating to the normative agenda – on justice or inclusion for example – but also notoriously varied levels of co-ordination and coherence.

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