Over the past 30 years, over 80% of all conflicts have been solved through negotiation and mediated settlements, but what exactly do we mean when we talk about mediation? How do mediators contribute to the secession of violence and the establishment of durable peace? Here are some of the key readings on mediation. By Anouk van den Akker and Ingrid Magnusson

 

Mediation is a complicated and difficult endeavour. It is more than just the appointment of a high-profile individual to resolve a conflict. A mediation process must have political backing as well as technical and financial support. To get a glimpse into the complex world of mediation, we selected five key readings that cover the basics of mediation - from the critical steps before entering into a conflict to the range of dilemmas mediators can be confronted with.

>> HD Guide to Mediation

This booklet offers a clear introduction, with practical steps and guidance on how to mediate a peace process. It provides basic definitions, underlying assumptions and values and some of the main challenges and dilemmas faced by mediators in the field.

>> Managing a Mediation Process

This handbook addresses specific aspects of mediating violent conflicts. It is based on the hard-won experiences of professional mediators and provides a thoughtful list of the tricks of their trade. It offers insight into various strategies and how they played out in practice and factors that facilitated or obstructed the work of mediators.

>> UN Guidance for Effective Mediation

This concise reference document builds on the experience of some the world´s key mediators. It is designed to assist mediators in maximising their chances for success, drawing on the views of beneficiaries of successful mediation as well as those who have suffered from failed mediation attempts.

>> Effectively supporting mediation: Developments, challenges and requirements

This paper complements the UN Guidance for Effective Mediation by outlining how mediation efforts can be supported. It takes a close look at mediation support mechanisms - the benefits they can bring, how they need to be improved, and remaining challenges to operational integration.

>> The Prisoner of Peace: An interview with Kofi A. Annan

A personal and gripping perspective from the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on the successful mediation process he led during the 2007 presidential elections in Kenya. The interview offers rare insights into the challenges that mediators can be confronted with. It also perfectly sketches the delicate balance of intuition, subtlety, and vision that mediators need to bring to the mediation process.