Mediation, Policy and European Relations
The Mediation, Policy and European Relations Division aims to support European peacemaking and policy implementation. The division includes three interconnected streams of work: the Mediation Quality Programme, the European Policy Support Programme, and Strategic Communications.
The Mediation Quality Programme develops practical recommendations to address current challenges in mediation and peacemaking. Ongoing projects are looking at preventive diplomacy, inclusivity in peace processes, and the support envoys and mediators need to be effective. A core aspect of all our mediation quality projects is the active involvement of mediators and envoys at every step of the process. This has led EIP to work alongside EU, UN, OSCE, and bilateral envoys in the field, engage them in analysis at small, selective retreats, and support them to implement the recommendations.
The European Policy Support Programme uses both EIP’s unique position as an independent organisation with European states as members of the board, and its expertise to provide support to European peacemaking efforts. We work very closely with the EU and EIP board members from the project design all the way through to implementation, aiming to turn donors into partners and relationships into partnerships. This ensures EIP’s projects are part of long-term strategic thinking and are closely linked to political decision making in Brussels and Europe. In addition, we look at how EIP’s operational experience can feed into our partners’ policy development and then support its implementation in conflict areas where we or are partners are active. Currently, the European Policy Support Programme runs these ’policy lab’ projects for South Sudan, Colombia, and Afghanistan.
Strategic Communications refer to EIP’s efforts to improve our understanding of the needs of our partners, particularly the foreign policy and peacemaking bodies of the EU and our European partners, and to use this understanding to deepen our operational engagements. One of our objectives is to make EIP’s knowledge and insights available for the benefit of our board members and the EU through high-level briefings and roundtable discussions that can help pave the way for more operational collaboration.
Practice Innovation in Preventive diplomacy
How can the international community respond more effectively to looming crises? EIP is investigating preventive diplomacy, seeking to produce recommendations for good preventive strategies and practice. This project has taken a deep look at current preventive engagements in the field, in places as diverse as Ergneti, Jerusalem, Mexico City and Banjul, to understand the key challenges to conflict prevention. This has given us a platform for discussing and analysing effective responses. We presented the field observations to a select number of high-level mediators and envoys from the UN, EU and the OSCE in October to test our findings, listen to their perspectives and incorporate their input into our recommendations. These practitioners drive our analysis, and inspire us fashion pragmatic responses to current challenges and recommendations based both on innovative new ideas and tried and tested approaches.
The Mediation Support Stocktaking Project: Strengthening the impact of mediation support in the field
The Mediation Support Stocktaking Project looks at the link between mediators on the one hand (those leading peace processes) and mediation support experts on the other hand (those who are brought in to a peace process to provide the mediator with input and advice on any range of topics). Although the link between the two should be strong, given the nature of their relationship, EIP found that in practice that is not always the case. In response, through the Mediation Support Stocktaking project EIP has concentrated on this link. Specifically, the project tries to figure out what is causing the disconnect by bringing both the mediators and the support experts to the table. Armed with all their inputs, the project will transform these into a list of insights that EIP hopes can be of practical use for existing and upcoming mediation support actors. In doing so, the project ultimately aims to contribute to the quality of mediation and its support structures as a whole.
Crossing the tracks – inclusive peacemaking through track I to III collaboration
Peacemaking needs to be more inclusive. But how? EIP is taking a closer look at how peace processes at the formal, track I level can link up with a broader slice of society: be it civil society, women’s group or difficult armed actors. Working closely with mediating envoys, we will look at how representatives at the formal level collaborate with local peace initiatives to get to the bottom of how peace processes can be made more inclusive. For this project, EIP is partnering with the Inclusive Peace and Transition Initiative in Geneva, drawing on unparalleled expertise and the world’s largest qualitative database over inclusive peacemaking. The goal is to develop recommendations created by mediators themselves, which are pragmatic and directly addresses urgent challenges in the field. These recommendations will pinpoint how peacemaking can be made more inclusive through strengthened collaboration between the formal and local levels of peace processes.
As South Sudan has entered its fourth year of civil war, a spiralling humanitarian crisis and an increasingly complex regional landscape make a sustainable peace process harder to envisage. At the same time, a changing international diplomatic landscape means that there is space for an actor like the EU to play a constructive role in pushing the peace process forward if it draws on its core political, economic, and social strengths. That is why EIP is supporting the European Union and EU Member States with the development of an EU strategy for South Sudan. We aim to jointly identify ways for the EU to support peace in South Sudan and support the region who are leading the mediation.
As part of this process, EIP works with the EU to turn European core values on for example inclusivity, rule of law, and good governance into concrete action in a way that puts the interest of South Sudanese at the centre of EU efforts. This also includes identifying positive and negative incentives that the EU can use to further push for peace. The project fits in squarely with EIP's core mission to support European peacemaking, mixing mediation with policy support to the EU, and bringing these together with our expertise on South Sudan and the Horn of Africa.
There are a multitude of international efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan, involving different regional countries, international powers and multilateral organisations. In response, the Government of Afghanistan is working to converge these processes to ensure the peace is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. This includes empowering Afghan institutions, including the High Peace Council, to lead the process and prepare for future peace agreements with armed groups. The 2016 agreement between the Government and Hizb-I-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) is a tangible example of what an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process means in practice. For many Afghans this agreement is seen as a test case.
The EU is supporting the peace process through the Afghanistan Peace Support Initiative (APSI), which EIP implements together with its partner swisspeace, and in close collaboration with the EU Delegation in Kabul, and other EU bodies. EIP does this by supporting and strengthening the capacity of key Afghan institutions from our office in Kabul, and also by broadening the peace process by reaching out to civil society, women’s groups, religious leaders, and importantly, those based outside Kabul. In 2018, APSI assisted the Afghan Government by commissioning public-perception studies that were used by the President to call for ceasefires, and supporting the drafting of an implementation plan for the HIA agreement. APSI is currently supporting the execution of this Plan. Together with the EIP Conflict Justice and Reconciliation team APSI also opened a discussion around the delicate and sensitive issue of justice within peace agreements; a discussion we foresee will continue in 2019 and beyond.
The European Institute of Peace is engaged in supporting peace efforts in Colombia. The signing of the Havana Agreement between the Government and Colombia’s largest guerrilla organization, the FARC, in November 2016 ended the group's 60 years of conflict with the state. That agreement has opened an opportunity for the Government to start negotiations with the ELN in 2016, and explore arrangements with armed paramilitary and criminal groups who have expressed a readiness to talk. The success of a sustainable peace in Colombia hinges on bringing these groups into the fold. Building on the momentum created by the Havana agreement, EIP is working towards the inclusion of more armed actors into the peace efforts in Colombia.
At the same time, the agreement between the Colombian Government and the FARC offers many insights that can benefit peace efforts of other governments, peacemaking actors and to the peacemaking field in general. As such, under the banner of Transferring lessons from Colombia and with the kind support of the Norwegian Government1, the European Institute of Peace is therefore working to make the knowledge and lessons learned from the peace process available to other areas affected by armed conflict.
1 The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has kindly provided the European Institute of Peace with EUR 231.045 in support of the project under the Grant Agreement: QZA-0809, QZA-18/0251 Transferring Lessons from Colombia
Venezuela faces a severe multipronged crisis with political, economic, and social dimensions. In the wake of steeply declining oil prices in 2015, the country became caught in a deep economic recession facing high inflation and collapsing domestic markets. Violent political protests, government repression, and the nullification of the National Assembly while creating a new Constituent Assembly have further exacerbated the difficult economic situation and had a strong impact on the population, many of whom face food and medicine shortages as previously eradicated diseases re-emerge. In this context, and with the aim of supporting the people of Venezuela and reducing the likelihood of political violence in the country, EIP is working on possible avenues to have a constructive impact and support the Venezuelans in this pressing moment while promoting and supporting a peaceful resolution for the crisis in the country.
The primary goal of EIP’s strategic communication is to improve peacemaking by sharing results and best practices with our partners - in particular the EU and EIP’s member states - and by informing policy makers on the best ways to address current and future peacemaking challenges.
Based on EIP’s strategic direction and prioritites, the strategic communications team develops strategies for communicating our work, our achievements and our values. This includes supporting project specific communications as well as presenting the work of the Institute more broadly.
Thus far, the strategic communications work has deepened our operational engagement with the EEAS hierarchy, EU Special Representatives and Envoys, the EEAS PRISM Division, and relevant thematic and geographical units. Going beyond the EEAS, EIP has brought our knowledge and insights to the benefit of our board members and the wider EU through briefings, high-level roundtable discussions, and tailored analyses.