Initiative Mediation Support

© ZIF / Mike Auerbach
Conference at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organized in cooperation with the Initiative Mediation Support, 25 November 2014. © ZIF / Mike Auerbach

The Initiative Mediation Support Germany (IMSD) consists of a consortium of five non-governmental organisations: the Berghof Foundation, the Center for Peace Mediation at the Europa-Universität Viadrina, CSSP - Berlin Center for Integrative Mediation, inmedio berlin - institut für mediation, beratung, entwicklung  and the Centre for International Peace Operations (ZIF). The initiative aims to further the knowledge and application of mediation and mediation support in public discourse and Germany’s (foreign) policy and to promote mediation as one efficient and sustainable instrument of civilian crisis prevention. The initiative furthers the exchange of lessons-learned and joint analysis and formulates policy recommendations.

In November 2014 its members co-organised an international conference on peace mediation in collaboration with the Federal Foreign Office.

Next to the professionalization of mediation (support) structures of the UN or the EU, individual states such as Switzerland or Finland and non-governmental actors are increasingly specialising their skills and resources with regard to mediation. However, the models chosen to institutionalise mediation and mediation support vary significantly and are strongly connected to foreign policy profiles of the respective countries. Within Germany, there are already manifold experiences with mediation and mediation support in the area of civilian crisis prevention. Various governmental and non-governmental actors have been accompanying mediation processes and are active in capacity building as well as research on mediation. However, what is still lacking is a clear and coherent profile and a comprehensive coordination structure between these different activities both on a national level and with regard to ongoing international efforts. One key task of the Initiative Mediation Support Germany is to contribute to the formulation of answers to these challenges.

 

Aims and outcomes

The Initiative aims to:  

  •  further the discussion on Germany’s role in international peace processes and its strategic interests in the area of mediation;
  • systematically reflect and evaluate past and current activities, structures and resources for mediation in Germany both on the state and non-state level;
  • conduct sound needs assessments and analysis in the field and against the backdrop of successful mediation models in other states;
  • support the development of a specific German contribution in the area of mediation and mediation support as a peace policy tool.

The Initiative Mediation Support Germany consists of a consortium of five non-governmental organisations. They include the Berghof Foundation, the Center for Peace Mediation at the Europa-Universität Viadrina, CSSP - Berlin Center for Integrative Mediation, inmedio berlin - institut für mediation, beratung, entwicklung  and the Centre for International Peace Operations (ZIF).

A joint project of the partners, which is located at the Berghof Foundation, is supported by the Federal Foreign Office.

Conference on “Germany as mediator: Peace mediation and mediation support in German foreign policy”, November 2014

What exactly is mediation and mediation support? What role can Germany play in mediation and mediation support? Those are precisely the questions that the conference 2014 aimed to explore. By considering specific case studies in peace mediation and mediation support with German participation, the conference looked at the experience and resources that Germany is already contributing and showed how these German contributions can be expanded in a substantive way. Conference participants worked together to identify where cooperation at national level can take place and how actors can learn from each other to more effectively utilize and continue to expand existing potentials in the area of peace mediation. The conference also explored which other international organisations are active in mediation and mediation support and how a German contribution could complement their efforts?

The conference provided a platform for the intensive exchange of knowledge and experience between key governmental staff, parliamentarians and civil society engaged or interested in mediation in the foreign policy context. In this way, the conference contributed to building the foundation for upcoming political, technical and strategic decisions on mediation and mediation support in Germany. Proposals developed by experts at the conference will serve as the basis for jointly formulating next steps.

An expert meeting on conflict analysis and mediation entry points will take place in October 2015.

  • Federal Foreign Office & Initiative Mediation Support Deutschland (IMSD): Basics of Mediation: Concepts and Definitions. Fact Sheet Series: Peace Mediation and Mediation Support. Berlin February 2017. PDF >
  • Friedensmediation. Kurzinformation & Vorschläge für die Politik. PDF >
  • Report of the 2014 conference “Germany as mediator: Peace mediation and mediation support in German foreign policy”. PDF > 

Video interviews with experts around the questions of mediation and mediation support were produced within the context of the 2014 peace mediation conference. They can be accessed on  the conference website.