The international context of conflict prevention and peace mediation continues to evolve rapidly and significantly. European institutions, actors, and capacities have to keep up with these developments in order to remain relevant, and be able to deliver on their policy commitments for international peace and security.
This three-year project brings together the long-standing experience, expertise and logistical capacities of a Consortium of five leading European organisations, for provision of conflict prevention and mediation support services to the European External Action Service (EEAS).
The overall objective of the project is to provide the EEAS Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding and Mediation Instruments Division with external expertise, technical and logistics assistance for conflict prevention, peace mediation and dialogue support that is high quality, tailored to its needs, timely, and in line with international good practice.
As detailed in the UN Secretary General’s Report to the General Assembly (A/66/811), “the range of complex issues to be addressed means mediation requires greater, and more varied, expertise…It also means that mediators must have easy access to experts with different areas of specialisation” (p. 5 - 6).
Indeed there are a number of significant global challenges that conflict prevention and mediation support providers have to grapple with:
As a result of all these trends, supporting conflict parties to successfully transition from conflict to peace and deal with the aftermath and legacy of violence is becoming more, not less, complex. Systematically learning from past experience, and evaluating conflict prevention and mediation support, remains the exception rather than the rule. Third parties such as the European Union need to have a faster and better access to expertise, make generic guidance operationally relevant in their own contexts, and turn it into practice.
In order to better respond to the new challenges in the field of mediation, international organisations, governments and the non-governmental community have worked over the last decade to improve their own preparedness for conflict prevention and mediation support, at the level of institutions, operations, and individual staff.
What is now termed ‘conflict prevention and mediation support’ is converging to include a number of ‘core’ areas:
1. Policy statements and mandates that set clear parameters for conflict prevention and mediation support.
2. Institutional structures that concentrate relevant capacity to make it easily accessible and available internally and externally.
3. Moving from a ‘high-level mediator’ model to a team approach.
4. Systems to pool and make available technical expertise at short notice.
5. More systematic knowledge gathering, management and dissemination.
6. Professionalisation and capacity-development of in-house staff of the EEAS, other third parties, and conflict parties.
7. Funding mechanisms focusing on rapid disbursal of funds for mediation support-related activities.
Reflecting these core areas, the project is organised around a number of systematised mediation support functions, including the provision of experts, a help desk, coaching and training, event and knowledge management, and the establishment of a community of practice.
The project’s aim is to support the EU’s conflict prevention and mediation efforts throughout the world in line with the Lisbon Treaty provisions; and to enable the EEAS to systematically use conflict prevention and mediation as efficient and cost-effective tools of first response to emerging or on-going crises. We thereby directly support the implementation of relevant policy commitments, such as the 2009 EU Concept on Mediation and Dialogue.
The Conflict Prevention and Mediation Support Consortium supports the EEAS in a wide range of areas, including for instance:
In 2014 the Berghof Foundation conducted 14 assignments for the EEAS in the context of this project.