The Berghof Mediation Roundtable series offers decision-makers and experts an informal platform to discuss topical challenges and innovations in the field of mediation and mediation support and develop policy recommendations. The Roundtables are attended by parliamentarians, staff members of ministries, especially the Foreign Office, as well as renowned experts.
Peace mediation and mediation support have recently shifted into the focus of Germany’s foreign policy. At the same time, the need to integrate the topic into parliamentarian work has increased, along with the wish by parliamentarians and Foreign Office staff alike to gain better opportunities to network and exchange.
The Mediation Roundtables were initiated in 2015 to meet this explicit wish by decision-makers. We therefore developed this format for regular exchange and expert input that offers a platform for discussion and information on topical challenges. Input by researchers and experts contribute to an informed debate within the German political landscape.
The main purpose of this roundtable in September 2017 was to present and discuss the results of a comparative study on the challenges and opportunities for coordinated and inclusive mediation and dialogue support by the European Union in conflict-affected countries. Funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, the WOSCAP projectis a collaborative research endeavour examining how to enhance the European Union’s capabilities for supporting sustainable and inclusive peacebuilding processes, with specific focus on three thematic areas: multi-track diplomacy, security sector reform and governance reform. The event particularly focused on two of the projects’ case studies: Ukraine and Mali.
On 12 April 2016 the Berghof Foundation organised its fourth Mediation Roundtable in the German Parliament in Berlin. During the event, Members of the German Bundestag exchanged with high-ranking representatives of the different organizations. The Berghof Mediation Roundtable brought together 24 participants, and provided insights into the regionally adapted formats for mediation and mediation support, and in particular explored the added value and comparative advantage of such regional actors in the field of mediation.
The third Mediation Roundtable took place on 22 September 2015 and looked into various approaches and concepts of multilateral and state actors in terms of mediation and mediation support.
The United Nations as well as the European External Action Service (EEAS) are endowed with teams that support respective mediation initiatives. States can also play important roles in the field of peace mediation, and several countries have created structures within their respective ministries to support mediation. The 2014 review process also led to the creation of a new department at the German Federal Foreign Office which specifically focuses on this topic and that pools internal capacities. The September edition of the Mediation Roundtable series offers the opportunity to share the experience with key international partners, and to reflect on possible conclusions those may provide for Germany.
Our second Mediation Roundtable took place in March 2015 and addressed the opportunities and challenges of National Dialogue, based on the case study of Sudan.
Against the backdrop of the politically tense situation in Sudan, a selected number of participants discussed the challenges international donors, including Germany, face when employing peacebuilding measures to constructively contribute to the current peace process. In two brief presentations, Theodore Murphy (Berghof Foundation) and Dr Annette Weber (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik – German Institute for International and Security Affairs) gave insights into peacebuilding activities in Sudan, with special regard to National Dialogue support by the Berghof Foundation in cooperation with SWP, funded by the Foreign Office.
In February 2015, the Berghof Foundation organised a Mediation Roundtable on the implications of terrorist blacklists on peace processes.
Blacklists aim to negatively sanction violent action by armed groups. The Roundtable aimed to facilitate a discussion among experts and decision-makers, emphasising the question of how restrictions and the proscription of interaction impact on engagement by third parties active in the field of mediation, mediation support and negotiation support. Discussing the case study of the PKK’s listing, Dr Vicki Sentas, co-author of the research report Building Peace in Permanent War: Terrorist Listing & Conflict Transformation, presented her findings.
Louise Boon-Kuo, Ben Hayes, Vicki Sentas, Gavin Sullivan (2015): Building Peace in Permanent War: Terrorist Listing & Conflict Transformation. London, Amsterdam: International State Crime Initiative; Transnational Institute. PDF >