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Mediation Support Activities & Services


As part of DPPA's overall peacemaking and preventive diplomacy efforts, MSU engages in a wide range of activities including operational support to mediation, facilitation and dialogue processes, strengthening the mediation capacity of partners and developing mediation guidance and best practices.


Snapshot of Current Activities

Click region to see operational activities

For more information on MSU activities, see our Quarterly Updates/Annual Reports. The sensitivity of some engagements means that not all MSU activities can be reported in the public domain. The reports focus on MSU as a service provider and do not reflect the full spectrum of DPA's work in leading and supporting mediation efforts.


Mediation Support Service

Established in 2006, MSU is a central hub for mediation support within the UN system. The Unit was set-up to provide professional, cross-cutting support to 'good offices' activities, including preventive diplomacy and the mediation of disputes. MSU is a service provider to a wide range of actors, including the UN system, regional organizations, Member States and relevant peacemaking entities.

 
Download our Factsheets:

Our mediation support services focus on three main areas

 
  1. Technical and operational support for peace processes:

    MSU provides support throughout the planning, implementation and evaluation phases of a mediation process. This includes strategy development and process design as well as advice on thematic issues from a mediation perspective.

  2. Strengthening of mediation capacity of the United Nations, its partners, and parties to a conflict:

    MSU manages a series of flagship trainings including the High Level Mediation Course and the Ceasefire Mediation Course.  MSU provides support to the annual DPA High-Level Seminar on Gender and Inclusive Mediation Strategies. The Unit also provides tailored-made one-on-one coaching for mediators and training for mediation teams on mediation and negotiation techniques and skills, strategy development, process design and thematic issues. Such training initiatives may also be offered to parties to a conflict at the request of the mediator. MSU capacity-building support is also available to regional organizations and Member States seeking to strengthen their mediation capacity.

  3. Development and dissemination of mediation guidance, lessons learned and best practices:

    MSU is the institutional repository for mediation knowledge, lessons learned and best practices, including the UN Guidance for Effective Mediation which identifies a number of key fundamentals that should be considered in a mediation effort, outlines some potential challenges and dilemmas faced by mediators and offers some guidance.

    MSU has also developed other guidance material for mediators and their teams including: the Special Envoy Briefing Package — a compilation of key UN policies and approaches to mediation; the UN Manual for Mediators — a distillation of core mediation techniques and experiences drawn from the specific experiences of UN envoys; and the Mediation Start-up Guidelines — a toolkit for the establishment of a mediation effort, with a particular focus on the administration and management dimensions.

    Tailored guidance is also frequently developed by MSU in response to a specific request from the field, often involving comparative case analysis. Such material is not generally made available beyond the requesting entity.

MSU capacities to provide mediation support are based on:


  • MSU staff providing first-line analytical and operational support to peace processes.


  • The Standby Team of Senior Mediation Advisers who can be deployed within 72 hours.


  • The Mediation Experts Roster, which is a database of senior mediators, operational - level mediators and technical-level experts, managed by MSU on behalf of DPA, and includes personnel available for longer deployments.

     

     

Map Disclaimer

The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.

Sudan-South Sudan. Final boundary between the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan has not yet been determined.

Jammu and Kashmir. Dotted line represents approximately the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir agreed upon by India and Pakistan. The final status of Jammu and Kashmir has not yet been agreed upon by the parties.

Chagos Archipelago/Diego Garcia. Appears without prejudice to the question of sovereignty.

Falkland Islands (Malvinas). A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).

Region activities

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Mediation Support Activities & Services (hardcoded)

As part of DPA's overall peacemaking and preventive diplomacy efforts, MSU engages in a wide range of activities including operational support to mediation, facilitation and dialogue processes, strengthening the mediation capacity of partners and developing mediation guidance and best practices.

Snapshot of Current Activities

Click region to see activities

For more information on MSU activities, see our Quarterly Updates/Annual Reports. The sensitivity of some engagements means that not all MSU activities can be reported in the public domain. The reports focus on MSU as a service provider and do not reflect the full spectrum of DPA's work in leading and supporting mediation efforts.

Mediation Support Service

Established in 2006, MSU is a central hub for mediation support within the UN system. The Unit is set-up to provide professional, cross-cutting support to 'good offices' activities, including preventive diplomacy and the mediation of disputes. MSU is a service provider to a wide range of actors, including the UN system, regional organizations, Member States and relevant peacemaking entities.



Download our Factsheets:

Our mediation support services focus on three main areas

  1. Technical and operational support for peace processes:

    MSU provides support throughout the planning, implementation and evaluation phases of a mediation process. This includes strategy development and process design as well as advice on thematic issues from a mediation perspective.

  2. Strengthening of mediation capacity of the United Nations, its partners, and parties to a conflict:

    MSU provides tailored-made one-on-one coaching for mediators and training for mediation teams on mediation and negotiation techniques and skills, strategy development, process design and thematic issues. Such training initiatives may also be offered to parties to a conflict at the request of the mediator. MSU capacity-building support is also available to regional organizations and Member States seeking to strengthen their mediation capacity.

  3. Development and dissemination of mediation guidance, lessons learned and best practices:

    MSU is the institutional repository for mediation knowledge, lessons learned and best practices, including the UN Guidance for Effective Mediation which identifies a number of key fundamentals that should be considered in a mediation effort, outlines some potential challenges and dilemmas faced by mediators and offers some guidance.

    MSU has also developed other guidance material for mediators and their teams including: the Special Envoy Briefing Package — a compilation of key UN policies and approaches to mediation; the UN Manual for Mediators — a distillation of core mediation techniques and experiences drawn from the specific experiences of UN envoys; and the Mediation Start-up Guidelines — a toolkit for the establishment of a mediation effort, with a particular focus on the administration and management dimensions.

    Tailored guidance is also frequently developed by MSU in response to a specific request from the field, often involving comparative case analysis. Such material is not generally made available beyond the requesting entity.

MSU capacities to provide mediation support are based on:

  • MSU staff providing first-line analytical and operational support to peace processes.

  • The Standby Team of Mediation Experts who can be deployed within 72 hours.

  • The Mediation Experts Roster, which is a database of senior mediators, operational - level mediators and technical-level experts, managed by MSU on behalf of DPA, and includes personnel available for longer deployments.

  • Africa

    Africa

     

    Burkina Faso

    As part of ongoing support to the development of a national infrastructure for peace in Burkina Faso, in January MSU deployed a process design expert to facilitate a study tour to Ghana for the Burkina Faso social cohesion working group. The aim was to gather experiences and understand how the Ghana’s National Peace Council functions The Burkinabé delegation of 18, including civil society organisations, women and youth, was led by the country’s Minister for Social Cohesion. The expert had deployed in July 2019 to support the creation of the social cohesion working group, as a multi-stakeholder platform to facilitate dialogue and engagement between various actors involved in advancing social cohesion in Burkina Faso.

     

    Mozambique

    In May, MSU staff and the SBT security arrangements expert provided remote support to the ongoing implementation of the Maputo Accord signed in August 2019 between the Government of Mozambique (FRELIMO) and the RENAMO rebel faction. This comes against the background of COVID-19 inhibiting movements of the International Contact Group responsible for certification and verification.

     

    Libya

    In the context of the Toolkit on Digital Technologies and Mediation, MSU organized, at a request of UNSMIL, three training sessions on digital process design and facilitation. The sessions, delivered with the assistance of a digital facilitation expert, provided an introduction to some technologies and techniques for digital process design and facilitation.

     

    South Sudan

    In January, MSU deployed a process design expert to support the United Nations Mission in South Sudan  (UNMISS) facilitated sessions of a Political Parties’ Forum held in Juba. The event was the third edition of this forum that gathers representatives from almost all political parties in the country and offers them a venue for frank exchange, experience-sharing and co-learning.

     

    Sudan

    Following the resumption of peace talks in Juba in January 2020, MSU deployed security arrangements and governance experts to support the South Sudanese Secretariat and the United Nations – African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur. The security experts advised the parties on options for transitional security arrangements and potential implementation modalities following an agreement. The power-sharing expert provided governance expertise, focusing on the Transitional Constitutional Charter, including constitutional questions related to the sub-regions, as well as aspects related to their reconstruction, distribution of power and wealth, and the administrative status of provinces. 

    Africa
  • Asia and the Pacific

    Asia & the Pacific
     

    Afghanistan

    MSU support have now started in the context of the Intra-Afghan negotiations that began in September 2020, including providing advice on how to promote an inclusive peace process, particularly with respect to women, and how to handle the legacy of decades of conflict. In this respect, MSU deployed process design and inclusion experts in October and December 2019 to contribute to Afghan Women High-Level Negotiations Workshops and is currently supporting UNAMA to develop an inclusion strategy as called for the Secretary-General’s 2019 Report on Women, Peace and Security. From April 2020 onwards, MSU has provided comparative research to Afghan actors on various issues related to the process design of talks, including preparing for negotiations, strategies for negotiating differences on difficult issues, security arrangements, and ways in which international actors can promote implementation of peace agreements. Finally, since January 2020, a process design and transitional justice expert has been assisting the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission to develop strategies on the promotion of human rights and participation of conflict victims in Intra-Afghan negotiations.

     

    Papua New Guinea/Bougainville

    Since early 2019, an expert on constitutions and process design supported and facilitated  the work of the ministerial-level Post-Referendum Planning Taskforce, initially through physical deployments and then through remote support. The expert prepared and shared legal opinion papers for consideration of the Ministers in charge of post-referendum consultations in April and provided advice through two virtual meetings in May and June 2020, which helped the parties agree on some of the parameters for the future consultation process, including around the issue of ratification of the referendum result by the PNG National Parliament and in relation to the establishment of a Joint Secretariat. This remote needs-based support and advice is ongoing.

     

    Asia & the Pacific
  • Middle East and West Asia

    Middle East & West Asia
     

    Syria

    MSU continues to support various tracks of the Syria political process. In December 2019 and February 2020, a security arrangements expert supported the United Nations Office of the Special Envoy for Syria (OSE-Syria) in discussions on the issue of detainees and abductees within the framework of the Astana process. From October 2019 to August 2020, a process design expert supported OSE-Syria in the first three sittings of the Syria Constitutional Committee and continues to support virtual engagements with the Civil Society Support Group and Women’s Advisory Board. Earlier, in October 2019, a power-sharing expert assisted the Women’s Advisory Board in preparing for the first sitting of the Constitutional Committee, inter alia by considering issues related to decentralization.

     

    Yemen

    MSU is supporting efforts by the Office of the Special Envoy for Yemen (OSESG-Y) to facilitate intra-Yemeni discussions. This includes ongoing support aimed at the issuance of a Joint Declaration by the conflict parties on a nationwide ceasefire, joint efforts to combat COVID-19 and the re-launch of the political process (this specific initiative is in follow-up to the parties’ initial positive response to the Secretary-General’s Global Call). Comparative advice was provided in September 2020 on possible formats of peace agreements and from March to April 2020 on options to broaden inclusivity, including research on civil society selection mechanisms and through the use of digital technology. In April 2020, MSU also supported OSESG-Y in developing an inclusion action plan for the Yemeni political process as called for by the Secretary-General’s 2019 Report on Women, Peace and Security. MSU has additionally provided support on constitutional, power-sharing and security issues, including through a series of Track II consultations organized by International Idea.

     

    Middle East & West Asia
  • The Americas

    The Americas and the Caribbean

     

    Ecuador

    From March onwards, MSU provided support to the a.i. Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team in Ecuador to further strengthen their analytical capacities and in-house prevention strategies. A series of online engagements were designed and conducted aimed to enhance inter-agency contextual analyses and to develop targeted prevention actions and recommendations.

     

    Guatemala

    At the request of the Resident Coordinator in Guatemala, from March to July 2020 MSU assigned a process design expert to remotely support the UN Country Team in assessing potential flashpoints and opportunities for UN engagement. Through online platforms and tools, the expert shared concepts and good practices of preventive diplomacy and conflict-sensitive programming. The expert further supported efforts to strengthen inter-agency analytical processes, assisting the Peace and Development Adviser in setting up a mechanism for continuous and action-oriented context analysis.

     

     

     

     

    The Americas
  • Europe

    Europe

     

    Georgia

    In line with paragraph 120 (h) of the 2019 Report of the Secretary-General on Women, Peace and Security, and with paragraph 9 of Security Council resolution 2493 (2019), the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs has begun organizing high-level strategy meetings to develop context-specific approaches for women’s participation in all UN-supported processes. Following an initial such exercise on Yemen, preparations are under way in a number of other contexts including with the UN Representative to the Geneva International Discussions (UNRGID).

     

    Europe