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.


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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.