Reflections and Lessons on UN Support to Local Mediation Efforts

Event Video 

On January 20th, IPI together with the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN, cohosted a virtual panel discussion on “Reflections and Lessons on UN Support to Local Mediation Efforts.”

Track 1 mediation processes involving national political and military leaders have increasingly struggled to deliver comprehensive peace agreements that address today’s fragmented conflicts and include local communities’ needs. As a result, the UN has become more engaged in supporting local mediation actors and efforts, including in contexts with and without UN peace operations.

To reflect on the UN’s experience with such engagement to date, the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs’ (DPPA) Mediation Support Unit (MSU) recently published “UN Support to Local Mediation: Opportunities and Challenges.” This report aims to deepen understanding of the UN’s engagement in mediation at the local level and the strategic and political relevance of this engagement to the UN’s overall peacemaking efforts.

In parallel, IPI released a report titled “Parallel Tracks or Connected Pieces?: UN Peace Operations, Local Mediation, and Peace Processes.” This report considers how local mediation fits into the broader political strategies of UN peace operations, including what capacities the UN would need to increase its engagement in local mediation, what role it can play, and how it could better configure itself and engage in partnerships.

This discussion provided an overview of the DPPA and IPI reports, including perspectives from the field, highlighting lessons, insights, opportunities, and challenges as the UN engages in and with local mediation efforts.

Opening Remarks:
Teemu Turunen, Director, Centre for Mediation, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Arthur Boutellis, IPI Non-resident Senior Adviser, and co-author of IPI report “Parallel Tracks or Connected Pieces”
Asif Khan, Chief of Mediation Support and Gender, Peace and Security, UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs
Gabriela Iribarne, Central Regional Office – Kabul, Head of Office and Area Security Coordinator, UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan
Guang Cong, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Political), UN Mission in South Sudan
Marie-Joëlle Zahar, Professor, Université de Montréal, IPI Non-resident Senior Fellow, and contributing author to DPPA’s “UN Support to Local Mediation” report; and co-author of IPI report “Parallel Tracks or Connected Pieces”

Jake Sherman, IPI Senior Director of Programs