Reflections and Lessons on UN Support to Local Mediation Efforts

On Wednesday, January 20th, IPI together with the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), and the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN is cohosting a virtual policy forum on “Reflections and Lessons on UN Support to Local Mediation Efforts.”

Remarks will begin at 5:30am PST / 8:30am EST

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

Jake Sherman, Senior Director of Programs, International Peace Institute