Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

In some cases, local mediation has helped to defuse conflict and alleviate suffering even in contexts where formal peace processes have not been successful. Local mediation efforts have complemented the more formal track-1 peace processes run by the UN and other international actors and have made it possible to engage proscribed “terrorist” or criminal groups that would otherwise be excluded from negotiations.

Local mediation is often conducted by community mediators – sometimes called insider mediators – who may be religious leaders, women’s representatives or other local leaders with credibility and influence in the conflict context. They work at the village, sub-regional or country level. The aim of local mediation is to bring communities together for discussion and problem-solving that aims to address community-level concerns without involving the formal justice system (Adler 1993). Early community-based models, such as the Rochester American Arbitration Association Community Dispute Service Project and Boston’s Dorchester Urban Neighborhood Court Program were connected with courts but had their own distinct bases of support.

Cultural considerations may play a role in the methods of local mediation, for instance when it comes to communication style or perceptions of fairness. Local mediators with in-depth knowledge of local culture can better understand what is at stake in a given conflict and how to make it easier for disputants to engage in dialogue.

While many local mediators have limited resources, they can be an important complement to peace operations and other efforts to facilitate a conflict resolution process. Moreover, training for local mediators is often relatively inexpensive in comparison to the costs of security forces, policing migration routes or imposing fines and arrests.

By Admin

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