Mediation is not a panacea for peace

It is often written and preached that through the use of mediation, we may be able to satisfy the needs of the parties. Or through its inclusive nature, the peace process may hold and thus become durable and sustainable.
While there is some logic to these hypotheses, it remains to be seen if all inclusive peace processes or a court-annexed mediated process really provide the kind of constructive outcome that parties and the communities in dispute are looking for.
This narrative is often used by those learned peers and scholars with a strong emphasis on the role of the mediator and his/her centrality to the conflict resolution process. Others also take into account the many supporters and negotiators that assist in the mediation process.
In almost all cases, we see a recurrence of violence within a 5 year period since the signing of a peace agreement. Why is that? What happened to the stakeholders? Was it a question of time, resources, political will? Or a lack of understanding of the the root causes of the conflict? Or an international community rushing in to find a solution to violence and unethical behavior of stakeholders.
There are many factors at play that need to be considered. Most likely, and in all cases, we may have to assume that a lack of governance structure, cohesiveness of policies and actions, and resilience of households to new conflicts are some of the deciding factors for recurrence of conflict.

Having analyzed wars between 1648 and 1989, Holsti concluded that in most cases peace treaties only achieve the objective of ending the war and do not envisage any possible future conflicts (Holsti, 1991). Thus, does peace become the father of war?

Hence the role that interventions play in the larger peace canon needs to be looked at with a critical eye and using narrative methods in order to explore which of the unheard and untellable stories are still underneath the radar of the mediators.

More to come …

Author: nakawashi9

International mediator, professor, corporate trainer!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.