Handbook: African Union Mediation Support

Dear reader.

It has been 4 months now, since the African Union Mediation Support Handbook has been disseminated and shared with AU Special Envoys, mediators and mediation teams. The handbook was designed, written and developed with an amazing team at the African Center for Constructive Dispute Resolution in Durban, South Africa, and co-developed and reviewed by senior African Union officials within the Conflict and Management Division.

The main substance and content on how to prepare, engage, run, and follow-up on a mediated process has been developed based on my own experiences, expertise and using up-to-date mediation knowledge.

Here is the link to the Ebook for download and I appreciate any comments, feedback, critical reflections and further guidance: goo.gl/bKQc0H

Best,

Pascal

Entry points in international mediation – Ripeness in Syria?

The professional mediation community tries to make sensitive assessments about when and how and even if to intervene in a conflict situation. Albeit some argue that any intervention should be done with a mandate and keeping the Do No Harm principles in mind, others argue that interventions need to take place for the sake to uphold human rights in conflict environments.

In Syria, we have seen a range of attempts to intervene in a deadly civil war. Two UN Special Envoys later (Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi) who were struggling to find the right entry point, the situation seems to be shifting in favor of a window of opportunity for an intervention in Syria. Many refer to this moment as the moment of ripeness, after after some key conditions have been met, both the parties and the situation is amenable to resolution. The notion of ripeness may have its criticism (tautology being its main impediment), yet practitioners in the field of political mediation are still using the terminology and so it may make sense to take a new look at the shifting balance of forces and power in the geopolitical context of Syria. This article on Al Jazeera’s website captures the shifting and moving forces quite eloquently.

What Saudi-Iranian rapprochement means for Assad – Al Jazeera English.