The Evolution of the United Nations Standby Team of Mediation Experts in Context

Publication date: February 1, 2015
Publication author: Dr. Antje Herrberg, John Packer, Miguel Varela

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This synthesis report considers trends and issues in the context of international peace mediation and mediation support, and related them to the past, present and future operational needs of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs, specifically to the Standby Team of Mediation Experts.

In the last seven years, the mediation support field enjoyed an associated increase in the number of actors and a growing awareness of the complexity of the practice with a view to achieving sustainable peace. There is an increased tendency for indigenous mediation practice and for regional organisations to broker mediation processes. Today, mediation mediation comprises multiple and interconnected elements, with mediators carrying out a myriad of activities from process design, mediation, to shuttle diplomacy or training on a broad range of topics. In this sense, mediators become “Swiss Army Knives” in peacebuilding.

This is particularly true for team members of the United Nations Standby Team of Mediation Experts (SBT). The SBT is a unique instrument with great added value in the field of global mediation support entering its eighth year. In this report, Antje Herrberg, with John Packer and Miguel Varela, explores the practice of the SBT and the evolution of the field in the last few years, offering options for its future operations and concluding with a set of recommendations that are relevant not only to the SBT, but the world of mediation and mediation support.

The study was commissioned by the Norwegian Refugee Council, and supported by mediatEUr.

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