Local mediation can be an important tool to help address local manifestations of armed conflict or violence. It can help build resilience, prevent escalation of violence and break cycles of violence that have lasted for generations.
It is also an opportunity to strengthen communities’ ability to cope with adversity, reduce conflict and develop trusting relationships. Trained mediators can design meetings, facilitate effective decision making processes, ensure that voices are heard and keep discussions productive. Oftentimes, local mediators have deep contextual knowledge of the issue being discussed and have built a network of contacts with individuals in the community. They may enjoy significant local legitimacy for their role, which is important to the sustainability of a peace process.
Local mediators can help to facilitate local conversations and support dialogue between armed groups, communities and state structures. They can also support the implementation of track-1 agreements by helping to open political space, overcome sticking points and promote inclusion. They are also a critical resource for helping to maintain the social fabric in the aftermath of a violent conflict.
Local mediators are trained by UN peacekeeping missions, NGOs and other institutions. They come from a range of backgrounds including education, customer service, retail, administration, non-profit and management. They are men and women, young and old, from all walks of life because conflict affects everyone. Training leaders in mediation can also be a cost-effective way to improve the quality of life in their communities, help prevent the escalation of violence and build stronger, more peaceful societies.