Tackling the causes of conflict through mediation

Published 30. Sep 2019
Conflict – from small-scale community disputes to international wars – is one of the main driving forces behind human displacement. At the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), we use humanitarian mediation to address the causes of conflict, not just its consequences.
“NRC’s mediation enabled us to start talking again,” says Youssoufou Mahamar, a village chief from the Timbuktu region of Mali. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) arranged mediation sessions to resolve a conflict involving two communities and a dispute over land rights.

We believe that the people who are involved in or affected by conflicts are the ones who are best placed to resolve them. Through our mediation work, we attempt to help conflicting parties arrive at lasting, peaceful solutions.

In Africa, we are currently running humanitarian mediation programmes in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mali.

A voluntary and inclusive dialogue

Based on alerts from the field, we deploy mediation teams to conduct in-depth analyses of each conflict. If all parties to a conflict are willing to attempt to resolve it through mediation, we meet with everyone involved to clarify the process and our role as mediator.

Following this initial phase, all parties come together in a voluntary and inclusive dialogue to discuss the conflict, decide mutually agreeable solutions and determine next steps.

Throughout the process, including during the mediation itself, NRC acts as a neutral and impartial third party. We facilitate communication and stimulate discussion, but never take part in the substance of the debate. The process and outcomes are thus entirely owned by the participants.

NRC’s Humanitarian Mediation Initiative is funded by Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.