In an ongoing quest to support mediation activities by the African Union and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Africa, ACCORD has participated in the 7th bi-annual Mediation Support Network (MSN) Meeting, which served as a platform for promoting exchange about planned and on-going activities in mediation on the continent of Africa. The meeting took place from 10-11 October in Accra, Ghana.
The MSN is a small global network made up primarily of non-governmental organisations that support mediation in peace negotiations. Realising the growing impetus of mediation and the centrality of mediation in peace processes, the MSN converged in Accra to focus on the theme "Regional Intergovernmental Organisations (RIGOs) in Mediation Efforts and Complementary Roles of International Actors". The meeting focused on the work of RIGOs, appreciating the complementary role of RIGOs in supporting peace mediation, and reviewing trends in the field of mediation and how this interfaces with the work of RIGOs. Discussions acknowledged the fact that mediation remains at the core of international bodies such as the UN. Although there has been a decline in inter-state conflicts on a global scale, there has been a concomitant increase in intra-state conflicts. The challenge remains as to what national capacities are available to deal with such challenges as they emerge.
The meeting also reviewed the UN Guidance for effective mediation. The Guidance aims to inform the design and management of mediation processes and is intended as a resource for mediation practitioners. With a special commitment to promote and improve mediation practice, MSN intended to produce a commentary on the UN guidance. Contributing towards the operationalization of the guidance, ACCORD views the UN guidance as fundamental to ensuring quality peace agreements. Additionally, the meeting facilitated shared analyses of peace and security challenges on the continent, and opportunities for mediation.
A follow up meeting to these discussions will be held in Berlin in October 2013 following which ACCORD will host another MSN meeting in Durban during the first quarter of 2014.