Case Studies

Case Studies

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5118-8.ch005
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This chapter offers a case study comparison in order to extrapolate lessons learned from different contexts and to investigate the key elements of effective mediation. The investigation and exploration looks at the following categories: (1) key lessons learned; (2) background of the conflict, including chronology of main event, causes of incompatibility, and balance of forces1; (3) pre-negotiation phase, including previous attempts to negotiate the issues and highlighting entry points for third parties; (4) negotiation phase, including style and strategy, key issues, participation and inclusivity, special considerations; and (5) assessment, including an appreciation of agreement, context, and outlook.
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Firstly, the cases were selected based on the author’s experience as political affairs and mediation expert, in some cases providing direct negotiation support to the Special Envoys, in others, contributing through capacity-building indirectly to the outcome of the agreement. Second, and to enhance the learning, desktop research, semi-structured interviews and making use of process-tracing allowed for better capturing the essence of the cases selected for the purpose of this paper (Collier, 2011). A third consideration for the selection of the cases lies in the dimension of culture and how it affected the contextual dimensions of the process: all cases are located in a context of intra-state violent warfare, the centrality of power held by the contested state, the proliferation of human rights abuses, the spill-over effect of the conflict on neighboring countries, a regional approach to peacemaking, the intervention by the UN based on a mandate, the activities of spoilers, the shift from ideologically driven struggles to a focus on human security, and a comprehensive peace agreement as outcome.

Briefly, and before engaging in the exploration of the cases, this broad overview of the mediation phases will be used as the roadmap for the mediated process, in all cases. For the sake of relevance, the cases depict a compressed and more organic perspective on the rather linear roadmap, yet the reader will quickly get a sense of orientation and navigation.

There are five main phases in the mediation process (see Table 1):

  • Phase 1: Preparation

  • Phase 2: Entry

  • Phase 3: Coordination

  • Phase 4: Action

  • Phase 5: Closure and agreement

Table 1.
The five main phases in the meditation process
Phase 1: Preparation
Step 1: Collecting and analyzing background informationCollect and analyse data about the background, people, dynamics, and substance of conflict
Identify primary, secondary and peripheral conflicts
Complete circle-of conflict analysis of causes of conflict
Verify accuracy of data to minimize the impact of inaccurate or unavailable data
Step 2: Strategy designPrepare mediator’s design for intervention
Assist parties to be aware of and assess various approaches to conflict management and resolution, and then to select an appropriate approach they are comfortable with
Important that the parties’ approaches are co-ordinated
Step 3: SetupLocation
Determining the physical space
Phase 2: Entry
Step 4: Mediator’s EntryHow is the mediator brought into process?
Initial trust building and educating role of mediator
Promote rapport between parties and increase their commitment to the mediation
Phase 3: Coordination
Step 5: Coordinating the TeamManaging Team
Media Strategy
Phase 4: Action
Step 6: Beginning the mediation sessionEstablish open and positive tone
Establish basic ground rules and behavioural guidelines
Opening statements by parties
Where appropriate, assist parties to vent emotions
Step 7: Defining issues and setting an agendaPresent ways of setting agenda, allow parties to choose approach
Identify issues by:
     - Allowing parties to make presentations
     - Identifying areas of agreement
     - Define and order the issues
Step 8: Uncovering hidden interests of the disputing partiesOnce the substantive, procedural and psychological interests of the parties have been identified, it is important that the parties are educated about each other’s interests
Step 9: Generating options for settlementFor parties to begin generating constructive alternatives which might contribute to final settlement, they must be encouraged to develop an awareness of the need for options and simultaneously be encouraged to lower their commitment to positions or sole alternatives
Step 10: Assessing options for settlementThe interests of the parties must be reviewed to see how those interests can be met by available options
Parties can be helped to assess the costs and benefits of selecting options
Phase 5: Closure and Agreement
Step 11: Final bargainingThis stage involves reaching agreement
Step 12: Achieving formal settlementA mediator should check that parties identify appropriate procedural steps to put the agreement into action – to ‘operationalise’ the agreement. Parties should be encouraged to consider establishing an evaluation and monitoring procedure, formalizing the settlement and creating an enforcement and commitment mechanism.

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