The field of international peace mediation has become increasingly complex. Proliferation of actors that are able and willing to mediate has made multiparty mediation a standard format through which conflicts get managed. Due to their ad hoc nature, multiparty mediation efforts require specific mechanisms that will provide sufficient clarity and direction for the mediators involved. This paper departs by differentiating three distinct, yet highly interrelated, fundamental aspects that contribute to the overall success in multiparty mediation: cooperation, coordination and leadership. Treating coordination as a subset element of wider cooperation, this paper addresses the main challenges of achieving effective coordination in a given context. The paper highlights the relevance of information carrying capacity and premediated appointment of a leader when developing particular coordination mechanisms.
The recent United Nation Secretary General’s report on sustaining peace speaks to an urgent crisis of complexity in global affairs, where a wide assortment of nonstate actors wields more political power than ever before. In this context, the international community’s traditional ways of forecasting, planning, policymaking, and assessing impact are becoming rapidly obsolete. In response, policymakers are calling for more holistic or systemic approaches to peace and development. Unfortunately, these proposed changes are merely ‘systems light’, essentially a metaphorical characterization of peace systems where their component parts are seen as interconnected and complicated. This form of systems thinking is insufficiently informed by more sophisticated methods from complexity science. This article will illustrate how two methods derived from complexity science, causal loop diagramming and mathematical modeling, can help us understand the properties and dynamics of intervention in complex peace systems. Causal loop diagrams help us to identify the peace factors and the connections between them. Mathematical modeling helps us determine the quantitative results of the interactions between all the peace factors. Using these methods together can lead to new insights for peacebuilding and for mitigating the unintended consequences of well intended policies.
The dynamic quality of protracted intra‐state conflicts is a factor that complicates and sometimes confounds the efforts of peacemakers. Building on this insight, and given the prevalence of conflicts of this type in the contemporary international system, this paper takes up a central question: how can peacemakers adapt to changing dynamics along the parameters of a protracted intra‐state conflict in order to cultivate effective resolution of the conflict? Inspired by the theme of this special issue on new diplomacy in new conflicts, this paper draws on and modifies the concepts of ‘adaptive peacemaking’ and ‘adaptive peacebuilding’ (de Coning, 2018; Okulski, 2017) in order to provide a heuristic device for evaluating peacemaking efforts within protracted intra‐state conflicts. In that vein, this paper examines third‐party mediation within the setting of the second Sudanese civil war through the lens of a modified adaptive peacemaking approach. The resulting analysis allows for a conceptual and empirical assessment of the prospects as well as the perils of ‘adaptive peacemaking’ within the context of protracted civil wars.
As warfare mutates from intrastate to infrastate, it was Clausewitz himself who created his own paradigmatic exit: war is a chameleon. The changing nature and trajectories of war have also changed the way that international mediators have deployed and used their skillsets. From liberation movements who fought for a new sociopolitical agenda to fragmented rebel formations and individuals who fight for self‐interests and preservation, mediators have to adapt to the new realities. The real actors are invisible or fluid in shape and structure, and interventions tend to be mired by a lack of appropriate response mechanisms. Along with a dissipation of Western values and culture, and the rise of proto‐states and secessionist movements, the brewing sandstorms of new wars over a new world power dispensation pose a tremendous challenge for mediators. The article will reinforce mediation theory and applied practice through a review of past experiences and a call to supplement state level instruments of mediation with local level cultural dialogue capacities (highlighting early warning and early responses) and the creation of safe spaces through integrated and complementarity approaches to interventions.
This article analyzes the evolution of concert diplomacy in the past 370 years. It argues that negotiations bridging gaps are vulnerable unless parties have some control over each other. As modern technology makes war more costly, concerted negotiations are becoming increasingly important. This study raises questions about the future role of concert diplomacy in a globalizing world in which states and diplomats are losing their age old hegemony in international relations while some politicians do not shy away from deleting agreements that have already been signed and ratified. Pacta servanda suntseems to lose some of its significance. This contribution concludes with recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of working together through negotiation processes in concerto, even if the concert becomes unharmonious.
Branko Milanovic provides his thoughts on France’s recent woes