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Analysis: Mediation must evolve to meet the demands of the Post-COVID World

Published on Wednesday, 9 September 2020

In a recent analysis two of our experts Itonde Kakoma and Edward Marques examine the realities of future mediation and present some of the fundamental questions which must be addressed to keep peacemaking up to date. 

CMI’s Director for Global Strategy Itonde Kakoma and Senior Manager for Policy and Innovation Ed Marques.

Global peace and security are maintained through international institutions and practices which are ill-equipped to deal with the current challenges. Conflicts have become ever more complex while taking increasingly hybrid forms. The COVID-19 pandemic has exasperated existing trends, stressing the necessity for new solutions. To find such, we must present the right questions, and this is exactly what our Director for Global Strategy Itonde Kakoma and Senior Manager for Policy and Innovation Ed Marques explore in their joint article published by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. 

What we are seeing now is a world where the centres of power are shifting, the Western hegemony is no more and the cornerstone of international peace, the UN Security Council, is in deadlock. As the world is balancing anew, impartial ground is slipping away, which means fewer neutral spaces for peace mediation. 

The technological revolution presents both new channels for peaceful interaction, and new ways to fuel conflicts. New technologies distance actors from time and place, blurring the lines between war and peace. Internal conflicts are becoming internationalised in ways previously unheard ofComplex conflict dynamics require sophisticated tools to analyse, and here mediators must look to new technologies. 

Climate change adds another aspect peacemakers must consider. It does not cause conflicts on its own, but it is increasing the importance of environmental factors. Mediators must be prepared to handle its consequences. 

Kakoma’s and Marques’ findings highlight the demand for diverse and agile actors in the field of peacemaking. Independent organisations are a necessary part of the mosaic that is to be the future of mediation.