Strengthening national capacities for mediation and dialogue: National dialogue platforms and infrastructures for peace

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    Ultimately, in a conflict it is the ability of those parties in conflict to resolve their differences that is decisive in a negotiated war-to-peace transition. Strong national capacities for dialogue and mediation support the conflict transformation potential of a society. This requires institutional mechanisms that can provide the necessary support structures, for instance through ‘Infrastructures for Peace’, i.e. ‘dynamic networks of interdependent structures, mechanisms, resources, values, and skills which, through dialogue and consultation, contribute to conflict prevention and peace building in a society.’ 

    Having strong national capacities for mediation can be particularly relevant in situations where external mediation by the EU or others is not possible or desirable; in this case internal mediation would take the place of external mediation, for instance if (some of) the parties to the conflict do not accept outside mediation, or if a third party resists contact with armed non-state groups since this may grant them legitimacy. Furthermore, external Western parties including the EU tend to shape peace processes from their viewpoint, underpinned by neoliberal economic and democratic forms of governance. In certain cases, this may not be viewed as desirable by the conflict parties and more locally legitimised forms of consensus are preferred.

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