Latest News

Mediation in Armed Conflicts: Exploring Dynamics, Challenges, and Paths to Peace

Mediation in Armed Conflicts: Exploring Dynamics, Challenges, and Paths to Peace

Mediation is one of the most nonviolent means of resolving disputes among all the other methods of alternative dispute resolution. This concept originated in ancient Greece, Rome, and China around 4000 BC, and because of its adaptability and affordability, it has to date become a widely accepted approach for the settlement of armed-related disputes. There are various analytical stances used to characterize mediation, some of the main of which are: as an extension of the negotiating process, as a third-party intervention in the dispute, and as complete conflict management. One of the main goals of mediation is to assist the parties in coming to a mutually agreeable resolution and solution.


The parties involved in the process and the mediator impact the nature, course, and result of the mediation in armed conflicts, as the mediator's way of thinking has a huge impact on the process. Therefore, due to the large variety of parties involved in modern armed conflicts, there is an imbalance in the legal standing and military operations capability. The process could also be influenced by the goal of the mediator for carrying out the mediation, along with his or her qualifications, background, and political connections to the organization to which they are connected. To settle violent conflicts, the parties and the mediator's main target will ultimately shape the mediation process and its conclusion.[1] However, there will always be various unanswered questions and disparities, and due to all this, the field of international peace mediation has not grown substantially. When this process is compared to other foreign policy instruments such as economic penalties, the mediation's effectiveness and approach to resolving harmful situations are evaluated. In recent years, we have also seen a significant increase in the study of international mediation's capacity to resolve harmful disputes. The capacity of mediation to address the parties' resources, talents, and legal standing is what makes it successful in bringing about peaceful change.

Advancements and Challenges in Mediation Research

When it comes to facts and theoretical advancements, mediation and its research have advanced considerably, but still, various issues remain the same, pointing out that mediation should be given more priority on the agenda for peace research. A strong impact should be made on the research on the mediation of other players' actions, such as those of spoilers and seasoned mediators, with their agendas.[2] The process of negotiation could be impacted by concurrent international initiatives, and coordinated worldwide strategies may also be proven to be more successful than discrete ones. Hence, to comprehend the influences on mediation success, mediation research should gather ever-more-detailed data on such incidents. Though all this texture is the focus of the study related to armed conflicts involving states, there are also a large number of non-state conflicts and other disputes that end up in mediation due to their peaceful activity. The interpretation of mediation efforts is also significantly influenced by external events, such as so-called natural catastrophes. The mediation research and studies theoretically advance the bargaining theory; nonetheless, there seems to be a disconnect between the reality of mediators and mediation research. Therefore, the building of additional bridges between scholars and practitioners is necessary to make the research helpful in a society where major conflicts of all kinds abound.[3]


The mediation process, because of its adaptability, affordability, and capacity to alter parties' perspectives or actions without the need for force or formal authority, is one of the most popular means of settling violent disputes. For the nonviolent intervention of an outside party, a mediator is the one that entails settling disagreements in the conflict. The parties to the dispute must also consent to the mediator's intervention, which is a non-violent and non-binding decision.  The voluntary method of resolving conflicts, mediation, gives both parties autonomy over the proceedings and gives them the choice to accept or reject the mediator's recommendations. The players, including the parties to the dispute and the mediator, as well as their intentions, are the primary variables influencing the type, course, and conclusion of mediation. Both state and non-state actors are involved in violent confrontations nowadays. Ensuring their goals, reaping substantial benefits, profit and loss analysis, breaking deadlocks, utilizing mediation as a political and communication strategy, lessening international pressure, balancing opportunities and positions, utilizing mediation as a "save face" strategy, and using the mediator as a moderator, verifier, and guarantor for the implementation of a potential agreement are the main reasons adversaries choose mediation as a tool to regulate conflict. The mediator's and the parties' stated reasons for seeking mediation impact the mediation process's structure, which in turn impacts the players' conduct, roles, areas of discussion, and degree of engagement. The success or failure of mediation is determined by how well the players in the mediation align with their motivations.[4]



[1] Rohner, Dominic. "Mediation, military, and money: The promises and pitfalls of outside interventions to end armed conflicts." Journal of Economic Literature (2022).

[2] Wallensteen, Peter, and Isak Svensson. "Talking peace: International mediation in armed conflicts." Journal of Peace Research 51.2 (2014): 315–327.

[3] Svensson, Isak. Elusive peacemakers: A bargaining perspective on mediation in internal armed conflicts. Diss. Institutionen för freds-och konfliktforskning, 2006.

[4] de Coning, Cedric, Ako Muto, and Rui Saraiva, "Adaptive Mediation and Conflict Resolution in Contemporary and Future Armed Conflicts." Adaptive Mediation and Conflict Resolution: Peace-making in Colombia, Mozambique, the Philippines, and Syria. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2022, 1–17.

  • Despite advancements, the article emphasizes the ongoing need to prioritize mediation in the peace research agenda.
  • The study highlights the significant impact of external events, such as natural catastrophes, on the interpretation of mediation efforts.
  • A key finding emphasizes the necessity of closing the gap between theoretical advancements and practical realities in mediation, urging collaboration between scholars and practitioners.

BY : Vaishnavi Rastogi

All Latest News