The European Union and UNDP to renew partnership on Insider Mediation for conflict prevention and peacebuilding

May 17, 2023
UNDP Guatemala

UNDP-EU partnership on Insider Mediation has enabled building and piloting critical insider mediation capacities across 14 countries.

UNDP Guatemala

New York and Brussels – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU) have renewed their partnership on insider mediation for conflict prevention and peacebuilding through a three-year project aimed to support local leadership and local ownership in peace mediation. 

“Increasingly, conflicts are compounded by multi-dimensional drivers such as weak governance, intercommunal tension and polarization, climate change, and endemic gender inequality.  Locally-led, inclusive and people-centered prevention and peacebuilding efforts can empower communities who have the most to gain from social cohesion and sustaining peace”, Asako Okai, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director, UNDP Crisis Bureau said. 

As critical resources for locally-led peacebuilding, Insider Mediators (IMs) “derive their legitimacy, credibility and influence from a socio-cultural and/or religious – and, indeed, personal – closeness to the parties of the conflict, endowing them with strong bonds of trust that help foster the necessary attitudinal changes amongst key protagonists which, over time, prevent conflict and contribute to sustaining peace”, according to the UNDP Guidance Note Engaging with Insider Mediators: Sustaining peace in an age of turbulence (2020). 

During its first (2012-2013) and second (2015-2018) phase, the UNDP-EU partnership on Insider Mediation has enabled building and piloting critical insider mediation capacities across 14 countries while contributing to global policy and practice through two guidance notes on Engaging with Insider Mediators. A previous project phase in Peru supported Insider Mediators from civil society and community organizations to participate in multi-stakeholder dialogues on democratic and sustainable natural resource management, whereas women Insider Mediators in Uganda contributed to violence-free elections in 2016 through an early-warning and rapid response mechanism.

Working even closer with national partners, the new phase will dedicate its resources to institutionalizing and sustaining the capacities of Insider Mediators, significantly boosting the leadership of women and youth, facilitating access to global knowledge as well as context-specific, shared learning via peer support. Its holistic approach will better connect Insider Mediators and their expertise with relevant UN system, regional and international actors to promote insider mediation across local and global spheres.

“Insider mediation will become an even more significant part of the global peacebuilding architecture. It is already an effective component of the EU and UN efforts to foster locally led and people-centered initiatives to build and sustain peace”, Benedikta von Seherr-Thoss, Managing Director of Common Security and Defence Policy in the European External Action Service (EEAS) said. 

Inclusivity is key to strengthening the capacities of Insider Mediators. "The renewed UNDP-EU partnership on Insider Mediation pays particular attention to the powerful potential of women and young people as change agents for peace", Peter M. Wagner, Head of the European Commission's Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) said. Both the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) as well as the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agendas demonstrate the pivotal role of women's and young people's meaningful inclusion and leadership in conflict prevention and sustainable peacebuilding. 

While reinforcing the important role of Insider Mediators, the new project phase also highlights the centrality of peace as the founding premise of both the United Nations and the European Union and as a critical enabling global goal for the Sustainable Development Agenda, nationally and globally.