At mediation capacity training, strong call for stakeholders to play their part in ensuring peaceful environment and remain vigilant before the elections
March 14, 2023
As Sierra Leone has experienced electoral disputes and episodes of political instability in recent years, it is widely agreed that the successful conduct of the upcoming general elections will rest on a well-tempered environment and on the stakeholders’ ability to effectively monitor potential sources of tension.
To that end, several initiatives have been launched, such as the mediation capacity programme under the joint auspices of the UNDP/UNICEF UN Peacebuilding Fund Project (PBF) and WANEP in partnership with the Folke Bernadotte Academy.
On Monday 6 March, the UN PBF-WANEP mediation component kicked of a weeklong training in Freetown, designed to impart timely refreshers on conflict analysis and conflict prevention methods and to help participants strengthen their negotiation, mediation and dialogue techniques. The interactive training programme was facilitated by the representatives of the Folke Bernadotte Academy, Per Bjälkander and Joao Gomes Porto.
Hailing the timely organization and relevance of the training, UNRCO Peace and Development Advisor, Simonetta Rossi thanked the various partners including the Folke Bernadotte Academy for its meaningful contribution to enhancing the capacity of mediators on conflict resolution and dialogue techniques and the UN PBF for its continued support to the electoral process in Sierra Leone.
“As the country move towards the general elections, in an environment of growing political tension and economic difficulties, it is important to increase our efforts to mitigate violence and resolve disputes peacefully, while advocating for addressing the justice and social inclusion needs of people and reducing polarization and distrust,” said Simonetta Rossi.
The training programme also stresses the importance of mastering the Alternative Dispute Resolution methods as applied to the specific context of Sierra Leone where observers have witnessed a hardening of the public discourse amplified by the widespread use of social media platforms.
It is worth noting that UNDP, as part of its work under the UN Peacebuilding Fund Project, has joined forces with WANEP to strengthen early warning and response mechanisms in Sierra Leone and to provide technical support for the organization of mediation and negotiation trainings. Their partnership also facilitates the deployment of monitors and insider mediators in the field and the creation of a dedicated situation room to analyze the field information and incident reports.
The mediation training which concluded on 10 March, is part of a larger effort by the United Nations, national institutions, and civil society organizations to ensure a peaceful conduct of the elections, scheduled on 24 June 2023.
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