06 July 2008

The new mediators

An interesting article in the current Economist about the new mediators: small groups, away from the UN razzmatazz, working behind the scenes to resolve conflict, with some success.
The UN has traditionally provided a forum for the discussion and resolution of international disputes. However... “There are no equivalent mechanisms for intrastate dispute resolution...despite the fact that most violent conflicts today are not international but intrastate in character.” The new mediators provide the new mechanisms. Many of these contemporary conflicts involve insurgents, secessionists or even “resource-warriors”....The discreet charms of the international go-between, 'The Economist', 3 July 2008 (subscription, probably)
This is actually quite a positive story. It even puts UN efforts in a good light: at the very least they provide a distraction from the quiet efforts made by the new mediators that would fail if they attracted too much attention. Purists might object to the involvement of terrorist groups in the mediators' negotiations. It is repellent to me also; but as far as the well-being of populations is concerned, it is very often the best tactic.

Conflict Resolution Bonds would embody the principle that meaningful outcomes are more important than history, taste, ideology, facts or even justice when it comes to negotiating the end of conflict. I'm pleased that the new mediators recognise that. A CRB, by targeting socially beneficial outcomes, would probably see such valuable initiatives arising less haphazardly than now.

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