The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) and the African Union (AU) collaborated to produce the AU Mediation Support Handbook. The recently published handbook is a general reference and field study guide for mediation teams and lead mediators deployed on AU mediation missions. With mediation in Africa having moved from an ad hoc intervention to a more institutionalised approach, there is a need for further training, information gathering and dissemination, as well as strategy guidance, as covered in the handbook.
Comprising three parts, the handbook reflects on the current practice of and knowledge required for effective mediation on the African continent.
- The first part focuses on explaining the importance of understanding conflict environments and discusses evolving roles of mediation practitioners.
- Part two uses examples and case studies to explain the phases of mediation: preparing for mediation, entering mediation, negotiating in mediation, coordinating the mediation intervention, and closing the mediation. This section also explains the key skills, attitudes and experiences that are necessary for successful mediation.
- Finally, the third part explores the various steps of the knowledge management framework (KMF) which supports the identification of lessons learnt, development of knowledge and sharing of experiences.
The AU Mediation Support Handbook is a practical tool, based on the premise that mediation is a critical and complex skill that requires time, practice and continued education. It intends to facilitate an engagement with the theory and practice of mediation within the context of AU-mandated interventions. The handbook was developed through a series of consultations with the AU Conflict Management Division and as a result of reviewing existing mediation tools, instruments and practices and engaging on how these can be effectively utilised and improved.
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