Mediation is an effective method of preventing, managing, and resolving conflicts.
However, a mediation process requires more than the appointment of a high-profile individual to act as a third party. To be effective, opponents need to be convinced of the merits of mediation.
Ad-hoc and poorly coordinated mediation efforts, even when launched with the best of intentions, do not get the goal of achieving durable results.
Mediation in general
What is mediation? Mediation is a process of communication in which persons in a dispute with the assistance of a mediator try to reach an agreement, understanding, or reconciliation.
Why did these parties agree to mediation?
Choosing mediation is a correct decision made by the conflicting parties instead of a trial for the following reasons:
- Mediation is confidential.
- Mediation improves communication.
- Mediation avoids litigation and the expense of going to trial.
- Mediation allows the parties to design their own resolution to their dispute.
- It is a win-win situation for all the parties involved.
- Mediation allows the parties to find closure to the dispute.
- Both sides reach a private agreement. Both sides come to an understanding.
Mediation is a voluntary process that requires the consent of the conflicting parties to be effective. Without consent, it is unlikely that parties will negotiate in good faith or be committed to the mediation process.
A range of issues can affect whether conflict parties consent to mediation. The integrity of the mediation process, security, and confidentiality are important elements in cultivating the consent of the parties, along with the acceptability of the mediator and the mediating entity.
Impartiality is the basis of mediation. If a mediation process is alleged to be biased, it can weaken meaningful progress to resolve the conflict. A mediator should be able to run a balanced process. It treats all parties of the conflict fairly, and should not have a material interest in the outcome. This also requires that the mediator is able to talk with all actors relevant to resolving the conflict.
Mediation is a process whereby a third party assists two or more parties, with their consent, to prevent, manage or resolve a conflict by helping them to develop mutually acceptable agreements.
The premise of mediation is that in the right environment, conflicting parties can improve their relationships and move toward cooperation.
Mediation is a voluntary Endeavour in which the consent of parties should be given. It is critical for a viable process and a durable outcome.
The role of the mediator is influenced by the nature of the relationship with the parties. Mediators usually have significant room to make procedural proposals and manage the process.
An effective mediation process responds to the specificity of the conflict. It takes into account the causes and dynamics of the conflict, the positions, interests, and coherence of the parties.
Mediation is a specialized activity. Through a professional approach, mediators provide a buffer for the conflict parties and instill confidence in the process and a belief that a peaceful resolution is achievable.
A good mediator promotes exchange through listening and dialogue and extends a spirit of collaboration.
While all disputes and conflicts are unique and require specific approaches, there are good practices that should be informed to all mediators.
Proper processes such as :
- Mediators Opening statement – verbal opening of the mediator;
- Parties opening statements – each;
- Joint discussions;
- A group or private meeting between mediator and one party;
- Closure after joint sessions and the mediation process comes to a closure in one or two ways;
- Without agreement/settlement;
- With agreement and settlement partially or fully.
Role of the Mediator
The mediator’s role is :
- Problem-solving, ensures that negotiating parties have sufficient knowledge, information, and skills to negotiate with confidence and broadens the process to include relevant stakeholders from different segments of society.
- Mediators are most successful in assisting negotiating parties to come to agreements when they are well informed.
- Should be patient, balanced in their approach, and discreet.
- Effective mediation requires a supportive external environment.
- A mediator needs to withstand external pressures and avoid unrealistic deadlines and also develop the support of the parties.
- He should set the tone for the mediation.