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At the Gates to Peace: Mediators as Gatekeepers

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Jensehaugen, Jørgen; Kristoffer Lidén & Isabel Bramsen

Limiting the number of parties and reducing external interference in peace mediation used to be considered the recipe for success. Yet, this logic of exclusion has been countered by an ever-growing expectation of inclusivity to create a just and sustainable peace. In this policy brief, we explore how attempts to balance exclusion and inclusion affects the roles and responsibilities of peace mediators.

Brief Points

  • Mediators may act as gatekeepers by influencing who is let into negotiation processes. They may facilitate exclusion through secret meetings and communications between conflict parties. They may also actively seek to exclude parties they perceive as illegitimate or disruptive.

  • Mediators can nudge warring parties to accept a more inclusive process. Such door-opening functions may involve greater demands for gender inclusion and democratic elections, consultations with civil society groups, or initiating an international ‘group of friends’.

  • The role as gatekeeper can be exercised as a ‘bouncer’ through coercion, as a ‘dealer’ by exchanging services, or as a ‘charmer’ by alluding to the norms and interests of the parties.