In recent years competition has emerged as a central theme in international mediation as an
increasing number of mediation actors seek opportunities to engage in peacemaking. At the same
time, mediation coordination mechanisms, such as Groups of Friends, have become standard practice
in international peacemaking. This paper seeks to make sense of the dynamics of competition and
cooperation in peace mediation today. To this end, it considers three case studies of post-Cold War
peace processes: Sudan (North-South, 1994–2005), Kenya (2008) and Madagascar (2009, ongoing).
On the basis of interviews with experts directly involved in these processes, it identifies three forces
that drive competition: clashing interests between states, overlapping mandates of mediation actors,
and disagreements over the normative basis of international politics. These forces risk undermining
peace processes unless the mediators take steps to prevent or mitigate the negative effects of
competition. This can be done through ‘hierarchical coordination’, where a recognized authority takes
the lead and allocates roles to other actors, or through ‘networked-based cooperation’, where partners
decide on a division of labour.
The mission of the Centre is to contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of mediation in major conflicts in Africa through teaching, training, research and supporting the UN, the AU, sub-regional organisations and African governments.