Doing Things Differently: Mediating in Mozambique

©Peace Process Support

Doing Things Differently: Mediating in Mozambique

By Catherine Turner and Julia Palmiano Federer

Key points

  • The mediation and implementation of the Maputo Accord for Peace and
    National Reconciliation (Maputo Accord) in Mozambique (signed in 2019)
    offer lessons on breaking with conventional and traditional approaches to
    peace processes in order to achieve success.
  • The mediation of the Maputo Accord put Mozambican actors in the driving
    seat of the process. This approach foregrounded the agency of the parties
    through a human-centred process design that prioritised the dignity of
    Mozambican actors and the country itself.
  • The mediation was underpinned by a flexible and agile approach built on
    networked dialogue, adaptive mediation, and incremental implementation
    based on trust and relationships between mediators and the Principals.
  • The strategic leadership of the mediators was a core component of the
    success of the mediation process and emphasised the values of humility
    and empathy, and the centrality of working in a team.
  • The process leading to the signing of the Maputo Accord was made possible
    by effective financial coordination between international actors such as
    donors, contact groups, and embassy staff that prioritised core trust-based
    funding over project-based short-term support.
  • The process prioritised an approach of “bespoke inclusion” that was co-created
    with the parties.
  • These flexible, agile, and creative approaches to mediation process design
    decentre mediation actors and centre the parties themselves. These principles
    can offer lessons for a mediation field characterised by fragmentation,
    mistrust and polarisation.

Dr Catherine Turner is Professor of International Law at Durham University, and Deputy Director of the Durham Global Security Institute, an Associate Fellow of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, a member of the Folke Bernadotte Academy International Working Group on Mediation and Dialogue and the NATO Civil Society Advisory Panel on Women Peace and Security (2023-2026 mandate). She is currently Chair of the Belfast based NGO Mediation Northern Ireland, with whom she has a 20 year association.

Dr Julia Palmiano Federer is a Fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zürich. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Collaboratory at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership and a Laureate of the 2022 Women, Peace and Security Research Awards for her work on women, peace, security, and climate change.

Disclamer: The views, information and opinions expressed in this publication are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect those of the GCSP or the members of its Foundation Council. The GCSP is not responsible for the accuracy of the information.