Mediation

The Colombian president and leader of the FARC guerrillas shake hands at the signing of the peace accord in June 2016 in Havana, in the presence of Raoul Castro.
Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londono sealing the peace accord in June 2016 in Havana, in the presence of Raoul Castro. © Keystone

Mediation is part of Switzerland’s good offices and is one of the country’s foreign policy priorities. Switzerland may be requested to act as a mediator by conflicting parties themselves, or may offer its mediation services. It acts as a mediator itself or offer support to negotiating parties and to mediation efforts of others. Switzerland also seeks to promote the professionalisation of mediation in collaboration with the international community.

Switzerland is a globally renowned and sought-after partner as a mediator in peace negotiations and in supporting mediation and peace processes. In recent years it has accompanied over 30 peace processes in more than 20 countries. Switzerland is increasingly deploying experts to international organisations such as the UN and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), to mediate in conflicts on behalf of the organisation.

With the agreement of the parties in conflict, Switzerland creates a space for negotiations – it does not take sides or influence the agenda. It helps the parties to identify the root causes, formulate their concerns and work out solutions.

Mediation as part of Switzerland’s good offices (PDF, 182.4 kB, English)

There are five different types of activities linked to mediation:

Professionalisation

In order to meet the demand for Swiss mediation, Switzerland is increasing its capacities and professionalising the mediation. It offers basic and advanced training courses with partners such as swisspeace on a regular basis. Since November 2017, Switzerland has also been contributing to a master’s programme in mediation in peace processes at the ETH Zurich. The programme is the only one of its kind worldwide. It is also supported by Germany, Finland, Sweden, the UN and the OSCE.

Master of Advanced Studies ETH Mediation in Peace Processes