From People to People: Civil Society as Mediation Actors – Hope for South Sudan?

@Café Playing with Eels

Report by Anna Schwarz and Lena Strauß

Inclusiveness, knowledge, consistency, and funding are the essential ingredients for a (local) successful peace agreement and mediation process in South Sudan according to Michael Jay Arensen, a Senior Project Manager from the Berghof Foundation.

During the second teatime on Mediation in Africa Arensen vividly explained the intricacies of peace supporting efforts by NGOs in the conflict-ridden East African country. Although the discussion brought up rather disillusioned insights from activities by international organizations as well as neighboring countries, cautious optimism was expressed concerning a promising role of the South Sudanese youth and women groups in the future. The conversation also illustrated the strong need for local ownership within peace processes, which, however, is only being realized in a selective manner. In the concluding discussion many questions and comments were directed toward the expert – not only because of his passionate account about peace supporting efforts in South Sudan, but also because of his sound knowledge and extensive fund of experience.

This event was the second Teatime of a series that is part of the Mediation in Africa project. Over the course of the next months, we will – together with international experts – discuss and analyse challenges and opportunities of (emerging) structures as well as actors on the African continent, who aim to prevent and transform conflicts with the power of mediation.

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