Organised for the third time from 27-29 April 2021, the EU Community of Practice on Peace Mediation 2021 hosted a rich exchange with civil society and EU actors. This online event aimed at building a community of peace mediation practitioners who engage with and for the EU around the globe. The event brought together active mediation practitioners and partners to share experiences, learn lessons and drive forward key issues in peace-making.
This year, the Global Alliance of Regional Women Mediators Network organised and moderated two panels: Implications of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Conflict Settings: How to Empower Communities of Survivors in Peace Processes, chaired by the Nordic Women Mediators Network; and The Protection of Women Mediators and Peacebuilders chaired by Women Mediators across the Commonwealth.
In the first panel, Implications of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Conflict Settings, mediators shared their experience in the field and provided recommendations such as the need to create an international mechanism that focuses on these crimes, the need for a paradigm shift in seeing survivors as actors and not only victims, and the importance of grassroots organisations and community mediation. It was also stressed that mediators need to be educated further on gender-sensitive mediation approaches and on understanding the needs of victims and survivors. Conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence is a sensitive topic and often a taboo, but there are ways to address it in mediation and peace processes.
The second panel, The Protection of Women Mediators and Peacebuilders chaired by Women Mediators across the Commonwealth discussed the findings of WMC’s research on the psychosocial impact of peacebuilding on women mediators and peacebuilders, which will be published this summer. The panel then highlighted that threats to women mediators and peacebuilders are on the rise internationally, and that it is important to tackle the issue, create protection mechanisms at all levels and safe spaces while mainstreaming psychosocial support. The panel was also an opportunity to share the results and recommendations from the Working Group on the Protection of Women Mediators and Peacebuilders that took place during the Global Alliance 1st Annual Event last Autumn 2020.