Exploring Approaches to Effective Mediation:

The Role of Culturally Sensitive Mediation

Istanbul, 1 November 2019

Turkey, in cooperation with other member states and the General Secretariat, has been exerting efforts towards strengthening the mediation capacity at the OIC and taking initiatives to that effect. These include the OIC Member States meetings launched in 2017 and repeated in 2018 in Istanbul; and the Mediation for Peace Certificate Program, which aims to raise the next generation of mediators in the OIC member states through intensive training; and the inauguration of the OIC Contact Group of the Friends of Mediation. These initiatives, realized with the effective support of the OIC General Secretariat, have been endorsed and welcomed by the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC through two successive resolutions. Accordingly, Resolutions POL-53/45 and POL-56/46 have set out a concrete agenda for the way ahead, which includes among others, the continuation of the mediation meetings and the preparation of a Code of Conduct for mediators that focuses on culturally sensitive approaches.

The idea of a code of conduct on culturally sensitive approaches to mediation was raised during discussions at the first and second OIC member states mediation conferences in Istanbul. As a follow up to the Resolution POL-56/46, Turkey has introduced to the OIC Contact Group on Friends of Mediation a Straw-Man to initiate and stimulate a discussion within the Organisation to that effect. The document, inspired by the UN Guidance for Effective Mediation (2012) and the OSCE’s Report on Support to Insider Mediation (2016), incorporated elements underlining the role that culture and cultural sensitivity may play in mediation processes. It also made the point that an effort is needed to cast the question in widest possible terms and consider the role of culture and sensitivity to cultural differences to facilitate effective mediation in all cultural settings. In line with the Resolution POL-53/45 and POL-56/46; and the Report of the Third meeting of the OIC Contact Group of Friends of Mediation (Jeddah, 27 June), the Statistical, Economic, Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) of the OIC, in cooperation with the OIC General Secretariat, held a brainstorming session on the same issue in Ankara in September 2019.

Against this background, the Third OIC Member States Conference on mediation to be held in cooperation with the OIC General Secretariat will review the current state of mediation capacity within the OIC and build upon efforts to flesh out a Code of Conduct on culturally sensitive mediation, in the implementation of the Resolution POL-56/46 and Road Map as agreed by the OIC Contact Group on Friends of Mediation.