Good offices and mediation


Mediation is one of the most effective means to prevent, manage and resolve conflict, both in terms of cost and results. In the OSCE, this entails process advice and capacity-building for OSCE actors involved in mediation processes and facilitated dialogues. The most frequent approach utilized by OSCE field missions has been to provide “good offices” to facilitate dialogue and other forms of third party intervention to assist parties to a dispute in reaching agreement. OSCE mission staff often serve as go-betweens or mediators between disputing parties.


The Chief Negotiators from Moldova and Transdniestria - Cristina Lesnic and Vitaly Ignatiev - during a press briefing, 2018. (OSCE/Iurie Foca)

The Chief Negotiators from Moldova and Transdniestria - Cristina Lesnic and Vitaly Ignatiev - during a press briefing, 2018. (OSCE/Iurie Foca)

The (MC.DEC 3/11) called for a systematic mediation-support capacity within the CPC, which is the OSCE-wide focal point for the development of mediation support, incorporating four elements: 1) training and capacity-building, 2) knowledge management and operational guidance, 3) outreach, networking, co-operation and co-ordination, as well as 4) operational support. The OSCE Mediation Reference Guide contributes to enhancing knowledge management and operational guidance related to OSCE mediation and dialogue facilitation activities. The OSCE has provided “good offices” and other forms of third-party intervention to assist parties to a dispute in reaching agreement. While only a few OSCE FOs act as mediators, most FOs may be engaged in some dialogue facilitation. 


Mission to Moldova 


The OSCE Mission to Moldova HoM and staff have served as mediators between the government of Moldova and the breakaway region of Transdniestria. Thanks to the OSCE’s mediation efforts the two sides were able to establish practical cooperation on a range of issues, such as vehicle registration and electricity production. The Mission remained heavily engaged in the settlement process on the ground through shuttle diplomacy by the Head of Mission, by supporting the meetings of the Chief Negotiators and by supporting the 13 expert working groups. are issued regularly on the 5+2 negotiations on the Transdniestrian settlement process. 


Within the framework of the Transdniestrian settlement process, the co-mediators of the Russian Federation and Ukraine are closely co-operating with specialized international and joint Moldovan-Transdniestrian NGOs in carrying out track parallel processes with civil society, academic experts and community groups that feed into the formal negotiations. The international partners were particularly unified in their efforts to advance the settlement process during a period of political transition in Moldova. This is reflected in joint visits by the mediators and observers in the 5+2 format led by the Special Representative of the CiO, who continue their dialogue during 5+2 rounds of talks and at events on CBMs.


Thanks to the OSCE’s mediation efforts, the two sides were also able to establish practical cooperation on a range of issues, such as vehicle registration and electricity production. The Mission has also engaged the OSCE PA, of which the Moldova Team has facilitated several joint events for Moldovan and Transdniestrian parliamentarians. 


Special Monitoring Mission Ukraine (SMM)


Another prominent example of OSCE Good Offices and Mediation is the SMM’s involvement in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), where the SMM Chief Monitor is the Co-ordinator of the Working Group on Security Issues aiming to achieve a full and comprehensive implementation of the Minsk provisions and ceasefire agreements between the pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine. The SMM mandate includes references to dialogue facilitation, and facilitation of local ceasefires in eastern Ukraine. Press statements by the Special Representative of the CiO on Ukraine and in the TCG are issued by the OSCE CiO after regular meetings of the TCG. SMM teams play a crucial role in supporting local ceasefires/windows of silence between the Ukraine government and pro-Russian separatists in frontline areas which allow for the repair of utilities or evacuation of the sick and wounded. The SMM is the only international presence having access to both sides in the conflict, and it facilitates contacts between the government forces and the rebels. They also played a very important role in the aftermath of the downing of the MH 17 Malaysian airlines plane. Both sides had to be in agreement for the international community to get involved. It was SMM that ensured this agreement.


In August 2020, the Albanian CiO held a special PC to offer its good offices to facilitate dialogue in Belarus as a part of early action to address the confrontation after the August 2020 Presidential elections, and to prevent conflict.