As many other actors in the peacemaking field, we are convinced that current mediation practices need to be made more inclusive and democratic, bringing on board larger segments or the population in conflict-afflicted areas. This makes any agreement reached more sustainable and more likely to bring about peace.
EIP’s contribution to this effort is to try improve the way inclusion is integrated into mediation processes generally, and to apply inclusive approaches in our own work. EIP does this with a broad understanding of inclusion, which takes into account all groups and actors involved in and affected by conflict. In this effort EIP often acts as a bridge to official diplomacy channels, to ensure that the voices normally excluded from the official processes can be heard, and that those processes reach the actors needed in order to be successful. This naturally includes a conscious gender perspective: women, in all walks of life, are disproportionately excluded from the official processes of peacemaking.
EIP views this issue from a systemic perspective, looking beyond mere representation of different groups at the higher levels. Going deeper, we try to understand what is needed to reshape power dynamics in political processes. Sometimes a process as a whole needs to change before it can be made more inclusive and democratic. At the same time, we are aware that effectiveness on the ground relies on flexible and pragmatic approaches tailored to the context. EIP’s approach to inclusion can therefore be defined as pragmatic and focused on what we believe will bring meaningful and lasting change.