Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Traditional state-based and determined-design models are ill-equipped to help mediators manage increasingly dynamic, complex and unpredictable violent conflict systems. In this paper we explore an alternative approach, namely an iterative adaptive mediation process that enables the parties to generate solutions themselves, and that responds more nimbly to the challenges posed by complex conflict dynamics. With Adaptive Mediation, the aim of the mediator is to provide the benefits of external intervention without undermining self-organisation. When this approach is applied to conflict analyses, planning, monitoring and evaluation, the ability of mediation processes to navigate uncertainty and adapt to changing dynamics will be enhanced. In order for more resilient and more self-sustainable agreements to emerge, adaptive mediation requires mediators to apply a lighter touch. This encourages greater interdependence among the parties, and discourage dependence upon the mediator. As a result, utilising an adaptive mediation approach should result in generating peace agreements that are more locally-grounded, that are more self-sustainable and that are better able to withstand set-backs and shocks.