High-Level Seminar on Gender and Inclusive Mediation Processes

Led by Torunn L. Tryggestad
Jan 2013 -
Photo: Taral Jansen

​​Since 2013, PRIO has taken part in the High-Level Seminar on Gender and Inclusive Mediation Processes initiative for envoys, senior mediators and their teams. The seminar has been one of the activities of the PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security​, led by Torunn L. Tryggestad, and will continue to be a core activity of the newly established PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security, also led by Tryggestad. The seminar is a cooperative effort of the UN Department of Political Affars (DPA), PRIO, Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), and the Governments of Norway and Finland. ​Participation in the seminar is by invitation only.​

The first series of seminars took place between 2013 and 2015, organized in Oslo and Helsinki:​​​

First High-Level Seminar, Oslo, 20-21 June 2013
Second High-Level Seminar, Helsinki, 8-10 October 2013​
Third High-Level Seminar, Helsinki, 13-15 May 2​014​
Fourth High-Level Seminar, Oslo, 18-20 November 2014
Fifth High-Level Semi​nar​, Oslo, 24-26 March 2015
Sixth High-Level Seminar, Helsinki, 19-21 May 2015

The second series of seminars started in 2016 with the Seventh High-Level Seminar held in Oslo on 11–13 October 2016. 

The Eighth High-Level Seminar will be held in Helsinki in 2017.

Recent Ac​​tivities

14 October 2015: Together with CMI, UN DPA and the governments of Finland and Norway, PRIO c​o-organized a panel discussion on Gender and Inclusive Mediation at the UN. Panelists, which included seminar alumni Lisa Buttenheim and Monica McWilliams, discussed the important role of the seminar series and lessons learned. The panel event was one of several events marking the 15th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. It is available to watch online here.​

27 March 2017: UN DPA has launched a Guidance on Gender and Inclusive Mediation Strategies, which "draws on the seminar materials and guidance notes and feedback provided by seminar participants and senior mediation experts, including UN envoys and members of the UN Standby Team of mediation advisers". The Guidance is available on the UN Peacemaker website here (pdf).


Promot​ing women’s effective participation in conflict mediation and addressing their specific needs in peacemaking efforts is a high priority for the United Nations and Member States since the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security. However, in spite of many global and regional commitments and initiatives, the number of women and gender experts involved in formal peacemaking processes remains rather low, and few peace agreements include gender-relevant provisions or harness the resources women may contribute to reach more sustainable peace.

The overall objective of the High-level Seminar on Gender and Inclusive Mediation Processes for envoys, mediators and senior mediation experts, is therefore to generate more consultative processes by promoting women’s effective participation and building inclusive, gender-sensitive mediation capacity at international, regional and national levels. The Seminar will introduce practical "how-to" strategies and tools for more inclusive peace process design, as well as options for gender–relevant provisions, including specific language, for the key thematic areas of peace agreements. ​

Inclusive mediation rests on the assumption that building a sustainable peace would require an integration of societal perspectives – those of conflictin​​g parties and other stakeholders – and its design includes multiple entry points and diverse mechanisms for participation. An inclusive mediation process, however, does not imply that all stakeholders can participate directly in the formal negotiations, but it can facilitate a structured interaction between the conflict parties and other stakeholders to include all perspectives in the process.

The High-level Seminar is rooted in the premise that women living a conflict have strategic knowledge and networks to contribute to its resolution and can be actors in implementing sustainable peace. Gender dynamics thus create unique opportunities and challenges for peacemaking and need to be understood, analyzed, and used for strategic advantage. As inclusivity may in​​crease opportunities for reaching sustainable agreements, more systematic consultation of and outreach towards women across societies would assist mediators in their jobs.

The seminar is d​​​​​​esigned to:

  • Increase participants’ awareness of the roles women may play in resolving and sustaining peace;
  • Deal with dilemmas of inclusivity and efficiency in mediation; e.g. how opportunities for women’s participation in mediated processes are affected by culture and local traditions;
  • Apply the UN’s normative women, peace and security frameworks as leverage for mediators; High-Level Seminar on Gender and Inclusive Mediation Processes
  • Offer practical strategies and tools for conflict assessment and process design to expand participation and opportunities for women and civil society; and for including women more systematically in implementation bodies; and
  • Provide specific information, advice, and language on gender-relevant components of substantive issues, including on conflict-related sexual violence, in ceasefire- and peace agreements.

Contact inform​​ation

For questions, please contact Julie M. Hansen:
E-mail: julhan@prio.org