External actors to a given conflict can play a central role in the course and conclusion of peace negotiations. While some may reinforce the mediator’s efforts, others may undermine those efforts and confuse the process. To achieve a successful and lasting settlement, mediators have to take those actors into consideration to ensure unified external involvement supportive of the process.

This publication explores various means by which international mediators may relate to and involve external actors in a peace process. It is the first in a series of practical mediation tools, the ‘Mediation Practice Series’, developed as part of the HD Centre’s effort to support the broader mediation community. The series draws on feedback from mediators and their teams and seeks to provide readers with a concise and user-friendly overview of relevant issues, dilemmas and challenges that mediators face. The publications provide examples of how these dilemmas were addressed to help others prepare for the potential demands of mediation processes.