How does the fragmentation of opposition movements during a conflict affect its dynamics and the chances of successfully reaching a settlement? How can mediators respond to the challenges presented by conflicts involving many disparate actors?

In a new publication released today by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), Understanding fragmentation in conflict and its impact on prospects for peace, author Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham highlights a number of key findings about fragmentation in conflict and the role of mediation in such situations.

Drawing on a range of examples, the author examines the consequences of fragmentation for conflict and how peace processes may affect this fragmentation, including an exploration of the role mediation can play in exacerbating it.

Practice-oriented throughout, the publication assesses techniques which mediators have used to respond to fragmentation in the past, including negotiating solely with armed actors, involving unarmed actors in the process, sequencing the negotiations, and undertaking efforts to coalesce the opposition.

Understanding fragmentation in conflict and its impact on prospects for peace is the latest in the Oslo Forum Paper series.

The Oslo Forum is an invitation-only retreat which draws together prominent peacemakers, high-level decision-makers and key peace process actors in a discreet and informal setting, with a view to exchanging experiences and lessons learnt to improve the practice of conflict mediation.

The Oslo Forum Papers examine ideas around mediation in a format which aims to make them accessible to mediators as well as those with a keen interest in peacemaking.