HD uses private diplomacy and discreet dialogue to pursue peace. We mediate between conflict parties at multiple levels, support peace negotiations and strengthen the mediation efforts of others.

As an impartial and independent organisation, HD seeks to bring all parties together to foster trust, resolve differences, end violence and achieve inclusive, sustainable peace agreements.

Using networks built up over many years, HD engages creatively with political actors, armed groups and other influential parties at international, inter-state, country and local levels.

At the same time, we support communities and marginalised groups to play active roles in peace processes and the resolution of conflicts affecting them.

In The HD Way: Our approach to effective mediation, we capture the values, mission and methods that are vital to our work and success in helping to achieve sustainable peace.

As conflicts grow more complex and multifaceted, we have enhanced our expertise in humanitarian mediation, gender and inclusion, digital conflict, environmental peacemaking, transnational crime and the economic dividends of peace.

To ensure quality and accountability, HD’s adaptive Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system allows us to continually assess our effectiveness, adapt our operations and demonstrate the value and impact of our work.

HD supports peace processes from concept to implementation by cultivating networks of trust and long-term engagements with parties to conflict and those able to resolve them.

These efforts are supported by our process design, on-the-ground analysis and capacity to connect the different levels of conflicts and peacemaking – as well as providing discreet advice and ideas to the international peace community.

Our approach and activities revolve around three main types of engagement:

Mediation and dialogue

When HD is in a position to mediate or facilitate dialogue directly between conflict parties, we pursue a series of steps leading to sustainable peace agreements. These most often feature:

  • Establishing first contact with conflict actors
  • Building and maintaining channels of communication
  • Obtaining mandates or consent of the parties to mediate or facilitate
  • Facilitating rapprochements and trust-building between conflict actors
  • Securing violence-reduction, de-escalation and humanitarian agreements
  • Supporting interim declarations, commitments and joint positions
  • Enabling peace and conflict management settlements

Peace negotiation support

HD engages directly with conflict parties, communities and influential actors to find pathways for negotiation and to support peaceful settlements. Key tools and results of our peace negotiation support include:

  • Convening internal dialogue platforms for conflict parties
  • Advising on process design and negotiation techniques
  • Promoting inclusive and representative negotiation delegations and consultations
  • Supporting unilateral acts to build confidence and trust

Mediation support

Where HD is not the lead mediator, we can help other third parties, peace actors or civil society groups to advance peace processes. Key tools and results of our mediation support include: 

  • Identifying and developing options for effective conflict resolution
  • Providing process design and policy options
  • Strengthening the capacity of peace process actors and mechanisms

On their own and together, HD’s engagements and results contribute to our goal of resolving conflict, reducing the suffering caused by war and securing lasting peace.

HD’s Monitoring and Evaluation

HD aims to resolve armed conflict, stop violence and reduce human suffering. Yet, peace agreements and other major contributions to peace are rarely achievable without important interim steps. This makes adaptive planning, management and evaluation essential to success.

HD’s Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system provides the necessary flexibility by scrutinising the analysis and professional judgement of our operational teams, seeking real-time proof of progress and tracking how strategies evolve over the course of a project.

This approach ensures that our work is supported by responsive project design and development, clear reporting of results and learning shared inside and outside our organisation.

Our M&E system includes three levels of enquiry:

Measuring impact and results

  • Where results are observable, such as a ceasefire agreement, the outcomes are assessed and reported
  • HD provides in-depth updates to donors and often shares details of results with the peacemaking community to enhance wider understanding and effectiveness

Assessing the strategic logic of HD’s engagements

  • The strategy of a project can be evaluated even when results are intangible
  • An informed internal peer or external expert should find the project’s logic clear and convincing
  • This allows strategies to be adapted as projects are being implemented

Ensuring the quality of professional judgement

  • This is the foundation for evaluating HD’s work, even where peacemaking results and processes are difficult to define
  • Assessing the quality of HD’s analysis and judgement – through peer reviews and other methods – helps us to achieve the best possible peacemaking outcomes in complex contexts

Our M&E toolkit

HD’s M&E tools form an integral part of our process design and peacemaking efforts. They allow us to assess how well our peacemaking strategies reflect realities on the ground, to ensure the quality of our professional judgement and to foster learning and professional mediation practices.

HD has developed and actively uses a number of creative and effective M&E tools.

These include peer reviews, rapid reflections, results validation exercises and peacemaking-tailored reviews and evaluations that allow us to draw out lessons and insights directly from real-time and past mediaton efforts.

HD’s Results Framework and Records of Results then capture big and small achievements along the peace pathways that our engagements have taken.

To contribute to the professionalisation of mediation, we have captured our adaptive M&E approach in the publication Valuing peace: delivering and demonstrating mediation results (also in French) and developed a series of guidance documents for peacemaking peer review and evaluations.  

HD’s signature peer reviews

A cornerstone of HD’s adaptive M&E system are our signature peer reviews that provide a low-burden tool for analysing and adapting our work at critical points in a peacemaking process.

These reviews allow our teams to benefit from the diverse perspectives of professional peers to reflect on objectives, logic, assumptions, risks and results. They are designed to respond rapidly to operational needs, enabling teams to adapt faster and deliver better results in complex environments.

The reviews also help to reduce the risk of bias, while promoting consensus-building and peer-to-peer learning and mentoring. They respect the need for confidentiality inherent in much of HD’s operational work.

HD’s Mediation Support and Policy team (MESU) has developed detailed guidance and tools – also available in French, Spanish and Arabic – on the peer review methodology, building on almost a decade of experience.

The Donor-Practitioner Roundtable Series

To build the capacity for and consensus around fit-for-purpose peacemaking M&E, HD hosts an annual donor and practitioner roundtable. Representatives from leading organisations come together to test new ideas for methods and tools to improve, capture and analyse mediation results and impact.

Over the years, several landmarks of consensus have emerged, notably on fit-for-purpose M&E systems and ways of thinking about peacemaking results. These insights are captured in concise outcome notes from each annual roundtable that are shared with the wider peacemaking community.

See the latest note – 2022 HD Roundtable Outcome Statement – on demonstrating how mediation and dialogue contribute to peace.