Our Guiding Principles
As part of our commitment to professional service and ethically responsible conflict resolution, CSSP observes the following principles which guide our interactions with partners and stakeholders. At the core of these principles lies the understanding that interventions, projects, and cooperation must be empowering and sustainable.
Commitment to continuous learning
CSSP values the importance of education and learning. To this effect, it commits to supporting its own team in their professional and personal growth. At the same time, where necessary, a component of CSSP’s work is building local capacities and promoting the problem-solving skills of local leaders as well as of actors in the field of peacebuilding.
Focus on building trust
We work with our partners and stakeholders to develop ideas and projects that will enhance inter-community trust and function as confidence-building measures through joint design, joint contributions, joint implementation, and joint gains.
Confidentiality and transparency
In conflict situations and mediation processes, confidentiality is a key aspect for building trust and respect. This entails that personal and professional information is neither divulged nor attributed to any one specific person, unless permission is granted. All of our meetings are subject to confidentiality, unless announced otherwise.
At the same time, we value transparency as a crucial aspect for building trust, especially towards the process and the mediator/facilitator. While respecting the right to confidentiality of all actors in a conflict, we work to create fair and transparent processes where information can flow and actors can build trust to collaborate in resolving disagreements and issues. The art of peace mediation strikes the right balance between those seemingly contradicting principles.
As a result of socially ascribed roles in society, people often experience conflict and conflict resolution differently. They often also have different needs and represent their interests in different ways. It is our experience that problem-solving is enhanced by ensuring that women and men are equally included in the design, solutions, and implementation of conflict resolution in accordance with UNSCR 1325. We also strive to promote awareness of the central role both women and men play in promoting peace and the need to see both as victims and agents in their own conflicts.
While acknowledging and respecting the different styles of colloquial and informal language that distinguish every culture, CSSP acknowledges the importance of respecting everyone’s sensitivity and is of the opinion that language is the first tool for inclusion, exclusion or discrimination of the “other”. For this reason, the CSSP staff is called upon to place a great emphasis on using attentive, sensitive, and respectful language at all times.
Inclusiveness and diversity
We are convinced that the inclusion of many different voices in a society is key for ensuring sustainable peace processes. To this effect, the inclusion of minorities and underrepresented groups should be encouraged.
As part of process design and implementation, this entails working with appointed, elected, and identified community leaders, but it also means reaching out to disempowered and vulnerable groups.
While it is a core principle of mediation not to take sides or show preferences, it is equally important to understand stakeholders in their own reality. Omnipartiality (or equidistance)—in contrast to impartiality—is the ability to empathize with all sides, work within each side’s reality, and still maintain one's own role and understanding without having to take a particular side or position.
Multi-level and multi-sector focus
Any conflict in society always affects various political levels and sectors. Therefore, any approach to effective conflict resolution needs to identify and address relevant actors from all parts of a society concerned.
Supporting systemic conflict resolution mechanisms
The role of a mediator is to support relevant actors and parties to a conflict in taking responsibility for the outcome of their own process(es). In doing so, we aim to introduce, implement, and foster systemic conflict resolution mechanisms.
Focus on local perspectives and needs
Conflict transformation is best served when interventions reflect local realities and are implemented according to local needs. Therefore, CSSP always makes sure to include staff from the respective context.
For sustainability to be achieved, it is paramount that local stakeholders and actors are directly involved in the respective mediation processes. CSSP aims at empowering all actors involved so that they are able to fully participate and assume responsibility. Through its engagement, CSSP seeks to create strong roots and reliable dynamics that allow for the positive change to continue beyond the end of the mediation project and for local actors—if they have not been in the lead since the beginning—to take over its ownership.