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International Mediation and the Question of Failed Peace Agreements: Improving Conflict Management and Implementation


  • Jacob Bercovitch,

  • Leah Simpson


This study examines the contribution of international mediation to the successful termination of conflicts. In particular, we look at what exactly can mediation do, and what do we mean by success in mediation? We identify a short-term definition of success that relates only to the signing of an agreement, and a long-term definition of success that relates to the duration of peace following an agreement. We discuss the factors that may contribute to the failure of peace agreements, and use a contingency framework to argue that a settlement is only one aspect of a dynamic conflict, rather than a defining termination point. Within this framework we study how mediation can help with achieving peace agreements and ensuring they remain viable and are adhered to. We examine our ideas in the context of three conflicts, Angola, Sri Lanka, and Sierra Leone.