CSSProject for Integrative Mediation

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General Information

  • Official name: CSSProject for Integrative Mediation
  • Country: Germany
  • City: Berlin
  • Type of organization: -
  • Date of creation: 2005
  • Interests: Mediation - Training
  • Fields of expertise: Mediation in Bosnia and Herzegovina



The CSSProject for Integrative Mediation (CSSP) was founded in January 2005. It evolved out of ten years of experience of the International Mediator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr. Christian Schwarz-Schilling, who started mediating informally in 1992. He was formally mandated in 1995 by the international community, the President of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the President of Croatia to assist local leaders with problems arising from the Dayton Peace Process.

During the 10 years of his mandate (1995-2004), the format and structure of local level mediation changed according to the needs and local situation. Dr. Schwarz-Schilling sought to increase dialogue and reduce tensions by finding step-by-step solutions to daily problems. In 10 years the Mediator conducted over 185 local mediations in 55 municipalities. He dealt with issues of return, reintegration, proportional representation, human rights and economic development.

The mandate of the Mediator ended in December 2004. In February 2006 Dr. Schwarz-Schilling was appointed High Representative and EU Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. He took office with the request of the international community to close the OHR. During this time he used his mediation efforts to shift responsibility of the peace process from the international community to the Bosnian leaders. During his tenure he advocated for a “do it yourself” policy but concluded that after 15 years of international supervision, Bosnian leaders were not ready to shoulder the responsibilities of state building on their own. After eight months in office he reversed his position and called for the Office of the High Representative to remain open. In June 2007 Dr. Schwarz-Schilling stepped down and returned to CSSP as Honorary President.

Dr. Christian Schwarz-Schilling, Bundesminister a.D., is a former Minister for Post and Telecommunication of Germany (1982-1992). As a member of the German Parliament (1976-2002) he served in various capacities, including Chairman of Subcommittee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid (1995-1998) and member of the Committees on Foreign Relations (1995-2002) and Economy (1993-1998). After leaving the German Parliament he has focused on furthering the concept of mediation in South Eastern Europe.

Dr. Schwarz-Schilling currently holds a Chair for Political Sciences and International Relations at the School of Science and Technology in Sarajevo and he works with CSSP on political mediation in Kosovo. He further concentrates his efforts on the Chinese-Tibet conflict.


Integrative Mediation does not seek to replace or to remove ownership over the peace process. By complementing existing initiatives and peace processes, Integrative Mediation provides local parties with a variety of options that enables them to identify obstacles to their conflict resolution and reconciliation efforts. The main goal of Integrative Mediation is to place decisions and the search for solutions in the hands of local actors and to strengthen the work of local peace initiatives, thereby facilitating democratization, co-existence and re-integration at the local level.

One of the underlying principles of Integrative Mediation is that no individual mediator should perform all roles and services in mediation. It is therefore essential for multilateral mediations at the local level to include a team of mediators working together and adapting the necessary roles and services to the specific needs of the conflict.

Regular team consultations before, during and after the work allow the mediators to create a comprehensive mediation framework which meets the needs of the conflicting parties. In an ideal situation, the team’s tasks can be grouped into five areas: problem-solving, reconciliation, rule of law, democratization, and capacity-building. Each of these functions should ideally be performed by a different mediator but can be combined depending on the specific conflict situation.

In addition to the mediation team, the CSSProject is complemented by a series of support measures, strategic partnerships with mediation organizations in the field, and local initiatives. The team works together with strategic partners on the spot to fulfill certain tasks. Donors involved in confidence-building measures and training institutions are included during the whole [mediation process]].

CSSP seeks to further enhance the mediation team’s work by establishing strategic partnership with local mediation organizations. Close cooperation between local and international actors who make up the mediation process helps to strengthen civil society and provides local mediation efforts the possibility to gain visibility and credibility.

Elements of Integrative Mediation


Integrative Mediation is a holistic approach to inter-ethnic conflict resolution. It integrates a variety of techniques, drawing on classical mediation, to assist local leaders in a bottom-up approach to problem-solving. Integrative Mediation combines five core elements:

  • Mediation
  • Consultancy
  • Professional Training
  • Research & Analysis
  • Advocacy

Based on individual consultations, a series of mediations, joint meetings, and professional trainings are created to bring local leaders together.

Mediations focus on resolving urgent problems, while professional trainings seek medium to long-term solutions. At the trainings, participants are encouraged to create action plans and confidence-building initiatives to implement in their municipalities.

Problems identified as having systemic causes beyond the scope of the municipal level are further researched, and recommendations are advocated at appropriate institutions.

Through the combination of these different elements an integrative momentum is created in support of effective and sustainable conflict resolution.

Grassroots Mediation

Grassroots Mediation is a form of community mediation. It brings people around the table in various formats to discuss their issues and problems. Together with local groups the mediation team focuses on finding creative solutions to immediate problems. It includes various phases such as introduction and information, assessment, mediation, implementation, follow-up, and closure. The process works on developing transparency, democratic principles and structures, and problem-solving philosophy among the groups. It seeks to incorporate gender and ethnic perspectives that tend to be locked out of usual dialogues.

Grassroots mediation departs from traditional community mediation in two ways. First, mediators are not from the community and second, they are not strictly neutral. While it is important to have local mediators working on solving conflicts, experiences show that there are certain advantages to having international mediators working at the local level. Mostly these mediators bring with them a fresh perspective unburdened by the local daily conflicts and they also can contribute experiences and options used in other areas or conflicts.

With regard to neutrality, there are certain challenges for the mediation due to their commitment to respecting international accepted standards of democracy, human rights and governance.

Given the intensity of the conflict, local leaders are often exhausted and their creative potential is blocked. Therefore, the mediation team is active in supporting the search for joint solutions, exploring ideas and giving feedback. The local leaders themselves have substantial input on how much intervention is needed and how often mediation follow-up takes place. Grassroots mediation is based on the idea that it is an inclusive and result- oriented process that ensures local ownership.


Consultation involves various aspects of advice, coaching and exchange of ideas. Before the situation reaches a crisis point, conflict parties could benefit from consultation and coaching on their interests. International organizations are not able to perform this role because they have their own institutional interest that can make them perceived as biased. What seems like a good idea to a local conflict actor might for other reasons be impractical for international or state actors. Best results are achieved when each side represents their interests and seeks to maximize mutual gains. To achieve this desired outcome, Integrative Mediation offers personal and ad hoc consultation.

Consultation is a one-on-one service to all conflict parties and stakeholders. It can take the form of a bilateral confidential meeting, assessments of difficult issues or coaching in preparation for mediation. Consultation aims to provide a supportive mechanism and environment for local parties to seek solutions for conflicts at the local level.

Facilitative Training

Local conflicting parties do not immediately change their attitudes to the conflict because a peace agreement or settlement has been reached. Even when there are official agreements at higher levels, implementation at the local level can be obstructed if local opponents block each other. In this case, the parties are not ready for negotiations because they do not value negotiations as such. A lack of negotiation skills often prevents improved relations between the previously conflicting parties. In most cases they continue to perceive the conflict through ethnic or group prisms and exclusively as a win-lose situation. Conflict parties have to be familiarized with problem-solving negotiation techniques and be trained to apply them. Integrative Mediation offers different forms of training aiming at relationship-building, capacity-building, and problem-solving. Overall the facilitative trainings complement the Integrative Mediation process by creating an environment outside the official structures in which creative solutions can be explored.

Research & Analysis

As CSSP works with local leaders, mediation teams are able to identify and assess problems with the implementation of international or top-down policies. These problems tend to reoccur in other local communities and can be attributed to systemic or strategic flaws. If these problems are not addressed they may lead to conflict escalation or obstruction wasting resources time and energy. For example, over-bureaucratic mechanisms, under-funded policies, unrealistic strategies etc.

The Integrative Mediation process is fertile ground for brainstorming options and solutions. Therefore, the CSSP team has the ethical obligation to write about its findings based on local experiences, field visits, and observations. Research and analysis is used to support CSSP’s advocacy, mediation and consultation elements to ensure that new policies do not inadvertently contribute to future conflicts. Documents in the form of assessments, trip reports, discussion papers and concept notes are published on a variety of issues such as conflict resolution processes, return, reintegration, anti-discrimination, local self-governance, education etc.

In addition to the analytical work for practical purposes, CSSP seeks to bridge the gap between academia and practice. Still too often practitioners do not use theoretical tools and academics have too little field experiences. Conflict resolution is not a laboratory and therefore practice should always inform theory. CSSP aims to use its experiences to inform academic and policy communities about practical problems and experiences to ensure that field experiences is transferred and reflected in their work and thereby breathing life into theoretically developed concepts.


CSSP’s practice oriented approach demands that its members bridge the gap between top-down policies and the local level. CSSP uses its wide network and contacts in the political, military, economic and diplomatic communities to highlight problems and inform responsible institutions and actors about potential problems and various options. Throughout the process of Integrative Mediation the mediation team continually meets with stakeholders at all levels because all local efforts must be integrated into the wider political, social, and economic environment.

In addition, CSSP advocates for confidence-building, relation-building and dialogue. Preventing conflict re-emergence must be pursued actively. The technical implementation of agreements neither guarantees conflict resolution nor promotes reconciliation. Trust-building measures can also be initiated to strengthen the peace process and by placing a particular emphasis on integration and reconciliation. Wherever we see good ideas we seek to advocate for them and build a network of pro-peace actors.

Part of our advocacy program includes reaching out to local mediation organization and creating a regional network of supporters of Integrative Mediation. Therefore, CSSP advocates for local groups, mediation frameworks, associations, forums and projects to deal with different problems, such as discrimination, ethnic conflict, neighbourhood issues, peace etc.


Schiffbauerdamm 15. 10117 Berlin - Germany

Kosovo Coordination Office, St. Gazmend Zajmi no. 20 10000 Prishtina Kosovo

Phone: +49 (0)30 400 006 51-0

Email: info@cssproject.org

Official Website

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