Third-Party Mediation in Sudan and South Sudan: Longer-Term Trends

Congestion and Diversification of Third-Party Mediation in Sudan and South Sudan: First Look at some Longer-Term Trends

Authors: Mateja Peter and Kasia Houghton

This report draws from a preliminary dataset on third-party mediation in Sudan and South Sudan (1988-2022) to determine if and how the growing presence of non-Western powers – especially out-of-region ones – indicates their greater involvement in peace processes and mediation.

Findings indicate that conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan have been, and remain to this day, primarily a domain of mediation efforts by neighbouring states and regional organisations. While all out-of-region non-Western actors, especially China and the Gulf states, have become more prominent in mediation efforts in the Horn of Africa over the last decade, they rarely lead mediation efforts themselves, most often supporting regional initiatives alongside a constellation of Western powers.

The analysis of preliminary data on Sudan and South Sudan signals two important longer-term trends in third-party mediation, to be tested further: 1) A congestion of mediation efforts and of discrete actors involved in these efforts, 2) An increasing diversification of mediators in the recent period.

The Global Transitions Series looks at fragmentations in the global order and how these impact peace and transition settlements. It explores why and how different third-party actors – state, intergovernmental, and non-governmental – intervene in conflicts, and how they see themselves contributing to reduction of conflict and risks of conflict relapse. The series critically assesses the growth and diversification of global and regional responses to contemporary conflicts. It also asks how local actors are navigating this multiplicity of mediators and peacebuilders and how this is shaping conflict outcomes and post-conflict governance.