The German Development Cooperation (GIZ) Regional Project “Promotion of Rule of Law and Judiciary in Africa” together with the Stiftung für Internationale Rechtliche Zusammenarbeit (IRZ) and the German Federal Bar Association (BRAK) has organized a conference on “Mediation in Africa”, taking place in Dakar, Sénégal on 10-13 May.
IMI Executive Director, Ivana Ninčić Österle, delivered a presentation on international mediation certification and competency standards, followed by IMI Board of Directors member, James Mangerere, who further elaborated on the criteria for Qualifying Assessment Programs (“QAPs”) and Certified Mediator Training Programs (“CMTP’s”) and presented to the participants the experience of MTI EAST AFRICA as an IMI QAP and CMTP.
The conference has gathered participants from the continent and Germany and has covered a wide range of pertinent topics for the development of mediation, such as “Mediation and Access to Justice”, “Mediation in Commercial Relations”, “Mediation and Peace Dialogue Training in Nigeria”, “The role of Bar Associations in promoting Mediation”, “Mediation in the State-Citizen relationship”, “Selection, training, continuing formation of Mediators,“ “Making Quality visible,” “Traditional leaders and conflict mediation”, “Implementation of Mediation in the national Justice System”, “Regional Organisation of Mediation and Challenges of creating a regional Organization for Mediation in Africa” as well as presenting the legal framework and status quo of mediation in Tunisia, Senegal, Tanzania and Germany.
Ivana highlighted that independent international certification is essential, especially in the era of the Singapore Convention and online mediation. Speaking about IMI’s role in establishing standards and assessment criteria which are capable of being applied worldwide and are usable as a model for national standards, Ivana emphasised IMI as a true public interest initiative, operating entirely non-profit and with a global focus – a forum for promoting of mediation, quality mediators, and provider bodies and avoiding duplication of effort.
She further shared positive experiences of existing CMTP’s, highlighting how IMI’s recognition of quality has propelled their programs and assisted them in extending the reach of their training to participants from new parts of the globe. Quoting a member from the CMTP network, she concluded with a relevant observation: “IMI does not dictate a model which allows us to give our trainees the freedom to demonstrate their mediation skills in a traditional way, while ensuring it is still an interest-based process, to meet [national] requirements.”
Currently, the Qualifying Assessment Programs based in Africa are: Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement (ACDS), Instituto de Certificação e Formação de Mediadores Lusófonos (ICFML), and Mediation Training Institute International East Africa (MTI East Africa).
Certified Mediator Training Programs which are based in Africa are: Conflict Dynamics and Mediation Training Institute International East Africa (MTI East Africa).
It was also highlighted that participants might wish to contact francophone Qualifying Assessment Programs, such as the French Institut Français de Certification des Médiateurs (IFCM).
IMI looks forward to further supporting the development of mediation in Africa, through certifying of mediators from the continent, as well as working with new organisations to meet the training program requirements and standards and criteria for recognition as Qualifying Assessment Programs.
IMI Board member James Mangerere presenting the criteria for Qualifying Assessment Programs (“QAPs”)