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From Paternalism to the Chambas Formula for Mediation: Conceptualizing Cooperation between the UN and Regional Organizations in Mediating Conflicts

In: International Negotiation
Authors:
Thomas Kwasi Tieku King’s University College, The University of Western Ontario 266 Epworth Avenue, London, Ontario Canada N6A 2M3

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8452-2118
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Megan Payler Department of Political Science, The University of Western Ontario 1151 Richmond Street, London, Ontario Canada N6A 3K7

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0723-4809
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Abstract

This article explores the working relationship between the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in mediating conflicts in West Africa and the Sahel regions. We argue that through the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), the UN, ECOWAS and the AU are working on mediation efforts to transcend traditional conceptualizations of the relationship between the world body and regional organizations. We show that the partnership is grounded on the logic of subsidiarity, informality, elite networks, technical competence, soft skills, and robust social trust. For heuristic purposes, we call the six principles the Chambas Formula, with reference to the centrality of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and the emergence and consistent application of the principles in the mediation setting in West Africa and the Sahel regions.

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