This article traces the development of osce mediation and provides elements to explain the ups and downs over time. The origins of osce mediation date back to the inception of the organisation during the Cold War period. However, it only became a mediator in the 1990s, playing different roles. This work suffered in the 2000s as the osce’s relevance was increasingly questioned. In recent years, the osce has seen renewed growth, owing to a political commitment by participating States to strengthen its mediation capacities and because of the leading role it took on in mediating the crisis in and around Ukraine. While this is a significant development, this article argues that the osce’s mediation role is likely to be limited, focusing on the niche of managing established formats and local conflict prevention.