What is mediation?
Mediation is a confidential dispute resolution process, in which a neutral third-party professional—a mediator—helps the parties in dispute to engage in a constructive conversation, discuss issues, express interests, brainstorm options, find common ground, and, where applicable, reach consensus with a view to resolving the dispute.
All mediations conducted by the Mediation Unit of the Office of the Ombudsman for United Nations Funds and Programmes are based on the four key principles of the Office: confidentiality, impartiality and neutrality, independence, and informality.
The Office also operates in accordance with the mediation principles of voluntary participation, self-determination, and informed consent.
The role of the mediator
The role of the mediator is to facilitate the discussion between the parties and to help the parties to reach a satisfactory outcome, in confidence, and in the spirit of trust. The mediator does not take sides nor judge who is right or wrong, but rather creates an opportunity for the parties to have a constructive dialogue with the professional assistance of a neutral and independent mediator.
Who can request mediation?
The members of the UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS, and UN Women workforce who seek to resolve a workplace dispute are eligible to request mediation services from the Mediation Unit of the Office regardless of their contractual modality (including managers, other staff members, consultants, and interns). The Office ultimately retains the discretion to determine whether a case is appropriate for mediation. If the matter is not suitable for mediation, the Visitor may choose to discuss the issues through the ombudsman services. Any party that participates in mediation retains the right to pursue formal dispute-resolution processes.
How to request mediation?
Typically, mediation commences with a party initiating the process by sending an email to the Office at firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of the situation that such party is facing. All communications with the Office, including this initial communication, are strictly confidential. Once a need for mediation is expressed and the Mediation Unit determines that mediation is appropriate, the Mediation Unit will obtain both parties’ consent to the mediation process.