Mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or “appropriate dispute resolution”, aims to assist two (or more) disputants in reaching an agreement. The parties themselves determine the conditions of any settlements reached— rather than accepting something imposed by a third party. The disputes may involve (as parties) states, organizations, communities, individuals or other representatives with a vested interest in the outcome.
Mediators use appropriate techniques and/or skills to open and/or improve dialogue between disputants, aiming to help the parties reach an agreement (with concrete effects) on the disputed matter. Normally, all parties must view the mediator as impartial. Goals of dispute resolution may include, but are not limited to:
- Providing and explaining information about association policies and rules, and about the context of a concern.
- Receiving information from those reporting unacceptable or illegal behavior.
- Offering shuttle diplomacy, for example, helping association members to think through proposals that may resolve a dispute, facilitating discussions.
- Looking into problems informally
- Identifying and communicating about patterns of issues and concerns.
- Working for positive change by suggesting improvements to existing rules and regulations.
- Following up on a system change recommendation.