UNRWA's mediation process is a key element in the Agency's efforts to strengthen its internal justice system in line with the new system of administration of justice adopted across the UN through General Assembly resolution 63/253. In line with this, UNRWA's system for administration of justice includes mediation as an option for the resolution of conflicts in the workplace, and helps restore relationships in a holistic manner. It also serves to lessen the caseload for the formal justice system, thus reducing the time and expense associated with the appeals process.
Staff members may formally request the assistance of a mediator at any point in a dispute. Mediation may also be suggested during a Decision Review process by the Deputy Commissioner-General or the Field Office Director or by the UNRWA Dispute Tribunal.
Features of the mediation process
The Mediator is not a decision maker, but acts as a facilitator for the parties to come to an agreement. Mediation is a completely confidential process. It is also a consensual process. Any party to the dispute may initiate the informal process at any stage during a dispute. During the mediation process, the formal appeals process will be suspended until the mediation process is completed.
Mediation at UNRWA
There are 14 staff members that have been appointed to the Panel of Mediators, 13 of which have received certification training in workplace mediation. The 14 staff members include 7 area and 7 international staff members and consist of 6 men and 7 women. The Fields and Staff Unions/Associations were consulted in bringing consensus to the membership of the Panel.
The criteria for mediation are set at achieving the highest standards of impartiality, integrity and fairness. Mediators have excellent interpersonal, communication, analytical and problem-solving skills.