The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) is tasked with assisting the Libyan authorities in restoring public security and the rule of law, promoting inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation, and in assisting them to embark on the drafting of a new constitution and on laying the foundation for elections. In accordance with its mandate UNSMIL will assist Libyan authorities and institutions resulting from the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), through technical advice and assistance to conduct a participatory, transparent, fair, inclusive and nationally owned and led reconciliation process.
In line with its mandate, the priorities laid down in its work plan and in keeping with the provisions of the LPA, UNSMIL and UNDP support stakeholders to come up with a reference document with options for developing a national reconciliation strategy. The document would inform future strategy and planning purposes in matters related to national reconciliation, as part of the Peacebuilding Fund supported project.
The document will be in line with the UN guiding principles on transitional justice, which include transparency, inclusiveness, accountability, and respect for local customs. The UN institutional support on reconciliation should thus focus on strengthening national efforts, including through capacity-building workshops and sharing of comparative experiences, in order to conceptualize and design an inclusive and comprehensive national reconciliation strategy, as well as program including its operationalization timeline.
As national ownership and independence are critical to the success of any reconciliation process, and in follow-up to the September 2016 and January 2017 experts preparatory meetings on reconciliation and the recommendations emanating from them, as well as in line with a “bottom-up” approach to peacebuilding, UNSMIL and UNDP propose to facilitate a series of 8 local reconciliation dialogue throughout Libya (East, West and South).
Since 2011, local reconciliation initiatives in Libya have remained mostly ad hoc and limited to these local constituencies. Furthermore they often consist of a “light” version of reconciliation, i.e. ceasefire agreement with some confidence-building measures: a rather “thin” understanding of reconciliation involving an exchange of prisoners, the payment of compensations, the reopening of some roads and the establishment of regular channels of communications to avoid isolated incidents escalating into new rounds of violence. This approach, while contributing to temporarily cease hostilities locally, does not bring sustainable peace and fails to address the structural causes of violence, thereby leaving a return to violence in the near future possible. Focusing only on the micro-level also bears the risk of further fragmenting the social fabric.
While local ceasefires and reconciliation agreements are indicative of Libya’s own capacities for building peace, their limited focus and the absence of a central state to ensure implementation have prevented them from having a strong, national impact so far, in particular when it comes to compensations. They have also, sometimes, reinforced tribal and ethnic senses of belonging. More synergies and linkages between national and local reconciliation initiatives should therefore be promoted. Ultimately, it is on this breeding ground of absence of heavy violence and existing channels of communication at the local level that the vicious circle between violence and lack of reconciliation at the national level can be broken.
This consultancy is part of the Outcome 2, Output 2.1 of the National Reconciliation Project, which aims at strengthening bottom-up reconciliation processes and supporting safe spaces for reconciliation and teamwork across and between actors from all background in various locations. The dialogue meetings should bring together traditional social leaders, rights activists, professionals and technicians with specific skills, municipalities, CSOs, and members of militias, through the facilitation of small-group discussions and roundtables.
The consultant will provide advice and practical support to UNSMIL and UNDP in their task of assisting the Libyan authorities, local actors and civil society organizations to design a strategy and implement a reconciliation process, ensuring a nationally owned and led process emphasizing participation, inclusiveness, accountability and transparency.
In particular, the consultant will assist the project in ensuring that the national reconciliation strategy supports, strengthen and builds upon local dialogue initiatives. The consultant will contribute to promoting local reconciliation through a series of peaceful political dialogue between all concerned parties and stakeholders, with the support of the UN acting as a neutral facilitator.
By opening channels of communication between all parties, the consultant will contribute to solving local conflicts and provide his expertise and advice to the UN in their efforts to promote a nationally owned and grassroots national reconciliation process in Libya
Reporting to UNSMIL/PAD under supervision of the Project Manager of the National Reconciliation project at UNDP Libya, the consultant will assist the mission in its task of providing technical assistance on the national reconciliation process, through his/her support in implementing output 2.1 of the project.
The consultant will advise the project team in the choice of local conflicts, actors, and processes to engage with, for a total of up to 4 local dialogue initiatives. The expert will facilitate, mediate and follow-up these various local dialogues in a fully impartial, inclusive and transparent manner.
The expert’s technical assistance outputs will be expected to adhere to the UN Secretary General’s Guidance Note on Transitional Justice, which emphasizes that UN support in the area of reconciliation should promote transparent, inclusive, participatory and nationally owned and led processes appropriate to the local context.
Specifically, the expert will provide the following outputs:
1. Elaboration of a general strategy for engaging in local dialogues and building safe spaces for reconciliation, defining the key local processes to engage with, a follow-up strategy and how to relate these efforts to the national reconciliation process.
2. Preparation of up to 2 dialogue sessions: identification of participants, establishing contacts and gaining buy-in for the dialogue process from key stakeholders, suggesting topics for discussion and an agenda, clarifying the objectives of the dialogue, ensuring inclusivity and representation (women and youth).
3. Full attendance, facilitation of the dialogue sessions, mediation and good-office between all parties before, during and after the session, deepening community cohesion, exploring issues as shared problems and seeking actions towards resolving them, outlining mechanisms to report back to the community and create accountability mechanisms.
4. Technical assistance to UNSMIL/UNDP to follow-up and implement on the recommendations emanating from the various dialogue, including through mediation and good office between key stakeholders, ensuring coherence of the meeting outcomes with the national reconciliation strategy, reporting back to communities to gain popular support from key stakeholders and counter spoilers, providing continuous technical and logistical support on the dialogue outcomes, and test various mechanisms to promote accountability.
- Demonstrated experience working with civil society, grassroots activists, militias and political actors in Libya across the political and regional spectrum.
- Access to the relevant stakeholders of local dialogues proposed.
- Demonstrated networking and communications skills.
- Knowledge of the local issues at stake and precise social/political/security analysis skills.
- Technical knowledge of issues relating to mediation, conflict resolution, local dialogue processes and reconciliation.
- Demonstrated experience in facilitating and supporting local dialogue in Libya, including in support to the UN efforts.
- Proven advisory experience and track record of engaging with Libyan activists, including authorities, militias and IDPs, on topics related to national reconciliation, conflict resolution, and peaceful dialogue.
- Proven intellectual and practical capacity to understand and interpret national and local development and political issues, particularly in recovery situation/post crisis settings.
- Proven records of writing skills, including preferably in English.
- Excellent communications and mediation skills.
- Reputation of impartiality and legitimacy among all concerned actors.
- BA qualification in humanities, social sciences, language, political science, international relations, arts, or related areas.
- Minimum 3-5 years of experience in broad human rights area (preferably in conflict resolution and peacebuilding areas including facilitation and mediation).
- Fluency in English (both oral and written) is preferred.
- Fluency in Arabic (both oral and written) is required.