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  • Ed

Intercultural Mediation

It may seem obvious that having intercultural mediators (that is mediators with cultural knowledge of all the cultures involved in a mediation) involved in any dispute will help, and certainly I’ve always found that having a connection and understanding with people involved in disputes is always important. But this report has examined the role of the intercultural mediator specifically in respect of achieving the aims of sustainable developments on health and confirms the great effect such mediators can have.

Special Adviser on Migration and Health and acting Director of Division of Health Systems and Public Health, Dr Santino Severoni said of the report it “is a valuable addition to our knowledge about the importance of intercultural mediators to modern health care systems in the WHO European Region.

The report demonstrates the complex range of roles that intercultural mediators fill, shows the value that they add within the health care systems and services towards the achievement of universal health coverage and Sustainable Development Goal 3, and draws a number of conclusions for policy-makers to consider that will substantially improve the quality of health care for refugees and migrants.”

Head of the Intercultural Mediation and Policy Support Unit at the Belgian Federal Public Service for Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment Hans Verrept added “The positive results of the empirical studies on the effectiveness of intercultural mediators in health care should encourage policy-makers to further develop and implement intercultural mediation programmes in the diverse WHO European Region. The fact that such effects are observed – often in less than ideal circumstances – suggests that the potential of intercultural mediation programmes to contribute to the provision of equitable health care services is very substantial.”

Perhaps one area those intercultural mediators might be used is between Ethiopia and Egypt where water shortages have led to dispute which started with Ethiopia building the Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile (before it runs into the Nile which as you will know then flows out through Egypt).

Back in my salad days we studied hydro electric power in Africa and this story takes me back to those halcyon days of yore looking into the basic workings of one of Africa’s renewable energy sources.

The Renaissance dam will be the largest dam in the Africa set for completion by 2020, but it has a huge impact on the flow of water down through the rivers system and ecosystem further down the course through Egypt.

It’s not a dissimilar argument to that which continues over the effect of the Hoover Dam outside Vegas (about which another story for another time) but the impact of blocking a water channel is significant. For Egypt 90% of its irrigation and drinking water comes from the Nile and the dam is set to have a catastrophic effect on the countries wellbeing.

Whilst acknowledging the benefits of the dam for their neighbour Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has asked for reassurance that his country will not face water shortages.

Sissi and Ethopian premier Abiy Ahmed are due to meet later this week and it is anticipated they will ask for international mediation over the dispute which potentially has an impact on all 11 countries through which the Nile flows.

In other mediation news (though somewhat closer to home) following the collapse of tour operator Thomas Cook there was strike threat by staff of the two main hotel groups in Cyprus. As you’ll appreciate the hotel groups the Association of Cyprus Tourist Enterprises (STEK) and Cyprus Hotels Association (PASYXE) were hit hard by the failure of Thomas Cook to pay bills and that put hem in difficulty paying staff.

Despite this the labour minister (Zeta Emilianidou) has mediated a deal which guarantees the remaining staff pay increases in total of 5.5% over the next four years, this meets the demand made by the trade unions involved.

Thanking those involved the minister said “I welcome the decision of the members of PASYXE and STEK to accept my proposal for the hotel sector. The three-way cooperation will bring labour peace. I also welcome the efforts and responsible stance of the leaderships of both PASYXE and STEK.”

Using the flexible solutions available in mediation the minister was able to help the parties see a way forward which included changing the employment status of some staff (particularly those seasonal student staff members) and sharing the cost of contribution to welfare funds.

More middle-man than mediator per se, but Tino Fragale has set about trying to re-connect the public in his Washington suburb with their elected officials. He’s 22 so you know there’s going to be reference to the use of podcasts and social media but in a world where many people no longer feel they have any real say in politics (or that their views even when canvassed are ignored) why not try to reach out and bring issues to the fore.

We couldn’t have a whole year without a Ryan Air based mediation news story now could we?

Last August strikes were averted by injunctions taken out by Ryanair against its own pilots. The fast tracking of the claims then brought by Ryanair for damages and declarations has now been stayed.

Fórsa, parent union of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) has applied for the adjournment pending their application next week for a formal stay while mediation talks are carried out.

There are various issues in dispute and the two sides don’t quite yet agree what the mediation will cover, but given the flexible nature of mediation hopefully they should be able to cover all the issues.

Martin Hayden SC for Ryanair said the mediation was only for a pay claim by the pilots and not the claim by Ryanair.

Marguerite Bolger SC for the pilots’ union disagreed. It would seem churlish not to deal with two such interlinked matters in one mediation but as ever the power lies in the hands of the parties.

As we’ve said before choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, timeously, and with less stress and costs than going to your solicitor.

By having a deep and meaningful discussions with parties the mediator elicits what the true “red-lines” are and where there is the potential for compromise, it is with this structured period of reflection that the parties are then able to reach an accord.

The flexible nature of mediation and the possible outcomes make it an ideal way to resolve disputes in an ever changing world and the open nature of discussions in mediation whilst remaining confidential allows all sides to engage fully in the process and understand the needs of all involved allowing parties to reach a conclusion which both sides can live with and move on.

There are so many situations which could have been resolved by early intervention of mediation it continues to surprise me the lengths the public (and some lawyers) will go to avoid referral.

Whether you need a mediator to help out with a construction matter in the Northwest, or council’s plans in Cheshire, a civil mediator in London, a commercial mediator in Manchester, a dispute resolution for your family in Liverpool, a neighbourhood mediation in Stockport, then our mediators at Northwest Mediation can help.

Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes, civil mediation or inheritance, wills and probate arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at

neighbour mediation; commercial dispute resolution; civil mediation; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance wills probate mediation; property mediator; civil mediator; civil litigation; fast track mediation; injury mediation

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