A host facilitation team: (sometimes known as a “presidency”) is typically composed of diplomats and experts from various national ministries or agencies, that together are responsible for hosting and facilitating the negotiations. The lead facilitator at the head of the host facilitation team is sometimes known as a “president”.
Unity: refers to a common understanding of goals and strategies, aligned communication, and a clear distribution of roles.
When a host facilitation team works as one with clearly defined positions and responsibilities they are able to focus all their resources on the negotiation process and avoid duplication of efforts. When roles and responsibilities are uncontested and clearly communicated to the negotiating parties then all actors know that they can count on a team member’s word.
A lack of unity can lead to poor flows of information, power struggles, exploitation of divisions by negotiating parties to achieve their own objectives and a loss of time and energy, all of which undermine the team’s ability to foster the reaching of agreement. Disputes and misunderstandings may also lower the facilitation team’s morale, motivation and effectiveness.
There can be several barriers to the unity of a host facilitation team:
Divergent interests: Facilitation teams are typically made up of officials from various ministries working together. Each ministry brings with it its own set of interests and objectives, which may result in competition or conflict.
Disputes: Different individuals or groups within the host facilitation team may be subject to clashes of ideas, personalities or working styles.
Misunderstandings: Long working hours, intense pressure and/or lack of effective communication can all lead to misunderstandings.
Competition: The stakes in multilateral negotiations are often high, and with this comes considerable publicity, even fame, for key organisers. Competition for publicity can cause tension and disunity within a host facilitation team.