Mediation is one way to settle environmental conflicts of interest, compared to traditional forms like litigation, legislative and regulatory change or alternative methods, such as arbitration and consensus building. It can be applied to resolve both site-specific and policy level disputes, including land-use, resource management, use of public lands, water resources, energy, air quality and toxins issues. Essentially, mediation is facilitated negotiation. When direct negotiation has reached a deadlock, parties can bring in a trained professional mediator to help them resolve the dispute. Participants in a mediation might include a mixture of environmental groups, private companies and government entities. The mediator is neutral; he or she must not be an advocate for either party, although the mediator can help to overcome a marked imbalance in power between the parties. The mediator is not a decision maker; but assists the parties in reaching their own, mutually agreeable decision.
Article 5 of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution stipulates; consultations shall be held, upon request, at an early stage between, on the one hand, contracting parties which are actually affected by or exposed to a significant risk of long-range transboundary air pollution and, on the other hand, contracting parties within which and subject to whose jurisdiction a significant contribution to long-range transboundary air pollution originates, or could originate, in connection with activities carried on or contemplated therein.