Purpose of chapter
This chapter explains:
what conflict analysis is and why it matters how to undertake an analysis
Who should read it
The chapter is aimed at practitioners in governments, civil society (local and international) and donor organisations concerned with development, humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding. The chapter may also be of interest to others (eg in the private sector, the diplomatic field, etc).
Why they should read it
Because conflict analysis is the foundation of conflict sensitivity and without a good understanding of the context in which interventions are situated, organisations that support or directly implement them may unintentionally help to fuel violent conflict or to exacerbate existing tensions. Conflict analysis helps organisations towards a better understanding of the context in which they work, and a conflict sensitive approach.
What is conflict analysis and why is it important?
Conflict analysis is the systematic study of the profile, causes, actors, and dynamics of conflict (see Section 2). It helps development, humanitarian and peacebuilding organisations to gain a better understanding of the context in which they work and their role in that context. Conflict analysis can be carried out at various levels (eg local, regional, national, etc) and seeks to establish the linkages between these levels (see Fig 1). Identifying the appropriate focus for the conflict analysis is crucial: the issues and dynamics at the national level may be different from those at the grassroots. But while linking the level of conflict analysis (eg community, district, region or national) with the level of intervention (eg project, sector, policy), it is also important to establish systematic linkages with other interrelated levels of conflict dynamics. These linkages are important, as all of these different levels impact on each other.
1. What is conflict analysis and why is it important? 2. Key elements of conflict analysis 3. Working with indicators 4. Integrating conflict analysis and other forms of assessment 5. Better practice in conflict analysis 6. Choosing the right tool for conflict analysis 7. Endnotes Annex 1. Tools for conflict analysis
Conflict-sensitive approaches to development, humanitarian assistance and peace building: tools for peace and conflict impact assessment | Chapter 2
For example, when operating at the project level, it is important to understand the context at the level at which the project is operating (eg local level), so the focus of the analysis should be at that level; but the analysis should also take account of the linkages with other levels (eg regional and national). And similarly when operating at the regional, sector or national levels. As discussed in Chapter 1, conflict sensitivity is about: l l
Key elements of conflict analysis
This section synthesises the key elements of conflict analysis as they emerge from the various conflict analysis tools documented in Annex 1. Looking at each of these elements will help to develop a comprehensive picture of the context in which you operate. Depending on your specific interest, however, you may want to emphasise particular aspects of key importance. For example, if the emphasis is on the identification of project partners and beneficiaries, a good understanding of conflict actors and how potential partners and beneficiaries relate to them will be the primary requirement. (See Box 2 in this chapter). Generally, “good enough” thinking is required. This means accepting that the analysis can never be exhaustive, nor provide absolute certainty. Conflict dynamics are simply too complex and volatile for any single conflict analysis process to do them justice. Nevertheless, you should trust your findings, even though some aspects may remain unclear. Do not be discouraged; some analysis, no matter how imperfect, is better than no analysis at all....
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