Conflict-sensitive approaches to development practice.

This guide, written by Cynthia Gaigals with Manuela Leonhardt for Safer World provides a critical overview of different approaches used by a variety of groups in conflict-prone and affected areas. The paper highlights a broad range of different options being used while also identifying their strengths and weaknesses and outlining some of the key issues and challenges that need be addressed in this area. 


"The growing understanding in recent years of the links between conflict, peace and external assistance has sharpened the focus on the role which development co-operation can play in both ameliorating and exacerbating the root causes of violent conflict. The new awareness has highlighted the need to explore how development co-operation and other forms of external assistance can contribute to conflict prevention. Thus, both at the policy planning and institutional levels, a number of western donors, NGOs and academic institutions have begun to incorporate conflict prevention objectives into their assistance programmes. A number of processes have been undertaken, including development of Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment (PCIA) tools, establishment of early warning units, setting up of post-conflict reconstruction programmes and development of conflict prevention networks, to name but a few.

Despite the increased attention to policy formulation and the multifarious efforts to mainstream peace building and conflict prevention through establishment of institutional structures and development of conflict assessment frameworks, donors are still some way from developing effective and coherent approaches to conflict prevention. This paper attempts to look at some of the issues which are shaping donor policy, examines some of the PCIA tools that have been developed and looks at issues which will need to be addressed if conflict-sensitive development is to be mainstreamed." (Gaigals & Leonhardt)


  • Section 1: The development of conflict-sensitive approaches to development and humanitarian assistance
    • Institutional and policy changes in support of conflict-sensitive approaches to development
    • Donor policy formulation in support of conflict prevention
    • NGO responses on conflict prevention
  • Section 2: The rationale for Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment (PCIA) methodologies
  • Section 3: Overview of conflict-sensitive approaches to development
    • Conflict analysis methodologies
    • Comprehensive approaches and frameworks
    • Early warning and early response methodologies
    • Monitoring and evaluation frameworks
    • Humanitarian approaches
  • Section 4: Critical assessments and conclusions
    • Cross-cutting issues
    • Policy instruments
    • Institutional issues
    • Methodological issues
    • Conclusions


Gaigals, C., with Leonhardt, M., (nd), Conflict-sensitive approaches to development practice. Retrieved from