Peace and conflict-sensitive approaches to development: A briefing for the OECD Task Force on Conflict, Peace and Development Cooperation and the Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Network (CPRN)

This paper has been written by Saferworld, International Alert and the International Development Research Centre for the OECD Task Force for Conflict, Peace and Development  Co-operation and the CPR Network.  It draws on the findings of these organisations’ research, policy dialogue and  field  work  on  approaches  to  peace  and  conflict-sensitive  development,  and  has  been informed  by  a  Consultative  Meeting held in Ottawa in November 2000 and attended  by government, academic and civil society experts from around the world.  

The paper is divided  into  three  sections:  an  overview  of  the  policy  frameworks within  which  approaches supporting peace and conflict-sensitive  development practice will be applied; an examination of the different types of approaches that have been developed and key areas in which they need to be enhanced;  and an outline  of some of the mail institutional changes required for effective conflict prevention and peace-building. 

Growing understanding of the links between conflict, development and external assistance has increased attention on the role which Official Development Assistance (ODA) can play in both ameliorating and exacerbating the root causes of violent conflict.

The OECD–DAC Guidelines on Conflict, Peace and Development Cooperation (first published in 1997) represented a significant shift in donor thinking with respect to conflict prevention. These Guidelines explore how ODA can contribute proactively to conflict prevention, post conflict rehabilitation, reconstruction, and peace-building. Further, the Guidelines suggest that co-ordinated and coherent responses which explicitly address root causes of conflict have the potential to make a long-term positive impact on violent conflict.

Since the publication of the Guidelines, many donors have been seeking ways of integrating conflict prevention objectives and strategies into the range of ODA instruments and, in doing so, have developed and selectively employed a range of tools, approaches and frameworks. This has also necessitated policy and institutional changes which aim to assist the mainstreaming of conflict prevention.