Conflict Prevention and Peace Building

Violent conflicts have become a recurrent phenomenon in most parts of the world. Human suffering and enormous costs call for major efforts to prevent conflicts. Conflicts may have different historical backgrounds, root causes and potential for further violence. They may result from real or perceived cultural, ethnic or regional differences, economic disparities, ecological problems, the unequal allocation of resources as well as illegitimacy of political power. This variety of reasons has prompted the need for a better understanding of the causes of conflict. Enhanced analysis of the root-causes as well as signs of emerging crisis can allow for timely and targeted responses.

BiRD can contribute to the strengthening of awareness of the causes of violent conflict, through the analysis of conflict potentials at the regional, country or local level. Different phases of a conflict - before, during and after violence has occurred - must be targeted with specific approaches and instruments.

When potential conflicts are identified, the focus must lie on effective and appropriate ways of addressing root-causes of violent conflict, with a view to contributing to the emergence of stability. BiRD can contribute to such long-term conflict prevention processes through the analysis of conflict environments, the identification and design of support measures in democracy-building, rule of law, civil society, independent media, etc.

When a country emerges from conflict, targeted assistance will primarily concentrate on
the consolidation of peace and the prevention of renewed violence. BiRD can contribute
to planned conflict prevention in the post-conflict reconstruction process, with expertise
and project capability on demobilisation and reintegration, reconciliation processes, rehabilitation as well as demining. Furthermore, the contribution of factors such as small arms, natural resources, drugs, or human trafficking must be considered. BiRD can assist in the understanding and analysis of these cross-cutting issues, as well as the elaboration of practical tools to deal with them.

In the area of development co-operation, international attention to the subject of conflict prevention has in most cases not yet translated into the development of an organisational "culture of prevention". BiRD can contribute to the further streamlining of conflict prevention within a wide range of actors (international organisations, donor agencies, NGOs, etc.) through the design and delivery of tailor-made training courses, the development of practical tools (dealing with early warning, conflict analysis and impact assessment), as well as the elaboration of conflict prevention-sensitive programming instruments and strategy frameworks.