Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment - PCIA - Main Users / Purpose

files/images_static/user.jpg Development organisations and partners, Non-Governmental Organisations, Private Sector.

The worldwide increase of intrastate violent conflict, as well as the repercussions of recent incidents of genocide and ethnic cleansing, has created a need for developmental policy to pay more attention to the issue of conflict transformation. The risks of political instability and violence call for an in-depth understanding of the local situation and demands great care with the way in which development projects are steered.

Developmental cooperation (DC) can never be neutral or nonpartisan. It has to be assumed that the activities implemented by a project do affect conflict dynamics. Conflict situations at the beginning of the 1990s (Somalia and Rwanda) showed that the impact of the work of development actors is not neutral. It can aggravate or reduce conflict. The challenge for DC is therefore to find out how contributions to development can be made in ways that help to reduce tensions, and thus the likelihood of an outbreak of violence, rather than feeding into or aggravating conflict.

As developmental cooperation strives to “do no harm”, systematic monitoring of impact is indispensable. The attempts made so far have resulted in frameworks for peace and conflict impact assessment (PCIA) that are often not specific and do not offer convincing practical approaches. As the ongoing methodological discourse on peace and conflict impact assessment shows, PCIA is still far from being a useful tool, as the gap between the conceptual design and actual practice has not been closed (Feyen & Gsänger, 2001). Despite its inefficiencies, the PCIA framework is attempting to help projects obtain a more in-depth understanding about the interaction between project activities and environments marked by conflict.