Conflict Analysis for Project Planning and Implementation

Primary purpose
Conflict analysis and planning

Intended users
Desk officers, regional representatives, project managers of donors and international NGOs working in development

Levels of application
Country and project levels.

Conceptual assumptions
The conflict analysis tool is based on a synthesis of existing tools. It places particular emphasis on participatory approaches to conflict analysis.

Main steps and suggested process

A. Conflict analysis

1. Conflict profile

  • What kind of conflict do we deal with? What are its consequences?
  • When did it start? How did it develop in recent years? What phase are we in?
  • Where is the conflict taking place? Are there territorial issues?

2. Stakeholder analysis

  • Who are the parties to the conflict? What are their positions, interests and capacities? Alliances?
  • What position do the (intended) beneficiaries have towards the conflict? How does the conflict affect them? What survival -strategies have they developed?
  • What capacities do the conflict parties have to continue the conflict? Are there capacities for peace?
  • What are the conclusions of this analysis for the selection of partners and beneficiaries?

3. Causes of conflict

  • Why did the conflict start? What are its root causes (security, political, economic, social, external)?
  • What factors contribute to prolonging the conflict?
  • What are the main obstacles working against a peaceful solution?

4. Trends and opportunities

  • How does the conflict presently develop? What factors encourage violence, what factors contribute to peace?
  • Are there peace initiatives? At what level? What have they achieved?
  • How can linkages between micro-level activities and macro-level processes be achieved?

B. Project planning

1. Capacity analysis (own organisation and partners)

  • Why do we want to work on conflict? What is our mandate? Do partners and beneficiaries wish such an engagement?
  • Do we have the necessary skills, knowledge, resources, and networks to work on conflict? How can we build them?
  • How would this affect our other activities in the area?

2. Goal analysis

  • What are the key entry points for working on the conflict?
  • What are the beneficiaries/partners’ priorities?
  • What are our priorities?
  • What is our comparative advantage?

3. Strategy development

  • Do we have a coherent strategy to address the priority issues identified above?
  • Do we have the minimum political, legal, and security requirements to do this work?
  • Do we have sufficient political support (local, national)?
  • Is the timing appropriate? Is there a window of opportunity?
  • Is the initiative sustainable?

4. Risk assessment

  • Is there a possibility that the initiative, directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally:
  • Contributes to social and economic polarisation?
  • Reinforces undemocratic political structures?
  • Weakens civil society and undermines political participation?
  • Compromises local mediators or conflict management structures?
  • Provides opportunities for hate propaganda or censorship?

5. Peace and conflict indicators

To cover the security, political, economic, social, and external dimensions of conflict.

Guiding questions / indicators

Each analytical step contains a set of guiding questions, which help the user to build an understanding of the conflict and prepare conflict-sensitive action. The key guiding questions are:

A. Conflict analysis

  • Conflict profile
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Causes of conflict
  • Trends and opportunities

B. Project planning

  • Capacity analysis
  • Goal analysis
  • Strategy development
  • Risk assessment
  • Peace and conflict indicators

The manual offers fifteen analytical tools to support the user in working on the guiding questions. The tools are drawn from the participatory rural assessment toolbox, the Responding to Conflict tools as well as from the work of individual conflict specialists. They include:

  • Conflict profile
  • Phases of conflict
  • Timeline
  • Arena analysis (spatial conflict analysis)
  • Conflict mapping (actor analysis)
  • Conflict actors pyramid
  • Conflict onion (positions, interests, needs analysis)
  • Conflict tree (similar to problem tree)
  • Conflict pillars (factors upholding the conflict)
  • Trend analysis
  • Conflict scenario
  • Capacities and vulnerabilities analysis
  • Institutional analysis
  • Capacity analysis
  • Do No Harm analysis

Required resources
The required resources relate to the organisation of workshops and consultation meetings. Some desk-based work can also be undertaken, but it is better to organise workshops and consultation meetings on site.

Current applications
GTZ conducted approximately 20 country studies in the Caucasus, Central Asia, South Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America on the basis of this tool. The tool was also requested by other German development cooperation organisations and used in their work.

Lessons learned
This methodology focused on development cooperation and adopts a participatory approach, which has proven to be a great strength in its application. In order to use this methodology, facilitators require some time investment to become acquainted with the guidelines, as they comprise almost 100 pages.

Commentary on the tool
Experiences of the applications are currently being examined. The tool will be revised on the basis of these experiences up to the end of 2003. Publication of the revised tool is envisaged.

Available reports
The GTZ approach is available at