Chapter 5 - Intervening in conflict-affected areas

Chapter 5 - Intervening in conflict-affected areas


Monitoring and evaluation of interventions in conflict-affected areas

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Monitoring and evaluation 

Conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding all aim to have long-term impact in terms of sustainable peace and development. Given the time-frames and the convergence of a multitude of activities in conflict-affected areas, it may be difficult to attribute quantifiable results to specific conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding activities. This should not, however, be a deterrent, or an excuse for not conducting assessments.

There is consensus that many of the standard criteria for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are applicable to interventions in conflict-affected areas. In addition, the OECD-DAC provides a series of common monitoring and evaluation principles that can be applied to different types of conflict prevention and peacebuilding interventions. These are: inclusiveness; the testing of underlying theories of change; the use of qualitative and quantitative methods; testing assumptions and learning; ethical standards for approaching informants and handling the reporting of findings.

The following are a selection of M&E frameworks, tools and recommendations developed by international organisations, donor agencies, academics and non-governmental organisations. They cover conflict prevention, conflict resolution, conflict transformation, stabilisation, and peacebuilding interventions.

Conflict prevention and peacebuilding

OECD-DAC, 2007,'Encouraging Effective Evaluation of Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Activities: Toward DAC Guidance', A Joint Project of the DAC Network on Conflict, Peace and Development Co-operation and DAC Network on Development Evaluation, Paris
The past decade has seen growing numbers of governments and organisations devote resources to interventions intended to avert or end conflict. How can these be evaluated? This report represents a step in the development of practical evaluation guidance. Scope, conflict analysis, impacts, skills and tools all need to be considered. Next steps should include donor experimentation with evaluations, an annual review of evaluations and a policy review.

Gaarder, M. and Annan, J., 2013, Impact Evaluation of Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Interventions, World Bank
Is it feasible and ethical to carry out impact evaluations in fragile and conflict affected settings? To deliver better results on the ground, it is necessary to improve the understanding of the impacts and effectiveness of development interventions operating in contexts of conflict and fragility. This paper argues that it is possible and important to carry out impact evaluations in violent conflict settings. Impact evaluations test and challenge many of the key assumptions and theories of change that underpin conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities. It is important that learning from evaluations is then put into practice.
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Scheers, G., 2008, ‘Assessing Progress on the Road to Peace Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Activities’, Issue Paper, no. 5, European Centre for Conflict Prevention
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Conflict resolution, conflict transformation and peacebuilding

Çuhadar-Gürkaynak, E. , Dayton, B., and Paffenholz, T., 2009, ‘Evaluation in Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding’, in Handbook of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, eds., D. J. D. Sandole, S. Byrne, I. Sandole-Staroste, and J. Senehi, Routledge, Oxon and New York, pp. 286-299
Why is evaluation essential in conflict resolution and peacebuilding work? How can traditional evaluations be adapted for this purpose? This chapter examines the difficulties and possibilities of evaluating conflict resolution and peacebuilding initiatives. Renewed attention to evaluation strengthens connections between peacebuilding theory and practice.

Lanz, D., Wählisch, M., Kirchhoff, L., and Siegfried, M., 2008, ‘Evaluating Peace Mediation’, Proposal of a General Framework for Evaluating International Mediation Activities, Initiative for Peacebuilding (IfP) - Mediation Cluster
How can accountability mechanisms be established for international peace mediation given that it takes place in extremely complex contexts and its contributions are difficult to grasp? This study has developed a framework for evaluating international mediation activities that differ from standard methodologies. It proposes a series of non-suggestive evaluation questions that allow a systematic but flexible assessment of aspects of peace mediation.

De Coning, C. and Romita, P. 2009, ‘Monitoring and Evaluation of Peace Operations’ International Peace Institute, New York
It is difficult to make causal linkages between inputs and outcomes due to the complex nature of conflict. Donor countries and NGOs would do better to focus instead on the contributions particular activities make towards a desired outcome. Sustainable DDR requires achievements in other areas. DDR evaluation should look across a variety of sectors and consider the political dynamics that affect DDR processes. Identifying M&E benchmarks and indicators can help reconcile competing perspectives of strategic decisions. Other suggestions to improve M&E are: a web-based database of M&E lessons learned; a network to debate M&E issues; policy discussions on M&E at high profile discussion-making forums; and mechanisms to ensure that M&E results are incorporated into decision-making processes.

OECD, 2012, ‘Evaluating Peacebuilding Activities in Settings of Conflict and Fragility: Improving Learning for Results’, DAC Guidelines and References Series, OECD Publishing
How can evaluations provide strong evidence and lessons about what works and why in complex conflict settings? How can the findings of these evaluations be used to inform policy making, programme design and implementation? To deliver better results in situations of conflict and fragility we need to improve our understanding of the impacts and effectiveness both of programmes and projects aimed at supporting peace and of development and humanitarian activities operating in conflict settings. This report provides step-by-step guidance on the core steps in planning, carrying out and learning from evaluation, as well as some basic principles on programme design and management.
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Corlazzoli, V., & White, J., 2013, Back to Basics: A Compilation of Best Practices in Design, Monitoring & Evaluation in Fragile and Conflict-affected Environments, Department for International Development
Conflict-affected and fragile environments can change quickly. How can you ensure your programme is flexible enough to adapt to the changing environment? This practical guide focuses on the key elements of programme design in fragile and conflict environments, and what steps need to be taken to ensure that effective monitoring and evaluation processes are built in from the start. Indicators, logframes and theories of change should be revised if the context and conflict have changed.
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Church, C. and Rogers, M. M., 2006, ‘Designing for Results: Integrating Monitoring and Evaluation in Conflict Transformation Programs’, Washington, DC: Search for Common Ground
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Cohen, C., 2006, ‘Measuring Progress in Stabilisation and Reconstruction’, Special Report, United States Institute of Peace, Washington, DC
Measuring progress is essential to the success of stabilisation and reconstruction efforts. This report examines the shortcomings of current processes, including the tendency to measure implementation rather than impact. Proper assessment tools and reliable measures of progress are needed to enable policymakers to take stock of the challenges before intervening and to continuously track the progress of their efforts towards stabilisation. Political will is also essential to ensure leadership and cooperation across organisational boundaries.